‘Melo rumors swirling again

It appears the New York Knicks are still working — and working hard — on prying Carmelo Anthony away from the Denver Nuggets. According to ESPN’s Chris Sheridan (citing an unnamed source):

“The Knicks got back in on the bidding about two weeks ago after Anthony made it known to the Nuggets that he would not budge on his refusal to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension with Denver. The offers the Knicks have proposed have always centered around packages including Anthony Randolph, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and a first-round draft pick they would acquire from a third team, and New York has softened its stance on including forward Danilo Gallinari in a trade.”

Of course, there’s also an angle involving the Bulls. Sheridan added:

“The source also cautioned that the Chicago Bulls remained in the Melo mix, although the contract extension Chicago reached earlier this month with Joakim Noah would preclude him from being included in any deal the Bulls would put together for Anthony.”

Regarding the last part of that quote: The Bulls weren’t going to include Noah in a trade for ‘Melo, contract extension or no contract extension. They just weren’t. Which is fine by me. Championship teams need elite big men like Noah. Plus, as David Berri of Wages of Win pointed out, advanced metrics indicate that Noah contributes more meaningfully toward winning than Anthony does.

Still, it’s interesting to hear that the Bulls are allegedly still in the “arms race” for ‘Melo. I know a lot of fans feel that — even with Noah, Derrick Rose, a healthy Carlos Boozer, and the rest of the cast —  the Bulls aren’t quite up there with other championship contenders like the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. And nothing has captured the imagination of Bulls fans quite like the notion of adding Anthony to the mix.

I’m inclined to agree that, as things stand, it feels as though the Bulls are a player short from truly competing for a league title. Although, in all fairness, we haven’t seen the current squad together and healthy for even a single preseason game, let alone a regular season or playoff game. We have no real idea what their potential is.

But this summer, other teams upped the ante. The Lakers got stronger with key acquisitions (Steve Blake and Matt Barnes). The Celtics beefed up their frontcourt (Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal). And of course the Heat signed the three Super Friends. For all the talent of Boozer and grand potential of Rose and Noah, there still seems to be a talent deficit between the Bulls and the best teams.

So the ‘Melo rumors will likely persist until the Nuggets finally move him (or, although it’s less likely, sign him to an extension). The best and most probable package — in terms of something the Nuggets would actually accept — would probably include Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and a number one pick. Personally, that deal might be too costly to the team’s depth. The Bulls would need a reliable backup for Boozer even if Carlos wasn’t so injury prone.

During yesterday’s Daily Dime Live season preview chat, I probably got more questions about Carmelo than anything else. He’s actively on the mind of Bulls fans everywhere. The real question is: Is he actively on the mind of the front office?

Bulls notes:
According to ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell, Kyle Korver missed Tuesday’s practice due to the cyst in his left ankle and is questionable for tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors. Keith Bogans, who has a sore back, went through a partial practice and is also questionable for the Raptors game.

Meanwhile, Taj Gibson (sore heel) practiced and is expected to start tonight. And according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Boozer has been attending practice and staying involved.

Said Booz: “I’m at every practice, learning a lot from the guys that are out there and asking coach plenty of questions about the offense. I’m doing everything I possibly can to still be involved. Obviously, from a physical standpoint, it hurts a little bit not being out there. But when I do get back, I’ll jump right into it and move along fast.”

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8 Responses to ‘Melo rumors swirling again

  1. choyle@bpu.com'
    Chuck October 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I think that the Bulls are a lot closer to elite status than a lot of people think. They havs an all-star caliber player at every starting position except SG. Yes, I think Deng can put up AS caliber numbers on this team. The one thing they really lack is a SG that can create his own shot and shoot 3s. Here is my radical proposal:
    Roll the dice with Arenas. I am not a cap expert, but I believe that because the Bulls are under the cap, they don’t need to match salaries to make a trade. So, all they would need to offer the Wizards is a 2014 2nd round pick, bag of chips or something equally worthless. The Wizards would move him in a heartbeat if offered nothing in return. It would clear their cap and let them move on. The Bulls would get a bona-fide scoring threat without giving anything up.
    My only concern would be the attitude of Arenas. From everything I have read, he seems like a decent enough guy who just makes poor decisions. He does not strike me as a corrosive person like Sheed, Z-Bo and others. They are this close and this move would put them over the top.

  2. Inception October 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    I would get rid of deng, gibson and a draft pick for anthony in a heartbeat….who cares if you lack a legit backup for boozer? the addition of anthony cancels all of that out and adds more…bulls mgmt need to be clever and fill that hole later on before the all-star or whatever…but in the end, bringing anthony to the bulls w/o losing boozer is a HUGE win…depth can be overrated sometimes….the championship teams always have a solid core to rely on.

  3. Inception October 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    edit to my last comment ….*without losing Noah

  4. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe October 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

    Melo isn’t going to fix much, he’ll demand the ball and isn’t that much an upgrade over Deng. If the Bulls land him, it will be at a fire sale price.

    Bulls need a SG or PG but No Arenas. He’s a flake and very expensive. He would need to take a buyout from the Wizards to be affordable.

    Putting together a good team isn’t like collecting bubble gum cards.

    Gasol made a name for himself in LA after the trade. Prior, he was too soft for PF and while a steal for what LA gave up, he was not the player he grew into when at LA. That happened later.

  5. Bill Z October 21, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    I have been back n forth over the whole Melo debate the past couple months. But if they were willing to take Deng, Taj, and a 1st I have to do it.

    That would give us a pretty incredible Starting line-up

    Rose/Melo/Boozer/Noah

    Wade/James/Bosh/x

    It would hurt our front-court depth a bit, but you don’t win championships with that. Asik is further along than expected and looks like he can contribute some meaningful minutes. I’m sure we can pick up somebody to be a fill in and use our mid-level exception next year on someone looking to come to a contender. If its Deng, Taj, and a first I’m in.

  6. Bill Z October 21, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    I just wanted to point out that even though I would support this trade, I think Deng has been very solid and I will not be disappointed if there is no trdae. How many other teams have a guy like Deng as their 3rd option. He is a 17-7 guy, above average defender, and it looks like his 3 point shot is for real. He was 1-3 again today and I think is averaging over 50% for the preseason so far.

    However, if Melo is available, bye-bye Deng.

  7. Bill Z October 21, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Sorry – meant 40% so far

  8. Bill Z October 21, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    I corrext myself one more time – just double checked the stats and Deng is now 12-24 from downtown!

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