Carmelo-to-Bulls rumors don’t distract Thibs’ guys
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter January 25, 2014 9:46PM
Updated: February 27, 2014 6:57AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Another day, another rumor.
The latest is the Bulls being a serious contender to land forward Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony is rumored to be opting out of his deal with the Knicks, and the growing speculation is that he wants to play for coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls won’t let the rumors distract them.
“They’ve gotten used to you guys,’’ Thibodeau said sarcastically on Saturday. “It’s really the challenge of the league.
‘‘When you lay out your plan at the beginning of the season, you talk about all the things that crop up during a season. There are always injuries, trades, things going your way, things not going your way, the schedule, early games, late games, back-to-back games. There’s all that stuff.
“It’s very easy to get distracted. If you want to look for an excuse to get distracted, you can find one every day.
‘‘The important thing is to build the right habits, so you can be ready to play each night. I think the good teams do that. That’s the challenge for every team.’’
Adding Anthony isn’t impossible, but the Bulls would have to be willing to go back over the luxury-tax threshold they just escaped in trading Luol Deng, and Carlos Boozer would have to be an amnesty victim this summer.
Outbidding Real Madrid to get forward Nikola Mirotic , who’ll turn 23 in February, this summer is still a high priority, but adding Anthony on top of that signifies that ownership is willing to take some serious luxury-tax hits down the road.
Bobcats coach Steve Clifford had an up-close view of how good Anthony can be after he scored a franchise-record 62 points Friday against Charlotte at Madison Square Garden.
“Listen, he was great obviously, and going forward, with him at [power forward], they are, I mean I don’t know if they’re Portland, but they’re going to be a tough team to defend,’’ Clifford said. “He was on it, and everything went his way.’’
Kirk Hinrich (right hamstring) and Derrick Rose (right knee) stayed in Chicago, with each doing his rehab at the Berto Center.
Both were expected to make the West Coast trip this week, and Hinrich hopefully was going to be available to return.