Carmelo Anthony, Toyota Center

The round of meetings has ended for Carmelo Anthony: Nine hours with the Chicago Bulls, six with the Houston Rockets and only two with the Dallas Mavericks. Things might be a bit clearer after this, but not enough, as the option of staying with the New York Knicks or even suddenly taking a turn towards the Los Angeles Lakers are still possible scenarios.

There’s no doubt the Bulls sent the most firepower at the whole recruiting ‘Melo thing. Rose, Thibs, Paxson, Pippen, Gibson, Noah. Dinner and a show. Practice. Touring. Anthony has always been most enchanter with the option of the Bulls, although some sources suggest it hasn’t been enough to convince him that it’s a better place than New York, but those are nothing more than rumors.

The Rockets sent the tandem of Dwight Howard and James Harden at him. They also need to make some trades in order to get Anthony there, with the option of sending Jeremy Lin to the Philadelphia 76ers being the most likely at the moment for them. If it’s coaching that is a part of the equation, the Rockets offer the weakest one of the trio, as both Tom Thibodeau and Rick Carlisle are guys who probably have a much better sense of what to do with him.

Seducing Melo

The Mavericks? They were always going to be outsiders in this. Mark Cuban has said a number of times he isn’t planning on giving anyone a max contract. The Mavs always lose when it comes to big name free agents, and their meeting only took two hours. There wasn’t much to sell. ‘You either like us or you don’t’ more or less. They also, at the moment, have less of a championship prospect compared to the Rockets and the Bulls, although not by much.

An interesting option has come from Los Angeles – Rumor has it Kobe Bryant is trying to convince both Anthony and LeBron James to create a big three over there. On paper, it sounds great. But with James looking to make maximum money and Bryant already making $24 million, that doesn’t leave a whole lot for Anthony and retooling the team with good enough players. If the Heat taught us anything in these playoffs, is that having a big three isn’t enough. It’s just as important to have a good enough supporting cast.

The Knicks keep waiting. They don’t have anything specific to sell to Anthony. Just a promise that things will be OK this season, and get even better in the future, as long as he signs. It’ll be his team, unlike the other options he has in front of him, which will be about sharing the “throne”. Once again, it’ll come down to how badly he wants a title, how much he wants to make, and how badly he cares about taking most of the credit.

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