Saturday, December 7, 2013

Carmelo Anthony should be traded to the Chicago Bulls


It is no secret that Carmelo Anthony is not happy with the New York Knicks and would not mind being traded. As one of the best scorers in the game, it has been embarrassing for him to lose to the likes of the Bobcats, Pistons, and Wizards. In last Sunday’s game vs. the Pelicans, after some questionable defense by Anthony, Iman Shumpert railed on the superstar scorer during a subsequent timeout for what looked like sub-maximal effort.

Thus far this season, Melo has also received no shortage of criticism from league analysts and media personalities, either:


In all this tumultuousness, Stephen A. Smith reported on ESPN that he’s “hearing [Carmelo Anthony is] out. Gone. Unless the money disappears elsewhere…he’s not trying to stay [in New York].” And while Anthony’s personality is questionable, there is no doubting his offensive talent. That is exactly why the Chicago Bulls are the perfect situation for him. After spending some quality time with one of my favorite online simulation machines, the ESPN Trade Machine, I came up with this viable (financially speaking) trade:

Chicago Bulls get Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton
New York Knicks get Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and Jimmy Butler


Bill Simmons suggested in his latest column that the Luol Deng is a viable trade bait option but only followed it up with suggestions for relatively small trades. I say, Bulls: go for it all. Who knows what’s going to happen with Derrick Rose and in a city built for superstar scorers, Carmelo Anthony could handle the primary scoring load that would be required of him. When (if?) Derrick Rose comes back healthy, he really will need to re-invent himself as a point guard. Although his injuries were not directly the result of his style of play, his explosiveness + his small frame = a high chance disappointing NBA career. Grant Hill and Bill Walton are names that I have already seen thrown around.

Rose won't feel like he needs to go into full hero-mode on offense. Anthony gives Derrick Rose the ability to remain a playmaker but not a drive-at-all-costs playmaker. If Roy Hibbert or Serge Ibaka are waiting in the paint ready to punish him, he can dish it out as opposed to forcing up a crazy (but entertaining) shot. Melo also spreads the floor for Rose, allowing the Chicago native to take advantage of his quickness to hopefully beat his man and the help defense. (Side note: for this reason I don’t like the Kobe-Melo combo that I’ve been hearing. Two guys who want to go for 30 every night? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.) Rose and Melo would perfectly complement each other. Rose, Hinrich, Anthony, Gibson, and Noah…I think this Shaq and Chuck GIF might represent how Bulls fans would feel with a starting lineup like that. Coach Tom Thibodeau could manage the egos.

Now…would the Knicks accept this offer? At the time I submitted this trade into The Machine, Hollinger’s analysis actually told me that the Knicks got the better end of the deal! The way I look at it, this trade makes sense for the Knicks for three reasons:
  • Jimmy Butler would help add some defensive tenacity to a Knicks team in dire need of perimeter defenders. He is still nursing a foot injury which could help the Knicks if they want to go full tank mode this year. NY isn’t getting the talent in a single individual but Butler is one piece in the chunk of the Bulls core that could also help bring the Knicks' storied franchise back to relevancy.
  • Carlos Boozer is still productive. Just ask the Miami Heat, who lost to the Bulls on Thursday in a game where Boozer dropped 27 and 9. He could slide right in with the Knicks big man rotation of Chandler, Bargnani, and the corpse of Amar’e Stoudemire. Maybe even start shopping Bargnani for another player you can take off the books for next summer to help bid for LeBron.
  • Luol Deng finishes off the new-look Knicks with another team-first veteran who also happens to be in the final year of a contract. It’s a win-win for the Knicks picking him up because they have the option to keep a solid vet or dump him at the end of the year in what will be the summer of LeBron (& Co.), part two.
Who says no first? Probably the Knicks, but (big surprise) I would take it if I were them. If they have learned anything from the Lakers this past off-season with the Dwight Howard saga, it’s that you don’t want to lose a star for nothing. If you can’t see that Deng-Butler-Boozer is worth Carmelo, at least you can see that Deng-Butler-Boozer is more than nothing.

Just for kicks (and because The Machine is too much fun), I have another Carmelo to the Bulls trade in the works. Enter the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the mix and you get:

Bulls get Carmelo Anthony and Kendrick Perkins
Knicks get Luol Deng, Thabo Sefolosha, Jimmy Butler, and Isaiah Canaan
Rockets get Carlos Boozer
Thunder get Omer Asik and some guy named Motiejunas


The Bulls are doing essentially the same trade (Anthony for the BDB core). The Knicks are, too, except in losing Boozer’s skill and contract they gain another expiring contract and a dirt cheap contract. Canaan and his 21 points, 10 assists (league leading), and 4 rebounds per game in the D-league might even be ready to contribute at the NBA level.

Houston accomplishes their goal of losing Omer Asik and in the process they get a perfect complimentary big man for Dwight Howard who can hit the mid-range jumper (not from the right side) with reasonable efficiency.

Carlos Boozer's shot chart through 12/7/13.
The Thunder are also loving this trade. No more Perkins? Check. Efficient offensive center? Check. And another thing I love about this trade is it puts Jeremy Lamb on the court more. At 46 percent from the field, Lamb is putting up 16.8 points per 36 minutes so far this season in only 20 minutes per game. Westbrook-Lamb-Durant-Ibaka-Asik. That team has NBA title contender written all over it.

So take your pick, New York. There will be options out there...maybe not the ideal one in your eyes, but it doesn't take a statistician to tell you something is better than nothing.

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