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NBA Free Agency: Meaning of Carmelo Anthony to Bulls

By Erik Lambert

Apr 2, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots over Brooklyn Nets forward Alan Anderson (6) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing is settled in NBA free agency yet, but Carmelo Anthony to the Chicago Bulls is the strongest rumor.  How would that change the landscape?

Tom Thibodeau gets second scorer next to Derrick Rose

In the four seasons the Chicago Bulls have gone to the playoffs since head coach Tom Thibodeau took over, one trend has remained the same.  Outside of Derrick Rose, the team has zero offensive legitimacy.  So when Rose went down with two knee injuries, it effectively ruined Chicago’s hope for competing with Miami in the East for a title.  This caused Thibodeau to bluntly state his team won’t get anywhere until they add more shooters.  That is really when the Carmelo Anthony rumors began.  It’s easy to understand why.  The 30-year old had one of his best seasons in 2013-2014, averaging 27.4 points per game.  Adding him in NBA free agency would instantly take the offensive pressure off of Rose, thereby keeping him healthy and giving Chicago two legitimate scorers who can average more than 20 points per game.

Reasoning rests on Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls defense

So why is this so important?  Really because everything else regarding the Chicago Bulls blueprint is in place.  Since Thibodeau and All-Star center Joakim Noah came on board, the team has never fielded a defense worse than third in the league.  Last season the Bulls allowed just 91.8 points per game, good enough for 1st in the NBA.  At the same time the team mustered just 93.7 points per game on offense, which was dead last among all 30 teams.  In other words the Bulls would lose games if they didn’t play great defense on a given night.  That was why they were ousted in just five game by Washington in the playoffs and that is why they are not holding back in their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony.  His being on the team would’ve raised that average to 101 points, perhaps even higher than that if Rose had stayed healthy.  This is what the Bulls are banking on.  They know as long as Thibodeau is in charge they will have great defense and will be in ball games.  In order to become championship favorites they need something more than a healthy Derrick Rose.

Carmelo Anthony may be the piece that gets them over the hump.  That’s providing NBA free agency goes as planned, which really hasn’t for them in the past.