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Free agent dominoes start to fall as James' decision changes East's landscape

When the news hit Friday afternoon that LeBron James would be headed back home to Cleveland to re-join the franchise that selected him number one overall in 2003, it put the free agency weight firmly on Carmelo Anthony.

Now that James is back in the Central Division and the hold the Miami Heat have had on the Eastern Conference the past four seasons is over, Anthony now must choose to head back to a rebuilding Knicks team, albeit a more lucrative financial offer, or head to the midwest for a chance to compete against James for what seems to be a wide open Eastern Conference.

Anthony had yet to make a decision after James' decision was announced via an essay penned by Sports Illustrated.

ESPN reported that Anthony's decision now comes down to New York and Chicago, with the Los Angeles Lakers being removed from consideration. Both the Lakers and Bulls have yet to be told formally that they're out of the running for Anthony's services.

With Miami's Big Three being split up, it was reported that the Bulls had reached out to Dwyane Wade to register the three-time champion's interest in returning home, but it appears Wade will continue on playing for the only organization he's known during his professional career. Bosh agreed to a five-year, $118 million deal to stay with Wade in Miami.

Anthony joining the Bulls would make them the clear favorites in a new revamped Eastern Conference. James joining the Cavaliers greatly improves their team with being paired with Kyrie Irving and a host of young pieces, including Andrew Wiggins, who was the first pick in this year's draft, although it's uncertain if he won't be packaged in a deal as the Cavaliers are reported to be trying to acquire Minnesota's Kevin Love.

The Bulls are also still in the hunt for Pau Gasol, in case Anthony opts to return to New York. Gasol reportedly turned down a two-year, $10 million plus deal to return to the Lakers. He tweeted earlier in the day that he would be making his decision soon.

Whatever decision Anthony makes, the Bulls still have to make a decision on Carlos Boozer.

In pursuit of trying to secure a max offer for Bosh along with matching the Dallas Mavericks offer to Chandler Parsons, the Rockets traded Jeremy Lin and a first-round pick to the Lakers.

The deal hurts the Bulls chances at shedding the $16.8 million Boozer is owed this season in a sign and trade for Gasol, which is still dependent on Anthony's decision.

With all the hoopla the past couple of weeks, the dominoes finally begin to fall on Friday.

The hopes of the Bulls title chances now rest on Anthony to now choose his course.