Like an annoying bird chirping over our shoulder, just beyond our reach, have been the persistent rumors that the Chicago Bulls might trade for Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony. They started months ago and have oscillated soft and loud based on what the often coy Anthony has indicated to the press. Well, this weekend he said something else, which, combined with an ESPN report, may finally put any thoughts of 'Melo donning the red and white to rest.
What did he say? Just this after the Nuggets' 129-125 loss to the New York Knicks last night:
Everybody's yelling out the windows: "Melo we need you in New York." Of course that feels good when you know someone out there wants you to come and represent their team and represent their city. That's what I took from that.
In and of itself, the statement is pretty innoucous. Anthony could presumably say that about Chicago if he had strolled down Michigan Ave. and heard similiar cries for his high-scoring presence on the Bulls. So maybe we shouldn't give up hope based on this quote alone. No, it was ESPN's Chris Sheridan who, if his source is to be believed, seems to have put the 'Melo-to-the-Chi rumor to bed for good.In an article updated today, he cites an unnamed source close to the Denver forward saying that "Anthony will not agree to sign anywhere long-term unless he is dealt to New York." Any team that trades high-value pieces for the 26-year-old rising star will, of course, absolutely need to sign him to a long-term deal. So, again, if that source is on the level, it's New York or bust for 'Melo and his smooth-shooting, shot-creating game.
How disappointed should Bulls fans be? A little, but not too much. Anthony would certainly get the team closer this season. But his addition would likely mean the subtraction of Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and a couple of first round picks. And it's hard to feel really certain that his presence alone -- added to Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, of course -- would elevate the Bulls past the Boston Celtics or Orlando Magic right now. Those four guys and a suitable fifth may eventually get to that point, but it would be a risky move to find out. And, as mentioned, it doesn't appear Anthony is going to let that happen anyway.
The Bulls need a two guard who will be able to adapt quickly to head coach Tom Thibodeau's intense emphasis on defense as well as one who will shoot the three with deadly consistency. A trade for such a player may still occur, but it won't likely be Carmelo Anthony.