Boy the NBA rumors are really heating up these days. What’s even more amazing is how the NBA rumors change almost on a daily basis. At the beginning of the week, the focus was on Kevin Love and how the Bulls front office were putting together a package of players and draft picks to acquire him. A couple of days later, it’s all about Chicago talking with the Denver Nuggets having discussions about trading the 11th pick (Denver) and the 16th and 19th pick (Chicago) in the upcoming NBA draft. Now Carmelo has almost taken over the NBA rumor landscape.
Numerous reports have leaked that despite Phil Jackson wanting Carmelo Anthony to opt in and wait a year and collect $23.3 million dollars for his trouble, Carmelo Anthony will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.
This part of the equation is not to be over analyzed. There are many big name free agents that are opting out of their contracts. Carmelo Anthony has definitely earned the right to go where he pleases based on the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
In my opinion, I still think that Carmelo Anthony stays in New York. I’ve read reports that the New York Knicks will offer a five-year, 120 million dollar deal when the free agency period begins. I know about all of the articles (mine included) that will be speculating his next move. That’s our job and the nature of the beast. But even Carmelo Anthony said in a quote that nothing is legit until a contract is signed. But what if he does spurn the money and leaves New York showing that he is serious about going to a championship contender? Let’s take a look at the two rumored teams Carmelo Anthony is linked to being intrigued to join, the Houston Rockets and your Chicago Bulls to see if it would work out.
This is not about finances. These scenarios are based on everything syncing up chemistry wise for each team. Carmelo Anthony has had his press conference and is in uniform. Basketball is not all about numbers individually. This is a game about teamwork and how players can mesh their talents to best help their team win. If you don’t think that’s true, then you haven’t been watching the NBA Finals. Let’s start with the Houston Rockets.
1) Carmelo Anthony goes to Houston in a sign and trade. Houston accomplishes their goal of building their own “Big Three” super team.
Out of these two teams being covered here, on paper the Rockets have more to offer than the Chicago Bulls. Assuming that Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin are off the books to clear cap space to acquire Carmelo Anthony in a sign and trade, Anthony would get the max contract (over $90 million) that he wants. If you guys really think he’s not thinking about the money, dollar, dollar bills y’all, you will believe that Joakim Noah and I text each other trading shampooing secrets.
In the beginning, everything will be lovely. You see Dwight Howard and James Harden will make Anthony feel wanted because they, according to Adrian Wojanarowski of Yahoo! sports were on the ready to recruit Carmelo to sell him the dream that the three of them together can deliver a championship to Houston.
We here at Pippen Ain’t Easy deal with the real. It won’t happen. Last I checked, there can only be one basketball on the floor. Let me check that, yep only one. Let’s break down the stars Carmelo Anthony would play with.
James Harden is a dynamic player. If you don’t believe me ask the Oklahoma City Thunder who misses him terribly after he left two years ago. He can score in ways I haven’t seen in a while. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have issues. Harden is a great player but he is not efficient. The San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals has reminded us that ball movement is very important in successful offenses. With Harden, the ball is known to stick to his hands like the old school stickum did to the Oakland Raiders back in the 70’s. He is known to go one on one and fall in love with that difficult step back fade away of his. Now that is not as glaring because he can draw fouls and get to the free throw line as good as anyone in the league. He can go 10-28 some nights but hit his free throws and still get his name in the paper.
How about that defense. Yeah I know, what defense? Harden is about as apathetic about defense as I am getting up early in the morning to run errands. Harden is a poor defender that believes that reaching in and trying to steal the ball is a viable option to stopping NBA players. With Harden putting up shots and Carmelo putting up shots that is going to annoy…
I could go into how he whined and complained in Orlando. But we already know about that. I could go into how he sulked in Los Angeles. But we already know about that. What I will point out is that these two teams are now sitting in the lottery.
Dwight Howard should be the most dominant player in the league. He’s not and never will be. I put him in the same category as Carmelo Anthony. They say they want to win but will not make the sacrifices to do so. If that was the case, Howard would have stayed in Los Angeles, allowed himself to be mentored by a five time champion in Kobe Bryant and waited to take the franchise over in a year or two.
Dwight Howard cannot stand the pressure it takes to win a championship. In L.A. it was hot, but now in Houston if Carmelo Anthony shows up its championship or bust. Howard couldn’t hang in the prior cities. He won’t here either.
If Carmelo Anthony shows up, it’s good-bye shots for Howard. Remember Amare Stoudemire was a MVP candidate for a quick second before Carmelo showed up. After that, Stoudemire has turned into salary cap space for the future. Carmelo Anthony has not learned the balance of getting his teammates involved and getting his shots in the flow of the offense. Dwight Howard will start pouting…again. He will start complaining…again. The Houston Rockets will be disappointed in the playoffs…again.
2) The Chicago Bulls acquire Carmelo Anthony in a sign and trade. The press conference is over. Carmelo gets his familiar number 15 jersey back.
First off everyone in the Chicago Bulls organization is happy that Carmelo Anthony is in a Bulls uniform. But they are doing backflips that got rid of Carlos Boozer and his 16.8 million dollar deadweight contract. Tom Thibodeau was seen at the press conference showing all of his teeth. Gar Forman is planning a church trip thanking the Lord and everyone in heaven that either he found a sucker…I mean a suitor to take Carlos Boozer in a trade or that Jerry Reinsdorf could be convinced to amnesty Boozer contract and pay him to walk away.
In the beginning it would look lovely. On paper you have Derrick Rose coming back from knee injuries…again. Joakim Noah will head up the defense and Carmelo Anthony will bring his 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds from the Big Apple. Plus Carmelo Anthony has a profound respect for Tom Thibodeau.
There’s one thing about this situation that screams one word…insanity. Not from the Chicago Bulls perspective. It’s on Carmelo Anthony. Remember the New York Knicks gave the farm away for three magic beans in the Carmelo Anthony deal in the first place. Oh that deal just happened to include the 2014 first round pick as well. Let’s say Carmelo Anthony is in uniform and will play for the Bulls. Who’s going to fill out the roster Pippen Peoples? Taj Gibson is gone because the Bulls had to get rid of him to clear cap space. Let’s say Mike Dunleavy leaves to clear cap space. He’s the only one under contract that’s expendable who anyone would want. Nikola Mirotic? Can’t afford to bring him over. He’s overseas…again. Phil Jackson is not stupid. If he trades Anthony, he’ll want those two first round picks as well.
Carmelo Anthony’s issue with taking less money in New York is that he wants to see where the money given back will result in acquiring and keeping talent. Based on this point, I have no issues with his concerns. That’s actually smart thinking. If Chicago has spent up all their money acquiring Anthony plus giving up a future All-Star in Taj Gibson who is an OUTSTANDING defender who actually helped Joakim Noah anchor this top five defense in the first place. Then throw in the first round picks the Bulls have this year, Where’s the difference in assets here?
Finally, let’s talk Derrick Rose. Some of you might agree, some of you might hit the roof. That’s why there are comments sections below. Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony are not going to get along. As soon as Carmelo Anthony comes to town, everyone can start cueing the “whose team is it?” questions. Sure, Carmelo will say all the right things like…D-Rose and I can co-exist together and we will get acclimated to each other to help this team win.
Just like in New York right? Remember when Jeremy Lin was playing well and the ball actually moving around and the Knicks were on a little winning streak? Carmelo Anthony was on the bench hurt. After he returned to the lineup, all of that stopped. Stoudemire was effectively rendered ineffective by Anthony as well.
Derrick Rose is a ball dominating point guard that needs the ball in his hands to create offense for himself and his teammates. Assuming that he comes back healthy, how is he going to deal with a ball dominating black hole of a wing player that parks himself in a certain section of the floor and fires up shots?
Pippen Peoples, this year’s NBA Finals is watching the evolution of how the NBA teams will play for the next five to ten years. Soon the building of super teams are going to fade and team ball that is being illustrated by the San Antonio Spurs will be in vogue. When was the last time you heard San Antonio and salary cap space in the same sentence? I’ll wait.
If Carmelo was a serious about winning a title as he says he is. He’d do everything he can to figure a way to get on in Miami with LeBron and Co.. Which is unlikely.