Both the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls appear to be two teams on the brink of going in different directions. It is not what either team would have wanted at this stage in their respective cycles, with both outside contenders when all players are fully healthy, but circumstance has potentially forced their hand. For the Bulls, a second knee injury to All-Star point guard Derrick Rose has forced them to reconsider their futures. For the Knicks, the ever increasing possibility of offensive juggernaut Carmelo Anthony walking away in the summer for nothing has also forced them into action. Last week some people in the media mooted the possibility of Anthony being traded to the Knicks before the trade deadline, for assets such as the expiring contract of Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, plus additional pieces and draft picks. This would keep the Knicks a playoff team who could build around Noah with some cap space from the Boozer contract and future draft picks. The Bulls with a team with Anthony, even a Derrick Rose at 70 percent the player he was, and promising players Tony Snell and Jimmy Butler would also cause some damage in the East. Speaking purely hypothetically though, what would happen of the Knicks and Bulls swapped Anthony for Rose? As a fan of either of these teams, would you be happy?
First of all this is crazy talk of course, and ultimately very unlikely to happen. However, there will come a point where the Bulls will have to cut their losses on Rose if his knee issues persist, and cashing in now could actually be a very shrewd move, albeit an incredibly risky one if he returns to form. For the Knicks, if Carmelo has the decency to tell the franchise now that he’s gone in the summer, they could at least get some return for him. That is not to say he does want to leave of course, although conflicting statements from the player himself and a worrying feeling that this team has reached it’s ceiling have many feeling he is headed to the exit door. With the greatest of respect to the Knicks, they have been known to make a dodgy deal or two, and taking an injured All-Star with a view to building around them is something this team would do. It is part of the curse of being a big market team, as the Los Angeles Lakers are discovering now. They cannot simply rebuild the way other teams do as they are expected to always be relevant as they are the big city team. As mentioned, the Knicks will take a risk if they see the potential to benefit massively from a deal, although the past has shown us that rarely does the organisation get this right. Is Rose worth that risk? Perhaps more importantly, if Anthony is destined to leave, is Derrick Rose the best player they could hope to get in return?
At 29, Anthony is getting no younger. He has one big contract left in him, but at this point you get the feeling he would much rather finally go after the rings. If somehow this trade did happen, he would land at a Bulls team with a great coach, promising youth and not much else with all of Chicago’s better players headed the other way. However, if he agreed to take less money when resigning with the Bulls this summer, they could also go after another great player. Perhaps not a flat out All-Star, but a great complimentary piece to slide in beside Anthony. Surely this is more appealing to him than a Knicks team that is being weighed down by Amar’e Stoudemire‘s contract and knees, Andrea Bargnani‘s general existence and J.R. Smith‘s multiple heaves. Of course this can’t be all about the Bulls, and in return New York would get a Derrick Rose absolutely determined to do well in the league. Being traded away from his hometown would sting a hell of a lot, and proving them wrong would be his greatest motivation. Even if his athleticism never fully returned, a strong possibility, already his on court IQ is extremely high, and he has got a jump shot as well. He could almost morph into a Tony Parker like point guard, not overly athletic, but smart enough and driven enough to be a winner at the highest level. Should the experiment fail, it would result in a couple of lean years before his massive contract comes off the books and they can start again. But really, what sort of future does this team have in Anthony leaves anyway? Why not take a punt on a former league MVP?
There is no right or wrong answer here, and this move is a million miles away from ever happening. But to all NBA fans out there, particularly those who support the Bulls and Knicks, if you were a GM and this proposal was put in front of you, what would you do? Do the Bulls stick by Rose no matter what? Or the Knicks, do they blindly put all of their eggs into the Carmelo Anthony basket only for him to walk away leaving them empty handed? Let us know in the comments section below!