It doesn’t take much to get rumors rolling in sports. A whisper here or a rumor there could start a landslide of propaganda and intrigue in which the thought sometimes has more substance than the actual truth.
Such rumors ran wild this past week when word broke that Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah pitched New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony during the All-Star weekend on the idea of joining Noah and the injured Derrick Rose in Chicago this summer, should Anthony opt out of his current contract, as some expect him to do.
Never mind that the Bulls currently don’t have space under the NBA’s salary cap to offer Anthony a sizable deal, and forget that Anthony is still very much the centerpiece of New York’s future plans. Trade and free agency rumors in basketball aren’t always about what’s real and what’s not, but rather what might work. The AFRO Sports Desk debates the idea of Anthony becoming a Bull.
Riley: Despite their current salary cap problems, if Chicago needed to make room for a player like Anthony then they would most certainly find a way, and that pairing would most certainly work. Obviously, Rose’s health would be the major question mark, but considering he would be two years removed from an ACL rupture and a whole season removed from a meniscus tear, the 25-year-old should be ready to roll this October. Rose was already a devastating scorer before he went down, but if you add Rose’s ability to Anthony’s and mix in some patented Chicago Bulls defense under master orchestrator Tom Thibodeau, that team would have a chance to finish in the top two in the Eastern Conference. The star power of Rose and Anthony backed by an anchor in the middle like Noah would form the new Big Three in the NBA.
Green: It wouldn’t work. You can’t trust Rose’s knees at this point and how much better would the Bulls be than the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat? If Anthony is looking to win now, then the last thing he should do is tie himself to another player who hasn’t been healthy in more than two seasons. In a perfect world, Rose would be 100 percent healthy and the pairing would work. But a point guard like Rose relies mostly on his athleticism, and Anthony would be risking the remaining prime years of his career on a player recovering from multiple major knee surgeries—a risk that not too many players would take. Then there would be the matter of moving contracts around to make room for Anthony. Would it even be worth Chicago’s time to get a guy who could possibly throw off the whole framework of the Bulls’ offense?
Riley: The only risk for Anthony in going to Chicago would be Rose’s health. Everything else would flow well together, from fitting in with the team’s offensive and defensive concepts to having free reign to shoot away. It would be comparable to Oklahoma City, and how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook trade shots while other players clean up and do the dirty work. I can’t knock Rose for consecutive fluke injury seasons. We’ve seen him hoist an MVP trophy while making a mockery out of defenses geared to stop him. We’ve also seen him guide his team to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. If you add Anthony to that type of atmosphere, with another dominant scorer and an elite post defender in Noah, and have those three coached by one of the best in the business, then you’re setting yourself up for a title run.
Green: I honestly believe the best days of D. Rose’s career are over. He will probably never be the same explosive scorer that he was before the injuries, so the superstar mystique that he once possessed is long gone. Therefore, if Melo goes to Chicago, there won’t be two superstars in town, only one—and that’s Melo. Now, I do love the Bulls coach, Tom Thibodeau. He’s probably one of the best coaches currently in the NBA, outside of the obvious legends like Greg Popovich and Doc Rivers. Thibodeau knows how to get anybody to perform at their best, and Melo would certainly thrive under his tutelage. But there’s another rumor circulating now that the Knicks may offer Phil Jackson a job as their president of basketball operations. If Phil comes to New York, there’s no way Carmelo Anthony leaves. Phil knows how to win championships, and his presence in New York alone would be enough to keep Melo in the Big Apple and far away from the Windy City.