The Carmelo Anthony trade winds continue at hurricane strength, and while he insists he's not concentrating on basketball right now, plenty of other people are. Indeed, the rumors about him heading to Chicago are already at a level where observers are worried about whether an Anthony acquisition would hurt team chemistry.
Of course, fans of the New York Knicks haven't given up on landing Melo -- and many were likely heartened by his attendance at the U.S Open tennis tournament in Forest Hills over the weekend. When a New York Daily News reporter tried to quiz him about b-ball, though, he deflected the question like a strong backhand.
"Why do you want to ask that?" he wondered, adding, "I'm in the offseason right now. My mind-set is just to enjoy fashion week, enjoy this U.S. Open and that's it. I'm not really thinking about basketball right now."
That isn't entirely true. Yesterday, he sent a tweet tribute to Nuggets teammate Chauncey Billups, who helped the U.S. win the world basketball championship. Here's his note:
Shout out to Chauncey for bringing "Gold" back to Denver.
Still, this shouldn't be interpreted as an indication that Melo would like to stay in Denver. A Nuggets commitment by Anthony remains an extraordinarily long shot at this point -- and if he's already mentally clearing out his locker, the squad's brass needs him to get serious about moving elsewhere. The last thing the team needs is to spend the entire season twisting...
Meanwhile, bloggers convinced that a Melo trade to Chicago is a very real possibility are already speculating about whether his addition to the Bulls lineup would lift the team to the next level or leave it stuck in the NBA's second tier.
The latter fear is expressed by Oly Sandor of Hoops Vibe News, who worries about conflicts with new acquisition Carlos Boozer and budding superstar Derrick Rose.
He writes: "The Bulls are Derrick Rose's team. He's the franchise face and first option. Initially, Anthony would have to defer to the third year point guard. Is this something he would do? Is this something he can do?"
Sandor has his doubts: Anthony "might be reluctant to play second fiddle -- even if it meant a long-term extension, playing in a major market, and suiting up for a competitive team. So the Bulls are interested in Anthony's talent. Fair enough. They should consider if he`s worth altering, or compromising, their chemistry."
In my view, this concern is overstated. Given that the Bulls' chemistry will already be in flux due to Boozer's arrival, adding Melo before the start of the season would be ideal, since adjustments will be underway. And although it's unlikely that the Rose-Boozer-Anthony Bulls could win the NBA championship this year, the prospect of the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Miami Heat doing likewise are just as modest. These teams would need some time to settle in -- at which point they could both be beasts.
Bet Melo's thinking about that, whether he admits it or not.