Beyond the Arc: A 'Melo' trade proposal

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Beyond the Arc: A 'Melo' trade proposal

Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
4:35 PM

By Mark Schanowski
CSNChicago.com

OK, I know this seems like strange timing after Luol Deng scored a career-high 40 points Monday night against Portland, but then again, maybe its perfect timing for the Bulls to make another pitch for unhappy Denver superstar Carmelo Anthony.

In case you havent been following the behind-the-scenes drama, let me get you caught up. After the Nuggets opening night win last week, Anthony told reporters its time for a change. He added he wont sign the 3-year, 65 million contract extension offered by the team, saying now is the time for him to make a move to re-start his career.

The Nuggets front office was hoping Anthony might be swayed by re-joining his teammates and head coach George Karl after a long summer, and somehow be persuaded to accept the extension, especially given the uncertainties of what changes could come in the next collective bargaining agreement. But obviously, thats not the case.

Anthony saw Dwyane Wade recruit fellow superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami this past summer and watched Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire move to major markets in the Eastern Conference. He also sees a Denver roster thats loaded with bad contracts and broken down players. Clearly, the long-term outlook for the Nuggets isnt all that encouraging.

So, Denvers first-year general manager Masai Ujiri is probably going to have to trade Anthony before the February deadline, or watch him walk away in free agency next summer with the Nuggets getting nothing in return.

The other development from last weekend came out of Philadelphia, where the 76ers' best player, Andre Iguodala, said hes tired of losing and might ask for a trade if the team doesnt begin to show some signs of progress after a slow start under new coach Doug Collins.

Reportedly, the Nuggets have interest in Iguodala, seeing him as a possible long-term replacement for Anthony at the small forward position. Ideally, Denvers front office is looking for an expiring contract, a young player with star potential and draft picks, but if they cant get that, a player like Iguodala might be their best hope of staying competitive while gradually re-structuring the team.

So, heres where the Bulls come in. Doug Collins has a long-standing relationship with the Duke basketball program, since his son Chris has been an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski. Doug has always spoke in glowing terms about Deng, and might see him as an ideal fit as the starting small forward in Philadelphia. And, if the 76ers need a little extra incentive, the Bulls could include a 1st round draft pick in a trade offer for Iguodala.

The trade then gets expanded to a 3-way deal, with Deng and a No. 1 going to Philly, Iguodala, Taj Gibson and the 1st round pick the Bulls acquired from Charlotte in the Tyrus Thomas deal going to Denver, and Anthony coming to Chicago. Im not 100 percent sure about the salary cap math, so James Johnson might have to be included in the package going to Denver for the salaries to match. The Bulls then instantly become the favorites in the East with a starting line-up of Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and Keith BogansRonnie Brewer. And, they would be set up for at least a four-year run at championships, assuming Carmelo signs the same extension the Nuggets have been offering.

As youd expect, there would be a number of hurdles to clear for this deal to happen. Right now, Iguodala is starting at shooting guard for Philadelphia and Collins would have to be convinced its in his best interests to trade his best player for a small forward like Deng, who would join Thaddeus Young, Jason Kapono and former Bull Andres Nocioni to form a log-jam at that position. The trade would also force Philly to rush top draft pick Evan Turner into the starting lineup at shooting guard. Turner was the No. 2 pick in last summers draft and has a world of potential, but he struggled at times in the preseason, and Im not sure if Collins thinks hes ready to handle 35 minutes a night.

Also, its hard to know for sure how interested Denver actually is in a player like Iguodala, who started on the U.S. gold-medal winning team at the World Championships this past summer, but has multiple years remaining on a contract that pays about 12 million a season. The Nuggets might decide to go back to New Jersey and try to structure a deal based on promising rookie power forward Derrick Favors and Troy Murphys expiring contract, plus draft picks. Or, they could go to Anthonys top choice, the Knicks, for a package built around Eddy Currys expiring deal and one of two promising young forwards, Danilo Gallinari or former DePaul star Wilson Chandler, plus draft picks.

Any way you look at it, NBA general managers will be playing some serious poker over the next few weeks to see what if will take to get the Nuggets to cash in their talented chip.

So, what do you think? Would you make the deal suggested above? Or, should the Bulls just wait for Boozer to get healthy and play on with the team already assembled? Please post your comments in the section below or feel free to drop me an e-mail.

The Bulls played a great all-around game in win over Portland and Deng showed he can be a good fit playing off Rose in Tom Thibodeaus offense. But the reality is, this is Luols seventh NBA season and hes probably somewhere in the 10 to 15 range among NBA starting small forwards. The Bulls came up short in their bid to sign James or Wade over the summer, now they get a second chance to acquire one of the top six players in the league. If Denver would take Iguodala in a deal for Carmelo, isnt this an idea worth pursuing?

Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNet Central, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

Fred Hoiberg, Jimmy Butler rave about Rajon Rondo's voice, basketball IQ

With one Bulls practice in the books and one more to go in the night session, it was evident from the primary parties that Rajon Rondo has earned instant trust and credibility with his play.

Or more pointedly, his brain and his mouth.

“He’s got the best voice on the team,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “When you have point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.”

Apparently the ultra-intelligent point guard has been a galvanizing force since the team starting convening last month for informal workouts, as Hoiberg believes Rondo has grasped his system instantly and brought some of the younger teammates along.

“The biggest thing that I’ve been most impressed with with Rajon is the minute he stepped on this floor when he got back here in August is he pulled everybody together,” Hoiberg said. “If you have a guy not only offensively getting you into something but defensively making sure guys are pointing and talking and making sure guys are pointing and talking and getting back and matched up in transition, that’s where it starts. He’s been here. He’s been great. He’s a guy who you can watch film with in September before we got rolling here in camp. He got us off to a great start.”

Needing Rondo to be vocal will be a plus for Hoiberg considering the coach’s soft-spoken approach, and those two being on one accord will be a key considering Rondo’s history with coaches over time.

Rondo’s intelligence, which most consider to be genius-like, has already come in handy and will help with the perimeter adjustment of fitting himself, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade together.

“Like I always say, when you put good basketball players out there on the floor you just go,” Butler said. “Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything. And with him he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful. He’s going to put you in position to be just that.”

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Rondo has led the league in assists three times and his career 8.7 assists-per-game average is third among active players behind Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

“He has been around the league a long time,” Hoiberg said. “He studies the league. If he sees a small guy guarding Jimmy, he’s going to find a way to get him the ball on the block. The more you can have those guys recognizing things on the floor---if Robin Lopez is coming down and I have to yell, ‘Get the ball to Robin’ then we have issues -- and Rondo obviously will be a big help with that.”

So yeah, he’ll have the ball in his hands plenty.

“He’s super-smart. He really sees things before they even develop out there on the basketball floor, so it makes everybody’s job a lot easier," Butler said. "And not only is he leading the team on offense, but he’s constantly talking on defense, so he’s letting everybody know where they have to be. Wade’s the same way, so he makes everybody’s job easier as well, and you learn from that, so you just follow suit for the most part.’’

Butler joked that there will often be times where a Rondo pass zigs while he’ll be zagging early in camp while chemistry is developing, saying “I’m sorry, Rajon, because you’re going to definitely get a turnover from me one game,” and that he won’t be opposed to Rondo getting on him or anybody else in the meantime.

“I’m good with that,” Butler said. “I’ll challenge him right back if I see something that he’s not doing correctly. I want him to hold me accountable, me hold him accountable, everybody holding everybody accountable, because then everybody is going to learn from their mistakes and not to it again.”

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

Stan Bowman mum on Artemi Panarin contract talks

In July, when asked how contract talks were going with star forward Artemi Panarin, general manager Stan Bowman said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media.

He reiterated that on Tuesday.

“Obviously Artemi's a big part of our team. We're excited for the season he had. We're looking forward to him building on that as well. Then the negotiations will be what they are between his agent and myself,” I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent]. He's a very knowledgeable guy, and Artemi put a lot of faith in him. And Tom and I will work to get something done.”

Panarin is entering the final year of his current contract and is coming off a monster rookie season in which he recorded 77 points and took home the Calder Trophy. Panarin took home plenty of bonus money thanks to that season, too.

The 24-year-old could certainly command a hefty price, which would once again be a major concern to the cash-strapped Blackhawks. The salary cap is at $73 million for this season, a small increase from 2015-16 ($71.4 million). Factor in another likely small increase next season and the large contracts the Blackhawks are already doling out – Brent Seabrook’s eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.875 kicks in this season – and could Panarin be another one that gets away?

But Bowman remains optimistic.

“We're always confident,” he said. “You go into a negotiation expecting to get a deal done. That's the way I've been in the past and that's the way I am now.”