Though Phil Jackson met with Carmelo Anthony this past week over dinner to discuss his free agency and some of the Knicks’ offseason plans, he isn’t the only one who has the star’s ear.
According to a report, Bulls’ center Joakim Noah has remained in touch with Carmelo Anthony all throughout the season and playoffs, following the former’s informal recruiting pitch to the latter during NBA All-Star Weekend.
As big men such as the Knicks’ Tyson Chandler and the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert have each faded into the background a bit this year, Noah emerged as the best center in all of the NBA. On defense, he’s a swarming physical specimen who can crash the boards effectively. On offense, he’s the most unlikely of facilitators with the ball, always looking to get his teammates involved.
But more than anything else, Noah is a leader. With Derrick Rose sidelined for much of this past season, and Luol Deng getting dealt to the Cavaliers, the 29 year old stepped up in a big way to lead Chicago. It would have been easy for other stars to fall back and let things fall into place (for better or for worse), but Noah emerged as the man with the plan to help the Bulls put up quite the fight this past season.
And while Chicago did lose to Washington in the first round of the playoffs, they still stand as a contender moving forward. They’re often that thorn in the side of opposing teams. After all, Noah and co. have had Anthony and the Knicks’ number for the past two seasons. New York appears helpless every time they matchup against the Bulls, unable to find a way to keep up.
Of course, that’s something that has to be in the back of Anthony’s mind. The Bulls would have to make necessary sacrifices to acquire the Knicks’ resident star, but there’s no doubt Anthony and Noah would make a formidable duo. What’s more, Anthony and Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau are already fond of one another.
Though the Knicks have a chance to hire a coach like him, the Brooklyn native’s admiration for Thibodeau could come back to haunt them if New York hires Steve Kerr as widely expected.
After watching the Knicks put forth quite the lackadaisical effort much throughout the season until it was too late, Anthony undoubtedly has to be intrigued by the type of fight the Bulls have. The fire that burns within that group is refreshing and sometimes inspiring.
Perhaps Anthony happens to agree, especially if he’s entertaining such feedback from Noah.