If Derrick Rose won’t recruit the NBA elite to Chicago at least Joakim Noah will. That’s the case according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard who reported1 that the Bulls’ center spent part of All-Star weekend selling Carmelo Anthony on all matters Chicago—the city, the organization and its relentless coach, Tom Thibodeau. It’s rare when the value of a top five scorer has debatable value to a team. That’s the case with Melo though, a volume scorer and subpar defender that has a difficult decision to make this offseason. Will he opt out of his current contract? Most basketball predictors assume so. But will Anthony remain in New York or catch on with Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami or parts not yet rumored? With inept owner James Dolan guiding his current team the rafters of Madison Square Garden won’t see a new banner any time soon. Will this season’s second leading scorer pocket the extra millions to remain with midtown Manhattan’s perennial loser or take a significant pay cut to challenge the NBA elite? Tornike Shengelia has played thirteen minutes in a Bulls’ uniform this season; don’t expect Carmelo Anthony to ask the little known small forward to give up his #7 jersey next season. Time for the ‘Anthony-to-the-Bulls’ advocates to meet Occam’s razor2.
When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.
Above is the clearest part of the principle known as Occam ’s razor—the simplest result is the most likely one. Have you seen the movie Contact? Matthew McConaughey’s character uses the principle to unsuccessfully convince Jodie Foster’s character of the non-existence of aliens3. In our scenario Melo is the alien and Chicago is the Earth. Consider Scenario A. Carmelo Anthony signs a maximum deal—five years for $129 million4—with the Knicks, lives where he and his wife are comfortable and plays the role of spotlight superstar in Madison Square Garden. Then break down Scenario B. Melo subjugates his ego by joining D-Rose in Chicago or Kobe in Los Angeles. And he takes a hefty pay cut to do so. And Bulls’ front office management, John Paxson and Gar Forman, does enough just to make it a possibility—amnesty Carlos Boozer’s contract and trade some combination of Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. And hope its stars—Rose and Noah—can recruit as well as Dwyane Wade did for the Heat in the summer of 2010. Getting Melo to Chicago took too many “ands” while just one clean sentence is needed for him to resign in New York. If the simpler outcome is better he’s not going anywhere next season.
Carmelo Anthony isn’t like LeBron James or Kevin Durant—well-rounded on offense and a defensive stalwart. Durant and The King rank one and two, respectively, in Win Shares and Player Efficiency Rating (PER) while Anthony is seventh in PER and just eleventh in Win Shares. No one denies his offensive prowess but subpar passing and defensive weakness makes him less than elite on the court. He isn’t victory-focused the way Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas were—the players not the front office leaders. Hall of Fame players that, no matter their surrounding talent, willed their team to wins with a rare combination of talent and heart. Carmelo Anthony has the talent of a champion—does he have the heart to go with it? Many believe money, locale and the spotlight are his suitors rather than a ring and a chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.
The 2014 offseason will show the true face of the gunning small forward. The man who forced a trade out of Denver to land in the Big Apple has been unable to take the Knicks above mediocre status, even in a deplorable Eastern Conference. He’ll have options—continue the status quo, stand beside Derrick Rose, join the aging duo of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, to name a few. If the simplest option tends to be most likely than it’s time for Bulls’ fan to ignore the Carmelo hype; he isn’t leaving New York. The saviors in Chicago are already in the building—Rose and Noah are championship-caliber talent while GarPax have the dollars and sense to bring willing talent to the United Center.
Niral Patel ~ SecCitySportsReport@gmail.com