The Bulls didn’t spare any limit in trying to assure Carmelo Anthony that he is their top priority in free agency and that, in accepting less money than he could make in New York, Chicago is the city in which his championship aspirations can be met.
With his image and nickname, “Melo,” featured on electronic signage around the United Center, Anthony made his way to the United Center near 1 p.m. with Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau being present in the van that carried Anthony along with his agent, Leon Rose and business manager Bay Frazier.
Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose were just some of the players who joined in on the pitch from Bulls’ brass about the All-Star small forward being a critical piece on a roster that’s playoff-tested and ready to contend, sources tell Examiner.com. Anthony was shown how he would be featured in the offense, but the most important issue remains if the Bulls can free up enough salary-cap space to get Anthony close to the max contract the New York Knicks can offer.
In other words, the Bulls had to go all out to make the All-Star give serious consideration to coming to the Midwest.
The Bulls then had a lengthy dinner at a downtown hotel, which Gibson and Noah also dined with Bulls' Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Scottie Pippen, according to the Tribune.
Unlike in the summer of 2010, when the Bulls cleared cap space to try and persuade the likes LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to join an up-and-coming contender, Anthony has been the sole focal point of the team’s interest.
This was Anthony’s first taste of free agency in his 11-year career and the Bulls were the first team given the chance to court him. The Bulls also gave him a guided tour of the new practice facility (the Advocate Center) that’s set to open before the start of training camp.
Anthony will head to Dallas on Wednesday where he is expected to meet with the Mavericks and Houston Rockets, before concluding his tour in Los Angeles, where he is expected to hear from the Lakers.
According the Yahoo Sports, Anthony isn’t expected to prolong his decision on where he will play next season and could make an announcement next week.