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Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah Still Recruiting New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony

May 4th, 2014 at 7:47 AM
By Matt Agne

As Knicks 101 had previously reported, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson and standout forward Carmelo Anthony had dinner together to discuss the future of the team and Anthony's possible involvement. Jackson informed Anthony that he intended on hiring Steve Kerr as the next head coach and that Jackson himself would help coach from the sidelines during training camp. Jackson is hoping that will be enough to keep Anthony in a Knicks uniform. Others are not. Joakim Noah is hoping he can sway Anthony to leave New York for the Windy City and join him and the Chicago Bulls as a free agent.

'Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Phil Jackson is doing all he can to convince the superstar Carmelo Anthony to stay with the New York Knicks next season. However, Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah is trying to get Anthony to join him and the Chicago Bulls.

Anthony is still under contract with the Knicks but he's expected to opt-out of his contract and become a free agent this off-season. If and when he does, he'll have options. One such option could be joining Noah in Chicago.

That's why Noah started recruiting Anthony during the All-Star weekend. However, what many thought started there and would continue in the off-season never actually stopped. Noah has stayed in contact with Anthony since the All-Star break and is trying his best to convince Anthony to join him in the Windy City.

'Joakim Noah' photo (c) 2013, Patrick Truby - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Noah's recruitment of Anthony has continued since the All-Star break.

According to several sources, including a teammate, Noah’s All-Star Weekend “conversation’’ with New York Knicks standout Carmelo Anthony didn’t end in New Orleans. They had discussions via text the rest of the season, including the day after the Bulls were eliminated in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.

“I was kidding Jo that they were boys now,’’ a source said in a phone interview Friday. “ ‘Well, get your boy to come to Chicago.’ ’’

Then after exit interviews Wednesday with members of the front office, Noah was asked if he expected changes this summer.

“I don’t know,’’ Noah said. “That’s not my job.’’

But he’s obviously doing as much as he can to help the process along.

Sources said Noah has been in Anthony’s ear as often as possible, and he has told other Bulls to push hard for Anthony this summer. But there is one condition: Backup big man Taj Gibson can’t be sacrificed.

'cooper, shaw, buss, jackson, rambis' photo (c) 2009, donielle - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

That last part could be a huge catch. In order for the Bulls to be in position to sign Anthony they'd have to move some contracts off their roster. A big chunk of that could be done by using the Amnesty Clause to dump Carlos Boozer's contract. However, other players like Gibson, Jimmy Butler and others would have to be jettisoned as well.

That being said, Anthony's made it very clear that money will not be a driving factor in his decision this off-season. That's both a good thing and a bad thing for New York. If the Knicks could get Anthony to re-sign for less than the maximum amount it would allow them to put money into other parts of their roster. However, that's the best case scenario. 

Money is New York's one true advantage over other possible destinations for Anthony. When he starts talking about taking less Knicks fans shouldn't be pleased they should be worried he'll take less to go win elsewhere.  

As currently constructed, the Bulls are a much better team than the Knicks. They have one of the, if not the best, coaches in all of basketball. They also have Noah and Derrick Rose. Rose is a legitimate question mark because of his health. However, a healthy Rose in addition to Noah and Anthony could give Chicago their own "Big Three". That's something New York can't possibly offer until they enter the 2015 free agency period.

Another team rumored to be interested in Anthony are the Houston Rockets. They too are ahead of the Knicks as far as their roster being constructed. The Rockets have Dwight Howard and James Harden. They also have a young budding player in Chandler Parsons. Surely adding Anthony to their group of talented players would make them a stronger team.

Because both teams have salary cap issues it could lead to sign-and-trade offers being made to New York. That being said, New York's first option is to re-sign Anthony. There's little doubt Anthony would speed up their rebuilding project. He's fit nicely inside the triangle offense. First Phil Jackson and the Knicks will have to see if Anthony will be around or taking his talents elsewhere.

Tags: Basketball, Carlos Boozer, Carmelo Anthony, Chandler Parsons, Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson

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