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2014 Free Agency, Smack / Jun 22, 2014 / 6:53 pm

Report: Derrick Rose Sees Kevin Love As “More Of A Team Player” Than ‘Melo

Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love

Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes is unofficially upon us after multiple sources revealed Anthony will opt out of his final year with the Knicks and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Bulls are said to be the leading contenders for his services, but sources say former MVP Derrick Rose is hoping the Bulls land Kevin Love, instead.

With ‘Melo opting out, he’s on everyone’s radar, but it’s been revealed Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is excited enough about the prospect of adding ‘Melo’s scoring, he’s actively reaching out to him through back channels and asking former coaches about what makes him tick.

Chicago’s 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah has reportedly been selling ‘Melo on Chicago since back in February, so if ‘Melo is just using Chicago’s offer as a way to drive Knicks owner James Dolan to augment whatever number president Phil Jackson has put on the table, he’ll be crushed. One Bulls player — according to reports — would be elated, though, and that’s Derrick Rose. Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reports:

Noah will be disappointed if it turns out that Anthony uses the Bulls merely to get Dolan to up the Knicks’ offer. But one of his teammates won’t be crushed. Derrick Rose hasn’t called Anthony once and isn’t expected to do any recruiting when the Bulls make their run at the Knicks’ top scorer in free agency.

According to sources close to Kevin Love, Rose’s preference is for the Bulls to work out a deal as soon as possible for Minnesota’s All-Star forward because he sees Love as more of a team player than Anthony. Chicago is in the mix with Golden State for Love, with Boston and Denver considered long shots. If it makes any difference to Melo, Rose has no plans to recruit Love, who is free next summer, either. But the Bulls already know whom he’d really prefer to play with in the future.

Rose is on the record as saying he’ll never recruit free agents for the Bulls, but he appears to favor Love because he sees him as “more of a team player.” This refutes Joe Cowley’s sources for the Chicago Sun-Times from earlier this week when he wrote that Derrick Rose “has reportedly gotten involved” in the ‘Melo courtship.

The phrasing could mean a number of different things, including buying into a teams’ system, or selfless production where a player puts team goals above their own. It could also simply mean, ‘Melo won’t pass me the ball.’

Love, despite some recent criticisms he’s more interested in padding his own rebounding numbers over challenging an opposing shot, averaged more than 1.5 assists than ‘Melo in almost two minutes less per game during the 2013-14 season, per basketball-reference. He also assisted on a much larger percentage of his team’s buckets when he was on the floor than Anthony, despite a smaller usage percentage.

Love is also the master of the outlet pass.

Forgetting for a second a possible onus on rebounds over preventing an opponent’s basket, Love’s willingness to hit cutting teammates, despite a huge gap between his offensive capabilities and the rest of the ‘Wolves,* appears to align quite aptly with Rose’s differentiating criteria between the two stars.

This could all be moot. The Bulls’ duo of John Paxson and Gar Forman will make the decision to sign or trade for ‘Melo or Love if they think it makes them better. The addition of one or the other — barring a complete gutting of their current nucleus — would certainly do so. That’s all that will matter in the end.

*Minney’s offensive rating with Love on the court: 108.5; with Love sitting: 98.0. That’s the difference between a top-five offense, and the second-worst offense in the entire NBA last season.

(New York Daily News)

Does Rose really prefer Love over ‘Melo, and if he does, will it matter?

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  • SweetdickWilly

    While Carmelo does tend to dominate the ball, this does come across as the typical power struggle that can happen when a guard or guards catches feelings when a bigger player comes along who rightly should be accounted for in the offensive scheme. No matter which one they get, Derrick will have to live with them shooting too. As good as Derrick is, we’ve been hearing about how he needed help before the injuries but he has had guys who can score, like Loul Deng, Richard Hamilton, and Carlos Boozer. People have to account for Joakim Noah now too since he can give you at least 15-20 pts. Noah would have to carry Carmelo or Kevin since neither gives you consistent defense and Kevin’s worse than Melo.

  • 2cents

    I’m with Rose on this one. Coach T can help hide the defensive deficincies, but if a player doesn’t WANT to sacrifice for the the team, it won’t work in Chicago.

  • SweetdickWilly

    That’s true but this isn’t a normal situation. At this point, Chicago will likely be looking to have an insurance policy in place because Derrick’s been out so long and who’s able to be the focal point of the team should he go down again. I hope it doesn’t happen to him but Melo would probably be more of the Bulls’ priority than Kevin since he’s arguably the best scorer in the league and at least he’d be able to guard LeBron one on one and that’s one of the few instances when he appears to want to show up in that area. Kevin would likely be the better fit chemistry wise but again, he’ll need the ball to help them too.

  • 2cents

    Mmmmm, I know everyone is fawning over having Melo on the Bulls, but I just don’t see how he alone makes them an amazing team. I think they already have great players in Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson who can take over SF + PF. You got Noah in the middle and if Rose comes back healthy, then I would hope they can make a play for an All-Star caliber SG. You got team chemistry going, why mess it up with Melo or Love?