The big Carmelo Anthony free agency tour has began, starting off with the Chicago Bulls, who eventually did get Derrick Rose to join in on the pitch in an attempt to convince the All-Star to choose them. The New York Knicks are hoping that after Anthony meets with the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets, he’ll make a decision to stay where he has been for the last three and a bit seasons.
So what did the Bulls do to make Anthony convinced that they’re the team to choose, despite their inability to offer him a max deal? Showing him a big banner of him in Bulls uniform, and with the Larry O’Brien trophy. You know, the future, what might be. Derrick Rose met with him. Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah were there as well. Scottie Pippen came to say a few words, along with John Paxson, Gar Forman and also head coach Tom Thibodeau. Pretty much everything the Bulls had to throw at him, they did.
Anthony is now off to meet with the Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs can offer him a max deal right now. The Rockets, like the Bulls, can promise him a better chance of contending, but also less money, unless they make some moves with their players, namely Jeremy Lin, although that might also cost them Chandler Parsons for a team that is unwilling to simply take Lin and his contract alone.
There’s been talk of a sign and trade deal with the New York Knicks, but as far as we know, the Knicks are unwilling to agree to anything that means getting Carlos Boozer, no matter who comes along with him, in return. The Bulls are trying to hold off the amnesty decision on Boozer, hoping they find some trading partner for him.
It’s hard to say what the priorities are for Anthony at the moment, but rumors keep pushing towards one thing: If there’s one team he’d really like to play for, it’s the Chicago Bulls. The New York Knicks? He’d love to stay in New York, but playing for the Knicks is probably the downside of that equation. There is still plenty of optimism in their front office that in the end, Anthony will stay with them.
The Lakers are also in the picture, with Kobe Bryant allegedly recruiting Anthony via the phone. The Lakers, like the Phoenix Suns for example, have cap space to make more than just a max-contract signing. However, due to them being a low priority for all the big players in the free agency market, looking a bit more of a realistic destination for second-tier players, it doesn’t seem like their calls to be taken seriously are getting through to anyone.
Anthony, like James and maybe others, might be facing pressure from the NBPA to take the maximum contract salary. The players association is fearing that players willing to take pay cuts in order to improve their chances of playing on teams they want and next to players they want will hurt their chances of getting more leverage for the next round of negotiations with the league and team owners before the 2016-2017 season.