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Rajon Rondo says Carmelo Anthony might be ‘missing piece’ for Bulls; Celtics also in the mix

Jun 21, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics New York Knicks v Boston Celtics

Carmelo Anthony is expected to opt out and pursue free agency this summer, and he’s the one player who’s believed to be the most available for another team to scoop up.

LeBron James may do the same, of course, but his leaving Miami remains a long shot. And Kevin Love can be had for the right offer in trade, but he won’t be a free agent until the 2015 season has finished.

That leaves Anthony as the marquee free agent, especially if opting out does in fact mean that he’s made a decision to play somewhere else.

Chicago would seem to be the frontrunner for his services, and Rajon Rondo believes that the addition of Anthony would immediately propel the Bulls into the championship conversation.

“I hate to say it, but he just might be [the missing piece],’’ Rondo said on ESPN’s Numbers Never Lie, via Basketball Insiders. “[The Bulls] have a great center in Joakim Noah who holds down the paint and one of the best pick-and-roll defenders in our league. And with Derrick Rose coming back, you have a Big Three in Chicago. Melo could be the missing piece, but if he does a move like that, we’ll have to figure out something in Boston.’’

Later in the interview, Rondo discussed his own team’s pursuit of free agents, and Anthony’s name was one he included in the discussion.

“You never know what Danny [Ainge] is capable of doing,” Rondo said. “I can’t tell you too much. We want to be contenders as well next year. We don’t plan on being down for too long. I think Danny has a lot of wiggle room with what he’s been able to do the past couple of years in the draft. So I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen. Hopefully [Carmelo Anthony] doesn’t go to Chicago.”

“I think after we try to get ‘Melo and add an additional piece, then who knows? The sky’s the limit,” Rondo added. “I play to try to win a championship every year. With ‘Melo, I think it’s very possible.”

The Celtics have plenty of draft picks to entice teams to make a deal, and also have assets like young, inexpensive talent and expiring contracts that could be of interest, depending on their trade partner’s priorities.

Anthony signing in Boston doesn’t seem likely, however, given how far away the Celtics are from competing for a title; he isn’t going to leave in the neighborhood of $30 million on the table in New York just for the sake of changing scenery. It has to be a situation where the team he goes to is immediately capable of contending for the championship — someplace like Chicago, for example.

  1. kb2408 - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    I like Rajon’s moxie and I really like him as a player but he will not be playing alongside Melo…unless they team up somewhere else. Melo ain’t going to Boston. It’s Chicago, N.Y. or Houston, in no particular order. As a basketball fan I’d love to see him go to Chicago. It’s almost a perfect situation. Playing for Thibbs, and with Rose/Noah, will help Melo’s game reach another level.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:11 PM

      There may be too many question marks about the Bulls franchise for Melo. There are issues like frugal spending, loyalty to retired greats (per Wade), Thibs player management, Thibs commitment to the franchise and Rose’s knees.

      So there is the potential for Melo to join, Rose to never be the same, and Thibs to bolt… then what would Anthony be left with? Back to square one in his 30s.

      • philtration - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        You believe in too many comments from those that have no idea as to what they are talking about.
        The Bulls are NOT cheap.
        The Bulls probably hire more of their own former players than any other team in the league.
        Thibs just signed a 4 year extension.

        They are a much better run team than the Knicks and have been for decades.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:52 PM

        Well of course there is reality and there is perception and perception is often the more influential of the two. The perception of Chicago being cheap is definitely out there.

  2. cluelessdufus - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Melo isn’t the “missing piece” we need a healthy Rose who at least is 80% back to normal. We also need bench depth and a solid offensive system.

    • kb2408 - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Even with a healthy Rose the Bulls couldn’t beat Miami, so I beg to differ, they need Melo.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Melo is a cancer…

        Whatever team gets him won’t win a title…

        He’s consistent that way… 0 for 11 and counting…

      • hannsta - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:46 AM

        There are a lot of players that are 0 for ____… doesnt say much about the player.

    • philtration - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      The Bulls biggest need is scoring.
      How does Melo NOT fit that whole?

  3. loubearkane - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Wouldn’t mind Rondo and Melo on the Bulls with Rose playing more off the ball.

    • cfos00 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      In an ideal world without a salary cap, yeah that would be great. But in this era, there’s zero chance. Plus it’s been floated out there for years that they really, really dislike each other personally (Rose and Rondo).

    • chicitybulls - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:05 PM

      I like where you’re going with that but that would be a smaaaaall back court. Reminds me of back when Illinois had Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head. I don’t think that’ll work in the league though. Interesting thought though.

  4. jazz11001 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    What is sad is that the league is allowing players to operate a role as a defacto agency within a league. So the power agent team of Lebron Bosh and Wade negotiate as a super PAC to sway players outside of their representation to join what is now essentially “team James” not the Miami Heat. Waaay too much power as an employee.How long now until there is an employee owned League?

    • mcmystery76 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      So the owners should be able to do what they want with the players like they’re pawns on a chessboard? Players disagree with the restrictions imposed by a salary cap, which artificially keeps their wagers lower, and which makes it nearly impossible to put together a true contender. If a player can’t get paid and chase rings, they’re going to do one or the other. Players should have the freedom to choose their place of employment just like anyone else. The league had always skewed power towards the owners, and we’re starting to see more balance of power with the players realizing they can call the shots. The more power to them.

    • jerze2387 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:53 PM

      I think its refreshing to see players want to play as a TEAM and win titles as opposed to going wherever the biggest payckeck is

    • martyks55 - Jun 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      For the life of me, I can’t figure out why that would be bad. Jack Nicolson only opts to act in movies of his choice and no one is around to say, “Wow, it’s a shame MGM can’t step in and make him do another flick than this one.” If the players do not have the power, old white guys with old white attitudes control the world of the NBA. And for you, that’s a good thing? Huh?

      • 1historian - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:51 AM

        jump to unwarranted conclusions much?

  5. kingperk123 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    If melo does leave the Knicks to be a Celtic that would be crazy.but the Celtics have to trade to get look at the players who are not stars that are free agents like Spencer haws and Deng those guys could. Be players the Celtics need but only if they trade Kelly and sully or who ever I’m just saying look at other. People besides the super stars

  6. mungman69 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    If Melo goes to Chi Town and this Magic trade goes down and Rose is ok and, and, and…..
    The Bulls would be able to score (unlike last season) but I’m concerned with their lack of depth. There will be a lot of minimum wages on that bench.

  7. djshnooks - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Like I’ve said time and time again…Carmelo was a Celtics fan growing up. There is a picture out there of him in a Celtics jersey, sitting with their trophies, from before he got drafted. He used to talk about the Celtics while he was at Syracuse, which is where I live and have met people who knew him…and they can confirm he’s a Celtics fan, or was I should say, as I doubt he’s a “fan” of any team.

    It would be interesting, my favorite player going to my favorite team…but it’s as much as longshot as Lebron leaving Miami.

    I don’t expect it…but it’s worth sharing here.

    • 1historian - Jun 23, 2014 at 7:55 AM

      This is the last few days before the best draft in years, with the rumors flying here and there and new ones available at the whim of any ‘writer’ who wants to be printed, and then we’ve got free agency, and there is just no end of the intrigue this week and next month and old farts like me just love to sit at the computer and read this stuff so just fire away.

      I am a Celtics’ fan

  8. j0esixpack - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    That’s an interview worth watching. Although Rondo may still need to keep his cool on the court he’s matured nicely and has a lot of insights into the game.

    He even avoided a tampering fine when asked about Kevin Love. His coy answers noting that Ainge has a LOT of options and flexibility is telling

    But since much is out if Ainge’s control – I.e Love may be traded elsewhere – and one doesn’t know who may drop in the draft, To do must also know that HE could be traded too if things don’t pan out (so who knows – maybe Rondo and Melo will be on the same team after all!)

  9. JT - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Melo would be a great piece for the Bulls all they are missing is a pure scorer, can’t just play defense in the playoffs without getting buckets…

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