|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
CHICAGO -- Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen said he would not trade Bulls center Joakim Noah for Carmelo Anthony, and that acquiring the Denver Nuggets star would be a "huge gamble" for Chicago.
ESPNChicago.com reported earlier this month that the Bulls were having internal discussions about whether to include Noah as part of a potential trade package to land Anthony. The Nuggets offered Anthony a three-year, $65 million extension through 2014, but numerous sources told ESPN.com that Denver officials have in recent days let other teams know for the first time that they will listen to pitches after previously resisting such discussions.
"I would definitely think about it very hard," Pippen said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "But I don't know ... if I'm a GM, I don't know that I could pull the trigger based on Carmelo's ... sort of what he's doing now. Based on his reputation, I'd probably have to stay with Joakim because you know that this kid is going to come out and play night in and night out. There's no excuses. He's a great teammate. That's what you want."
Pippen said Anthony's reported handling of his situation should give the Bulls reason to pause.
"I think there's been some problems there with him and the coaching and the organization," Pippen said. "I think that could be a problem when you come to a team like the Bulls, an organization that is still trying to get off the ground and get themselves in a position that they are an established playoff team. You don't want to lose a guy like Joakim and have a guy like Carmelo come here. Hey, he might not like it here. Next year he may be wanting to get out of here and go play somewhere else.
"I think it would be a huge gamble for the Bulls. It could set them back or it could push them up. I like Joakim, so for personal reasons I would probably keep him."
Anthony, 26, has averaged 24.7 points per game in his career, including 28.2 last season. He will be a free agent after the 2010-11 season.
Several league sources on Monday told ESPN.com that they believe the Nets have emerged as the front-runner to secure Anthony. Not only is Anthony willing to sign a contract extension with the Nets, sources say the club is willing to make an intriguing offer of Derrick Favors (the No. 3 pick in this year's draft), the expiring contracts of Troy Murphy and Kris Humphries, and at least one future first-round pick to Denver to land Anthony.
Noah, 25, averaged 10.7 points and 11 rebounds a game last season for the Bulls. He will make $3.1 million this season in the fourth year of his rookie deal. The center would become a restricted free agent next season unless the Bulls extend his contract.
"I think you have to say that he is one of the top two players on the team as far as value," Pippen said. "He brings a lot to the table. You can't forget that this kid is a winner, who is coming off his college career [with] two championships [at Florida]. He still wants to win, and he plays very hard. He's not the most attractive player in terms of [style] out on the basketball court. He gets the job done, and he plays at a very high level. You can call him a poor man's Dennis Rodman. He's a presence out on the basketball court."ESPN.com's Chad Ford and Marc Stein contributed to this report.