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Anthony stays in New York, but Bulls land Gasol

Carmelo Anthony had been the Bulls' top target this summer in free agency and Anthony gave them nine hours two weeks ago to wine and dine him while discussing why coming to Chicago would give him the best chances at contending for a title immediately.

LeBron James' decision to head back home to Cleveland broke up the Big Three in Miami and a close was brought to their four-year reign over the Eastern Conference.

The move gave Anthony some pause as joining the Bulls, albeit for far less money, would place them as the favorites to take over in the East.

Anthony choose to stay in New York as the Bulls and Houston Rockets were notified on Saturday that the All-Star small forward will be staying put.

All was not lost for the Bulls as they did manage to finalize an agreement with Pau Gasol, who they had made sure to let know how much they valued him as management flew to Los Angeles the same week after hosting Anthony in Chicago.

Gasol tweeted: "It hasn't been easy. After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career."

The Bulls tried diligently to acquire Gasol in a sign-and-trade, even involving a third team in trying to move Carlos Boozer and the remaining $16.8 he is owed, but were unable to accomplish it.

The Bulls have until July 16 to use the amnesty provision on Boozer, but would like to engage a team in a sign-and-trade deal.

They will also try and clear enough room to sign 2011 first-round draft pick Nikola Mirotic, who reached a buyout agreement with his Spanish team last week. They are also in talks with Kirk Hinrich as Charlotte is aggressively pursuing the veteran point guard.

Gasol had longed been admired by the Bulls over the years. The Spaniard averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds.