Over the weekend, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that they were in talks with the Orlando Magic guard/forward Arron Afflalo. It was a surprise, considering that the Bulls were mentioned as a possible landing spot for Carmelo Anthony.
The Bulls appeared to be the leading candidate in the Anthony sweepstakes. During the season, Anthony spoke to several former Bulls players about what it is like to play for coach Tom Thibodeau, separate of his conversation with current Bulls player and reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah.
Anthony also did his due diligence on the city, contacting at least one high-profile person who lives in Chicago on what it is like to be famous there.
The Bulls did their homework on Anthony as well. Thibodeau contacted some of Anthony’s previous coaches to inquire on what it was like to coach him.
Would this report about Afflalo hinder the Bulls in their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony?
At first glance, it would seem that acquiring Afflalo would take the Bulls out of consideration for Anthony. They are near the salary cap limit (even with the expected $5 million raise in the cap), so they couldn’t possibly get both, right?
Well, it can be done. Carlos Boozer‘s $16.8 million salary will be erased one way or another. He will either be amnestied or traded. Should Anthony and the Bulls agree, there could be a sign-and-trade deal made. The Knicks need to get something from losing Anthony, and a draft pick along with Boozer’s expiring contract might be better than nothing.
Also, there would need to be a combination of Mike Dunleavy Jr, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and a draft pick would need to go to Orlando for Afflalo. Having him on the team would make the Bulls more attractive to Anthony.
Yes, I know we all love those players I mentioned above (except of course Boozer). It is important, however, to have a team that can compete for a title. The Eastern Conference is weak, and we don’t know how the Miami Heat will look next season, so there might be an opening for the Bulls.
Some may feel there may be too much defense sacrificed for more offense, but don’t underestimate the power of Thibodeau. Remember, he got Nate Robinson to buy into playing defense, so he can get almost anyone to play defense (except, of course, Boozer).
I don’t think the Bulls would do anything that might jeopardize their chances to land Carmelo Anthony, so either Afflalo is their backup plan, or they are confident that they can somehow acquire the two. If they are able to sign both, it will be one interesting battle in the NBA Eastern Conference.