It’s the outcome nobody wants to discuss, especially before free agency has even begun, but it is a scenario that needs to be addressed. What happens if the Chicago Bulls strike out in landing Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James (again) or fail to land Kevin Love in a trade? Then what?
With 2010 still very fresh in the fans’ minds, it’s hard not to think about what the Bulls’ fallback plan would look like. The Bulls courted the likes of James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others, and were left with scraps that ended up being Carlos Boozer as a consolation prize. Once again, the Bulls have positioned themselves to lure a superstar to Chicago.
All signs indicate mutual interest between the Bulls and Anthony, but what if the Bulls are used as leverage and a ploy for Anthony to end up elsewhere? For reasons unknown, players don’t want to come to Chicago — they never have. Sure, Anthony may really want to join forces with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and become a hero in a city that desperately wants his services, but it’s hard not to be cautiously optimistic when you have seen this story unfold too many times in the past.
All signs do seem to suggest Anthony wants to come to Chicago — like his affinity for Tom Thibodeau, and his public comments about the Bulls and Noah recruiting him. But then again, fans thought it was a slam dunk that one or more marquee free agents would come to Chicago in 2010. It’s all just one giant chess game amongst the NBA‘s biggest free agents. All the teams and their front offices are playing along in hopes of convincing them to come to their city.
If Anthony spurns the Bulls for the Houston Rockets or returns to the New York Knicks, James goes back to the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors end up trading for Love — the Bulls will once again be left picking up the pieces. Maybe Arron Afflalo is the fallback plan and they trade for him, then bring over Nikola Mirotic and fill out the roster.
It’d make a solid team, yes, but probably not enough to win a title. Other names out there are Lance Stephenson, Nick Young and Trevor Ariza, but that would be a complete letdown and disappointment.
It’s a scary thought, especially with the fans’ expectations and hopes set so high, but it is a distinct possibility that the Bulls get shut out again. Hopefully, the Bulls are not once again left at the altar with no superstar to show for.