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Carmelo Anthony-to-Bulls rumor won’t go away; Knicks win

Updated: April 13, 2014 11:04PM

NEW YORK — The rumor that won’t go away was rekindled in Manhattan over the weekend: Carmelo Anthony to the Bulls this summer regained a pulse.

It recently was reported that Anthony approached an unnamed former Bull to ask what it was like to play for coach Tom Thibodeau. On Friday, he was asked by reporters about the Bulls and their ability to win games without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng.

According to the Daily News, Anthony said, “I have no clue. Thibs is a great coach. His system kind of reminds me of Gregg Popovich’s system. You put anybody in that system, and it’s going to work. They’ve had guys sitting out all season long, guys that have been in and out of the lineup, and they seem to get it done.’’

Well, “that system’’ didn’t get it done Sunday. Anthony and the Knicks beat the Bulls 100-89 at Madison Square Garden, snapping a seven-game winning streak for the Bulls (47-33) and dropping them back to the No. 4 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs because the Raptors (47-33) own the tiebreaker.

But the rumors about Anthony, who could opt out of his contract this offseason, continued to follow the Bulls.

Thibodeau was asked about Anthony complimenting his system, and he did his best recruiting job without actually recruiting, crediting the players that Anthony could play alongside if he made the decision to take significantly less money and join the Bulls.

“Well, we have a good core that’s been here for a while now, so when new guys come in, the guys that have been here help move those guys along quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The most important thing is the winning. I think you have to win.’’

Staying with a 35-45 Knicks team that won’t start rebuilding until 2015 isn’t winning.

If Anthony does return, it will likely be for a new coach. Mike Woodson sounded like his fate was sealed.

“I mean, you can point the fingers in a lot of directions,’’ Woodson said. “And I’m not going to sit here and air that out. I mean, I’m the coach, and I didn’t get it done.’’

Bulls center Joakim Noah also felt unfulfilled Sunday, but for different reasons. He was an assist away from his fifth triple-double this season, but his disappointment came because the Bulls lost a key game.

“Our mind-set wasn’t really good,’’ said Noah, who had 13 points and 17 rebounds. “It should have been better. We had a golden opportunity. We let a big game slip away. It was probably the biggest game of the season.

“We’re trying to be the best that we can be. A team that’s playing for nothing . . . we’re playing for something big, and we didn’t have the right mind-set. For 48 minutes, we didn’t play with the edge that we’re supposed to in a game this important.’’

The Bulls host the Magic on Monday, then play the Bobcats on the road Wednesday in the last game of the regular season.

“You look at how hard we play,’’ backup big man Taj Gibson said. “We push hard all the time. Things like this are going to happen.’’


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