Carmelo Anthony will suit up in Chicago tonight.
Still in a Nuggets uniform, though. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah will still put on Bulls uniforms for the game. Denver will come to Chicago in a battle of two teams that have talked about a blockbuster deal but never got it done.
Which frustrates a number of Bulls fans, who think that the team needs Carmelo Anthony and would have thrown Joakim Noah in the deal with Luol Deng to get Anthony to Chicago. Anthony reportedly would love to play there. But Bulls brass will not include Noah, thinking they still need a defensive-minded center to make it all work.
Chicago fans are likely to welcome Anthony tonight with loud cheers and open arms. Even Noah thinks so, as he told ESPN Chicago.
“I don’t know,” he said, when asked about the reception which awaits Anthony. “A couple years ago we kind of had a similar situation with Kobe Bryant and he got a pretty good reception when he came to the United Center, but we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. To be honest, I have no idea. My only focus is on just winning the game and not worrying about all the other things.”
With Kobe, it was Deng that was the issue. The Lakers demanded him in the deal, but Kobe would not approve the trade if Deng was not in Chicago. Looking back now, both Kobe and the Lakers are pretty happy it worked out like it did.
Anthony has leverage in his demands in that he can be a free agent this summer — if the Nuggets can’t trade him or get him to sign the three-year, $65 million deal on the table they will lose him for nothing. Cleveland and Toronto territory.
The Bulls and everyone else knows that, which is why Chicago’s 2-3 start will not push them to up their offer. The Bulls don’t have Carlos Boozer in the lineup yet, they don’t know just how good they really are. The Bulls don’t feel they have to change, and the pressure will mount on Denver.
Eventually. Right now the Nuggets are just fine, playing some quality basketball with good ball movement on offense that will test the Bulls defense. The Nuggets can flat out score. Which likely will make Bulls fans even more envious. They will welcome him loudly, but Bulls management will not move off their stance. Nor should they.