August 22, 2014
The recruitment of Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls took a hit on Friday, with ESPN reporting that former Bulls coaching legend Phil Jackson has met with the Knicks about the expected vacancy in New York after the season.
Anthony reportedly wants a stable front office to work with, and it doesn’t get more stable than Jackson and his 11 NBA Championships.
Then again, the recruitment of Anthony was called “gossip’’ numerous times by Joakim Noah at the morning shootaround anyway.
“What are you talking about? The gossip going on?’’ Noah said. “A lot of gossip right now, a lot of gossip. I feel it. I feel a lot of gossip. I think we all know that we’re in a good place, our team is in a good place. We’ve got a healthy group, it’s a healthy environment, and we’re not going to let gossip get in the way of what we’re doing. We’ve gone through so much this year, so it’s not going to be a little gossip that gets out there.
“You want me to address that? I don’t feel like addressing it. I really have nothing to say.’’
It was on Thursday that ESPN reported Noah had conversations with Anthony at the All-Star Game about opting out of his current deal and joining the Bulls in the offseason.
Asked if they were accurate, Noah replied, “Doesn’t matter. What does that have to do with our team now? It doesn’t matter.’’
Noah had a point.
Players talking to other players about switching teams is about as common as players talking about their shoe deals.
It happens frequently.
Ask Taj Gibson, who was recruited by LeBron James during the summer of 2012 while playing for the USA Select Team.
This is the new NBA, where players want to try and dictate rosters and take that out of the hands of ownership. And it works. Ask the Miami Heat, who have three-straight Finals appearances since coming together.
Noah was asked if he would be willing to play recruiter when free agency begins on July 1, especially since that’s a role Derrick Rose has wanted nothing to do with, and he replied, “July 1? July 1, really? We’re talking about July 1 right now? C’mon now. I understand you guys are doing your jobs, but I’ve got to do my job.’’
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had his own take on all the Anthony talk, especially with the idea that the Bulls were somehow tampering.
“No, because it’s a bunch of nonsense,’’ Thibodeau said. “People just start throwing stuff out there and they wait for everybody to respond to it. If you waste time on stuff like that, then you’re not thinking about [tonight’s game against] Memphis. So that’s all we’re thinking about. Think about Memphis.’’