Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010
By Mark Schanowski
Like just about every other NBA team, the Bulls have talked with the Denver Nuggets about the possibility of trading for perennial All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. But right now, the Nuggets are going all out to keep Anthony in the Mile High City. They recently hired a new General Manager, whose 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th job is to convince Carmelo to sign a 3 year, 65 million dollar contract extension thats been on the table the last 2 months.
The Nuggets dont want to be the next team to be held hostage by a superstar player after watching what happened in Cleveland and Toronto with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, respectively. So, if Anthony ultimately decides to reject the extension, the Nuggets might be forced to seriously consider a trade, rather than watch Anthony walk away as a free agent next summer.
But as I wrote last month, the Bulls dont have a lot of options in trying to put together a trade package for Anthony. Luol Deng would almost have to be included in order to match up the salaries, and Denver is unlikely to take Dengs long-term contract without getting Joakim Noah in the deal as well. The Bulls front office might eventually decide it would be worth including Noah to acquire a top-five talent like Anthony, but were nowhere near that point yet, despite all the reports that are out there talking about the Bulls having an internal debate on the pros and cons of trading Noah.
The other issue is team chemistry. Would putting Anthony with Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer give the Bulls the same lethal mix of offensive talent that Miami currently possesses with LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh? Or, would trading Noah leave the Bulls defenseless inside, while subtracting the teams emotional leader? If Denver ever does get serious about trading Anthony, those will be question for John Paxson and Gar Forman to ponder at some point in the future.
So, hold off on ordering your Anthony 15 Bulls jersey. Any serious trade discussions are likely to be a long ways off. And, its clear going to New York to play for the Knicks is Carmelos and his celebrity wifes first choice. New York could offer a package of Eddy Currys expiring contract, sharp-shooting small forward Danilo Gallinari and 6-11 power forward prospect Anthony Randolph that would easily surpass the Bulls likely offer of Deng, Taj Gibson and draft picks.
ASIK MAKING AN IMPACT ON THE WORLD STAGE
In case you havent been watching the FIBA World Championship in Turkey, youre missing some pretty good basketball. Derrick Rose is the starting point guard for Team USA, and hes done a nice job of directing the offense, pushing the tempo, and playing the attacking defense Mike Krzyzewski wants from his guards. Winning a gold medal would be a great accomplishment for this team, labeled the B team in international circles because it does not include any of the stars from the 08 Olympic champions. Rose and company will have to beat Lithuania in the semis, and most likely, host Turkey in the finals to win the gold, but its definitely out there for the taking. The championship game will be played Sunday in Istanbul.
Speaking of Turkey, Bulls rookie center Omer Asik has looked pretty good during World Championship play. Asik is an athletic 7 footer, whos quick off his feet and agile enough to get around defenders under the basket. You can bet the Bulls will get him in the weight room to work with Erik Helland and his staff, but they might have found a valuable big man for the future.
Asik isnt ready to play major minutes yet against NBA competition, but he has the skill set to be a contributor off the bench. Keep your eye on him during the pre-season games. John Paxson worked a draft night deal to get Asik for three 2nd round draft picks back in 08. It might turn out to be one of those small moves that pays big dividends down the line.
Were always interested in hearing what you think. Please post your comments on the Carmelo situation or your predictions for the Bulls this season in the section below. Training camp begins in less than three weeks, so well be coming at you more regularly with news and analysis here on Beyond the Arc.
Mark Schanowski hosts our Bulls pre- and postgame studio coverage with 15-year NBA veteran Kendall Gill. You can also watch Mark on SportsNite, Sunday through Thursday at 6:30 and 10.