Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/14/2014 9:04 PM

Plenty of questions when it comes to Anthony, Love

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, left, passes the ball past Chicago Bulls' D.J. Augustin during the first half of the NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 13, 2014 in New York. The Knicks defeated the Bulls 100-89.

      New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, left, passes the ball past Chicago Bulls' D.J. Augustin during the first half of the NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 13, 2014 in New York. The Knicks defeated the Bulls 100-89.
    Associated Press file photo

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) scores past Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Chicago.

      Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) scores past Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, in Chicago.
    Associated Press file photo

  • Anthony vs Love

    Graphic: Anthony vs Love

 
 

Maybe it seems as though the NBA Finals are over, but there's still Game 5 Sunday night in San Antonio.

Between the lopsided nature of these Finals, and several new rumors in the last few days, already the off-season questions are evolving. So let's not waste any time:

Q: Better for the Bulls: Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Love?

A: First of all, let's acknowledge that this is out of the Bulls' hands, for the most part. Anthony will pick his team, after deciding whether to become a free agent. When exactly the Timberwolves realize they'd better trade Love or lose him for nothing is on them.

Perfectly reasonable arguments can be made that Love is a better player or more efficient scorer than Anthony. Averaging 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists, Love might have garnered MVP attention if Minnesota was a better team.

But the answer here is obvious. Just look at how successful NBA teams are built these days. Boston's Big Three was Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Miami's Tres Amigos are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. One big and two perimeter players.

When you factor in the fourth-best player on those squads (Rajon Rondo for Boston, Allen for Miami), it becomes three perimeter stars to one big man. The same thing is going on now with San Antonio -- Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginóbili and Tim Duncan -- four to one.

The Bulls need another perimeter scorer, whether Derrick Rose ever has another healthy season or not. So Anthony should be the primary target.

As mentioned here before, the Bulls will present Anthony with this pitch: A lineup of 'Melo, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Rose (or D.J. Augustin), coached by Tom Thibodeau, can dethrone Miami in the Eastern Conference.

Anthony's belief in Rose's future will be important. If Rose isn't 100 percent healthy by now after relatively minor knee surgery in November, the franchise is in trouble. Expect Rose to be much more involved this time than he was in the 2010 LeBron chase.

Maybe the Bulls would pursue Love if they can't land Anthony. Signing Love to an extension would be an expensive proposition, though, and wouldn't leave much money to spend for perimeter help. Gibson and Nikola Mirotic might cover most of what Love does at a fraction of the price.

Q: Could Anthony end up in Miami?

A: The "Big Four" concept is far-fetched. It would require James, Wade and Bosh to opt out of their contracts and all four players to take significant pay cuts. If they all got the same amount, it would be around $14 million each, if the Heat finds a way to erase Udonis Haslem's player option for next year.

But here's the dilemma for Miami: The Heat rolled through the East without much resistance, but it's easy to wonder if this team can win another championship with the current mix.

Wade and Bosh aren't necessarily franchise players right now, but they're owed $20 million-plus for the next two seasons if no one opts out. And James could take his talents elsewhere at any time.

So Miami might decide it needs a bold move to keep James in town. Would that be trying to trade Bosh for Love? Ask players to take pay cuts? Knock one out of the park using the midlevel exception?

There's no obvious answer.

Q: Where else could Anthony land this summer?

A: Dallas has cap space. Houston has been mentioned but would need to trade Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin first. Staying in New York could be an idea that gains momentum as the summer rolls along, even if Anthony becomes a free agent.

Instead of everyone taking pay cuts so Anthony can join the Heat, why not wait until 2015 and have James meet Anthony in New York?

The Knicks wasted some of their potential cap space on J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, so New York could be in better shape than it is. But Anthony has all summer to gauge the interest of James and a third star, who could be Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rondo, Marc Gasol, Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap. All can be free agents in 2015.

Phil Jackson could even dangle the idea of coaching the team. There are no guarantees the plan would pay off, but Jackson could have more leverage than it seems.

• Follow Mike's Bulls reports on Twitter @McGrawDHBulls.

Share

Interested in reusing this article?

Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.

The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.

Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *

Message (optional)

Success - Reprint request sent Click to close
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here