According to ESPN Chicago, the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets are discussing a potential trade that involves Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng. Anthony would give the Bulls the third piece to a trifecta that would potentially clash with the Miami Heat’s Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. However, they’d lose one of the league’s best interior players in Noah.
Here are some of the positives and negatives of this trade from the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets perspectives:
Don’t be deceived by Joakim Noah’s stat line
Joakim Noah is a unique player. He brings a fiery passion that rubs off unto his teammates. His defensive presence is exactly what Tom Thibodeau needs as he implements his defensive philosophies with the Bulls. Anthony is one of the league’s best scorers, but Noah is one of the league’s best interior defenders. Quality big men have become rare in today’s NBA; do the Bulls want to part away with one?
2 Goods, or 1 great with 1 huge weakness?
Trading Joakim Noah and Luol Deng for Carmelo Anthony is trading two good players for one superstar. The problem with this is that while they’ll improve their scoring at the 3 by around 10ppg, they’re crippling themselves at center. No short-term replacement will match his intensity or his defensive abilities; they’d be fortunate to make up his scoring.
Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, and Carlos Boozer as the new Big 3?
Carmelo and Billups have only gotten Denver to one Western Conference final appearance. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer weren’t able to elevate Utah into a Finals appearance, either.
With Carmelo, Rose, and Boozer, can the Bulls compete with the Heat’s James, Wade, and Bosh? The Bulls would be a cheaper version of the Heat’s big 3, which would give them the potential to build a better team around them with more chemistry.
Why would the Nuggets want Luol Deng?
Trading Carmelo Anthony insinuates that the Denver Nuggets are rebuilding. Joakim Noah is a phenomenal rebuilding piece, but why would a rebuilding team take on Luol Deng’s contract, a contract that everyone has avoided in trade negotiations with the Bulls. With the new collective bargaining agreements approaching, the contract is one of the league’s worst. Luol Deng is a good player, but he’s nowhere near a player you build around. Denver will already suffer from Anthony’s absence, so why would they cripple themselves even more by adding Deng?
Who favors from this trade?
Carmelo Anthony is good enough to be “The man” on a championship team with a quality point guard running the offense and good defense. Rose has the potential to be an elite NBA point guard and Carlos Boozer gives them a strong inside presence.
Considered a defensive minded coach, you’d expect Noah would be a major emphasis in Tom Thibodeau’s system. However, if Thibodeau and the Bulls think they can overcome Noah’s defensive presence, they should consider this trade. Not only would they get Carmelo Anthony, but they’re getting rid of Luol Deng’s contract 6 year, $71 million contract.
The Denver Nuggets should consider no trade proposal with Luol Deng. A good player, but there is no reason to jump the gun; they’d be better trying to win this season with Carmelo and letting him walk then acquiring Deng’s contract. Noah is a great piece to a championship puzzle, but losing Anthony, an aging Billups, and an abundance of injury prone post players suggests they’re nowhere close to title contention following such a trade.
I wouldn’t expect any trade to happen, especially with Luol Deng. Trading Anthony sends a negative message to Nuggets fans and shows them that the organization is not serious about winning.
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ESPN Chicago, “Source: Bulls Discuss Carmelo Anthony.” ESPN. September 9, 2010. September 9, 2010.