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Carmelo to Chicago?

By Marcin Chojnowski
On September 28, 2010

The crazy NBA off-season may have cooled down after "The Decision," but the madness is not over yet. According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, all-star small forward Carmelo Anthony wants a trade out of Denver. Anthony, who was drafted as the third pick in 2003 by Denver, has averaged 24.7 points per game during his NBA tenure, and has led the Nuggets to six straight playoff appearances. Although the first five playoff showings by Denver ended up in first round exits, it wasn't until last year that the team advanced past the first round to the Western Conference Finals and ended up losing to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was highly anticipated that Carmelo would finish up his contract with Denver through the 2010-2011 season and test the free-agency waters during next year's off-season, just like Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade did this year. Reports began surfacing early last month that Denver was trying to trade Anthony, but they cooled down quite a bit - until now. Three teams are apparently front runners in the Anthony sweepstakes: the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls seem to be the team that has the most to offer Denver in return for the all star. But that would come at a cost the Bulls may not be willing to pay.

Many speculate that a deal for Anthony would require the Bulls to give up Taj Gibson, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, as well as a future first round draft pick. Team management is debating whether or not it would be worth it to trade away a young and talented player like Noah, who is one of the up and coming centers in the league that is almost sure to be an all star in the near future. That raises a question: Are the Bulls closer to winning a title with a core group of Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah, or a group of Rose, Anthony, and Boozer?

This is the tough decision that Bulls management has to make within the next few weeks. Although he had a rough start to his career during the first two years of his NBA career, Noah has become a great center in the league. Last year he averaged a double-double with 10.7 points per game and 11 rebounds per game, which is sure to go up this year. Noah will be 100% healthy to start the season after being limited last year with a plantar fasciitis injury that he played with nearly the entire season. This is the type of player that adds a lot of energy and leadership both in the locker room and especially on the basketball court. Noah does the little things such as hustle, rebound and play good defense, which makes the Bulls a team to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference with the addition of Carlos Boozer in the post.

In a perfect world, the Bulls would be able to put together a trade excluding Noah from the deal and keeping him in Chicago. The they could contend for a title against teams like the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, and the Boston Celtics. In the real world though, Denver will not just let their best player go to another team without being compensated for their loss. The Bulls must quickly weigh their options and try their hardest not to take a step backwards by losing a player that could very possibly stand alongside Artis Gilmore and Bill Cartwright and become one of the best centers that has ever put on a Chicago Bulls jersey.

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