Monday, June 30, 2014
Bulls are best landing spot for Melo
By Nick Friedell
Carmelo Anthony would be the scorer the Bulls need and would position them for a title run.
Carmelo Anthony has said he wants to win a championship. He said he would be willing to take less money to do so. If Anthony meant what he said, then there's no better place to play this season than Chicago. The one thing the Bulls have been missing most in the Tom Thibodeau era, aside from a healthy Derrick Rose, is a superstar scorer who is capable of going off for 25 to 30 points a night, a player who can take some pressure off Rose and his teammates and take over the game when needed.
Anthony can be that guy.
He would join a core of Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Rose -- a core that has been together for a while and plays hard every night. More importantly, he would be playing for Thibodeau, a coach he respects and one who has a track record of making great players even better.
Yes, Rose's health status continues to hover over everything the Bulls do. Other teams will undoubtedly tell Anthony that Rose's body can't withstand the grind of an 82-game season anymore. But as Thibodeau pointed out recently, every player goes through injuries at some point in his career. Rose has gone through a trying period over the past few seasons, but if he comes back and is anywhere close to the player he was before the injury, he would be the most talented player with whom Anthony has ever played. Rose is still only 25 and was the youngest MVP in league history.
The reality for Anthony is that the Bulls are intent on winning right now. They don't need to wait another year and clear out cap space like the Knicks do. The other key is that Chicago is in the Eastern Conference, with a much easier route to the NBA Finals. Dallas and Houston, two teams with which Anthony is expected to meet, have to battle it out in the much more difficult Western Conference.
Anthony could take all the shots he wanted in Chicago and would get plenty of open looks playing alongside Rose. He would also become an even better defender playing in Thibodeau's system and would have Noah and Gibson flanking him on either side on the defensive end.
In so many ways, Anthony is the missing piece the Bulls have been searching for. He can score and would space the floor for Rose and his teammates. But he also seems to be at a point in his career where he knows legacies are defined by championships, by rings. The Bulls have to make it clear they offer the best chance, the best path, to the one thing that has eluded Anthony up to this point in his career -- a title.
Bulls GM Gar Forman is confident the city of Chicago will help sell itself to Anthony and other free agents the Bulls speak with over the next week. The Bulls' brand is strong throughout the world, and the organization is hopeful Anthony wants be part of the chase for a seventh championship that will make that brand even stronger.
But as Bulls' employees put together their pitch for Anthony, the overriding theme is short and simple: If the 30-year-old scorer wants to be in the best position to contend for a championship right away, then sign on the dotted line in Chicago and come be part of a city that is starving for another winner.