Anthony’s agents courting Bulls
With trade discussions with the New Jersey Nets having broken off, the representatives for Carmelo Anthony(notes) are engaging the Chicago Bulls with hopes of pushing them into becoming a serious bidder for the Denver Nuggets star, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.
Anthony has long been enthusiastic about a possible trade to the Bulls, but Denver and Chicago officials had been previously unable to come to terms on a deal. Bulls executives John Paxson and Gar Forman have investigated the possibility of acquiring Anthony, but thus far haven’t been willing to include the one player the Nuggets most covet: center Joakim Noah(notes).
Anthony’s agents are under pressure to make a deal happen for the All-Star forward, who sources said has become an increasingly unhappy client. The Nuggets need to agree on a package with a team in which Anthony’s willing to sign a contract extension. Talks with New Jersey and Anthony’s preferred choice, the New York Knicks, have dragged on since Anthony asked for a trade in August.
Nevertheless, William Wesley – Worldwide Wes – is expected to travel to Chicago for Bulls games on Thursday and Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers, a source said. Wesley unsuccessfully pushed LeBron James(notes) to sign with the Bulls as a free agent, and now has an interest in Anthony ending up there. Wesley represents Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for CAA.
Despite that Leon Rose is certified as the agent of record for Anthony, everyone in the NBA knows Wesley is responsible for delivering the Nuggets star to CAA and is hands-on when trying to push teams into deals for the agency’s clients.
Chicago has wanted the Nuggets to take forward Luol Deng(notes) as a cornerstone to the deal, but Denver hasn’t been interested in absorbing the three years and $40 million left on his contract after this season. The Nuggets want an array of young players and picks the Bulls will have a difficult time providing. Still, Chicago badly needs another scoring option and Anthony is one of the NBA’s elite offensive players.
Noah is recuperating from wrist surgery and is targeting a late February return. Thibodeau is an immense believer in Noah and values his defensive and rebounding presence in the middle. He’s also considered him an underrated offensive player. The Bulls signed Noah to a five-year, $60 million contract extension in the preseason.
The Knicks continue to talk with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers about trading Anthony Randolph for a first-round pick to send to Denver as part of a package for Anthony. The Knicks have assurances they can get a pick for Randolph and have been canvassing the league to find another first-rounder that could be used in a deal for Anthony. There are teams willing to sell their picks for $3 million, especially in what’s considered to be an unspectacular draft class this year.
Meanwhile, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced on Wednesday that the team is no longer pursuing Anthony. Prokhorov said he canceled a planned meeting with Anthony for Wednesday because he was tired of how long the negotiations had lasted.
The Nets had been in serious discussions with the Nuggets about a three-team deal also involving the Detroit Pistons.
The key components of the deal would have sent Anthony, Chauncey Billups(notes) and Richard Hamilton(notes) to the Nets, and Devin Harris(notes), Derrick Favors(notes), Anthony Morrow(notes) and draft picks to Denver. The Nuggets were also trying to include Renaldo Balkman(notes) in the deal – and bring back rookie Damion James(notes) – but the Nets had resisted exchanging those players, sources said.