It’s not to say that any basketball team with Carmelo Anthony is a bad team. Having Carmelo Anthony as a part of your basketball team instantly makes your basketball team better, by all accounts. His skill-set and scoring ability is that of Hall of Famers and legends of the game. Every team wants a Carmelo Anthony. The Chicago Bulls, however, have been smack-dab in the middle of a free agency fiasco before, back in 2010. To avoid shattered dreams and disparaged hopes of Bulls’ faithful yet again – let’s move on.
With every passing day in free agency and the impending Decision Part Deux from the King himself; a new report, source, he-said-she-said piece of bologna surfaces. So naturally, when it seemed the Bulls were all but treading water in their Carmelo Anthony pursuit, Melo is supposedly reconsidering Chicago. An unforeseen plot-twist? Not quite. Although, Melo’s reconsideration has once again sprouted a ray of optimism for a city that was all but ready to move on.
Fact of that matter is this: Melo needs the Bulls and the Bulls need Melo. The Bulls can’t score, Melo can. Melo’s never won a whole heck of a lot in his career, but he stands his best shot at winning championships with the Bulls. The facts are undeniable and the facts are simple enough when laid out, but nothing is ever simple when it comes to business matters in the association.
At 5 years for $129 million, Carmelo can sign for more with the New York Knicks than anybody else. The Los Angeles Lakers, the other team Anthony has strongly looked at signing with can only offer $96 million. Meanwhile, the Bulls without a sign-and-trade style agreement can only offer Carmelo around $74 million. Money talks, and if the NY Daily Post report is true and Melo indeed does stay loyal to New York, one could hardly blame him.
Nothing is official or over quite yet, but the Bulls, while they stand the most to gain with the acquisition of Anthony remain the only team in the hunt for his talents who could still conceivably make the NBA Finals next season, without Melo. Even with Melo, the Knicks and Lakers aren’t even locks to make the playoffs in their respective conferences next season.
The best thing the Bulls have going for them right at this very moment in time is that the Eastern Conference in the NBA is as uncompetitive as it’s ever been. Assuming the Big Three all return together in Miami, what's to say that the Heat are still unbeatable? Indiana fooled us for nearly all of last season into thinking they were the best in the East, but that proved to be untrue.
Right now, the Bulls with a healthy Derrick Rose (health contingent) can give Miami or Indiana a run for their money in a best of seven. Of course, the Bulls still must upgrade at the two-guard and address their attention to overseas sensation Nikola Mirotic coming to play in Chicago this upcoming season. An amnestying of Carlos Boozer would also free up some healthy cap space for the likes of a Pau Gasol, too.
Realistically, there’s about a two-year window until teams like Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Orlando start to get it together and challenge for playoff spots. Teams like Washington, Toronto, and Atlanta are already in that phase, and are only getting better.
The Bulls can win now, without Carmelo Anthony. For all the attacks Derrick Rose has received for his stance on recruiting players (his stance being, he doesn’t), maybe Rose will get what he’s aspired for all along, after all – let us not forget, a chance to be the hero for his hometown Bulls and to win on his own terms is what Chicago embraced about Rose in the first place.
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