Chicago Bulls named among top destinations to sign Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Entering this offseason, I certainly did not expect this to be the summer of swan-song signees. Yet here we now are, as the Chicago Bulls are now having their names tossed into the Carmelo Anthony ‘sweepstakes’ with training camp just weeks away.

While discussing potential matches, Bleacher Report lists Chicago as the second-best hypothetical fit for Carmelo for the 2022-23 season. On paper, it makes a bit of sense. This is largely due to the fact that the Bulls were so heavily connected to Danilo Gallinari, a free agent who would have served an almost identical role as Carmelo, had he decided to sign with Chicago.

B/R applies a surprising amount of reasoning here for a take that at first glance seems very shallow and reactionary.

"“In 2021-22, [the Bulls] finished 29th in the league in threes per 100 possessions. If they want to threaten for a top-10 offense, they may need to up their volume from there, and Melo can help.Over the last two seasons, among players who logged at least as many minutes, only six match or exceed both of Anthony’s marks for threes per possession and three-point percentage.In lineups with DeMar DeRozan picking teams apart from the short- and mid-range, having that kind of outside shooting to pull defenses out to the perimeter could work wonders.With few other options currently on the roster to play the 4, Anthony might be able to earn 15-20 minutes per game there.”"

It’s hard to argue that this is a completely outlandish take, even if you aren’t a fan of the idea yourself. In fact, this wouldn’t even be the first time the Bulls have pursued Carmelo in free agency, as they notably went all out to sign the star forward in 2014. Unfortunately, they’d be unsuccessful in their efforts and the Derrick Rose era would soon collapse thereafter.

They didn’t get their man in 2014, but would Carmelo Anthony still make sense for the Chicago Bulls eight years later?

For better or worse, Carmelo Anthony would be an intriguing free agent option for the Chicago Bulls.

Although Carmelo never joined the banana boat crew members LeBron James and Chris Paul for their infamous photo shoot, he does share in their seemingly never-ending ability to stave off old age and remain productive NBA players. Anthony has had to adjust to primarily a reserve role, sure, but he’s come to be quite skilled as a spark plug scoring threat off the bench.

Since returning from his NBA hiatus to join the Portland Trail Blazers three years ago, Carmelo has averaged a respectable 14 points and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 38.9% from beyond the arc. A diminished role hasn’t hurt his productivity, as Carmelo’s true shooting percentage has actually risen dramatically in each of those three seasons. Even at 38 years of age, Anthony is still finding ways to torch opposing defenses and create offensive opportunities not many others can.

If we are to ignore the fact that the Chicago Bulls have currently filled all 15 of their main roster spots, is it worth considering Carmelo as an option on this team?

His shooting could certainly come in handy, as no player on Chicago’s bench outside of Coby White can both:

  1. Reliably hit open three-pointers
  2. Consistently create their own offensive shot opportunities

Anthony does each of these at an impeccably high rate. The Bulls were willing to give Matt Thomas solid minutes last year for his shooting ability alone, and Carmelo would undeniably be a significant upgrade in that regard. Even if we account for the fact the Bulls would have to waive a player to make room for Carmelo, it’s hard to argue that someone like Marko Simonovic or Tony Bradley could make more of an impact on the win column than Anthony next year.

However, after making moves to sign veterans Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond, I don’t think it would be wise to bring another ring-chasing net negative on defense on board. As much as I’d like to see Carmelo don a Bulls uniform, it’s hard to justify forcing Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu to shoulder the entire defensive workload alone.

If we are to assume Carmelo wants to win a championship before it’s all said and done, I think there are not only better rosters, but also better fits out there for him just waiting to be filled.

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