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Thibodeau is all in on Bulls pursuit of ‘Melo
The push to make sure Carmelo Anthony is wearing a Bulls uniform continues heating up heading into the NBA’s draft week, and maybe no one wants the forward’s services more than coach Tom Thibodeau.
According to one former NBA coach who had Anthony on his team, Thibodeau has not only reached out to him with numerous calls, but several other coaches that worked with Anthony on a daily basis.
“I even told Tom that there may be days he will want to blow his own head off when it comes to ‘Melo’s defense, but he keeps saying he knows he can make it work,’’ the coach said. “It’s not that Carmelo can’t play defense, it’s just how often, and he knows every trick in the book on getting around that.’’
The fact that the Bulls are in full-court-press mode on Anthony comes as no surprise, especially since it was first reported that center Joakim Noah not only courted Anthony during the All-Star Game back in February, but continued the recruitment up on the Knicks forward throughout the second half of the season.
It would seem that Noah is not alone, as Derrick Rose has reportedly gotten involved, as well as Thibodeau using back channels to let Anthony know that his addition could mean big things for both Anthony and the Bulls.
“There’s no question they would be better with him – with or without his defensive inconsistencies,’’ the source continued. “As I told Tom, ‘You’re in the East, Tom. Remember, you’re in the East.’ ‘’
That has been the thought the entire second half of the season for the Bulls. Even without Rose (right knee) and Luol Deng (traded) on the roster after early January, they finished with the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, and still won 48 games.
With Miami’s Achilles Heel seemingly exposed during the NBA Finals loss to the Spurs, Indiana in need of psychoanalysis, and Toronto’s roster uncertainty, a threesome of Anthony, Rose and Noah could easily challenge for the throne in the East for the 2014-15 season.
The question remains, how does the Anthony deal get done? Multiple media outlets reported that a sign-and-trade for the expiring contract of Carlos Boozer is the favored route, especially with the Knicks feeling that Anthony will announce on Monday that he will opt out of his current deal.
That would also mean the Bulls would sending at least one of their first round picks – 16 or 19 – to the Knicks, who are in rebuild mode and need to start with a point guard.
There are also reports that the Bulls could be dumping another draft pick in pursuit of Orlando scorer Arron Afflalo, which means it’s not about adding youth as much as it is about pursuing a championship for a team trying to make sure the window stays open now.
The Bulls aggressiveness on all fronts to improve the roster isn’t shocking anyone throughout the league. Even at the NBA Finals last week, several sources indicated that both general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson were “looking to exhaust as many assets as it will take’’ to make the Bulls a contender this summer.