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?
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.”