The Chicago Bulls and Carmelo Anthony may have just placed a wrench in the hearts of New York Knicks fans. The team’s superstar forward has apparently been doing his homework on star life in the city of Chicago. According to an ESPN report, Anthony has “reached out to at least one high-profile person to who lives in Chicago.” The purpose of Anthony’s research was to examine what the life of a “famous” would consist of in Chicago.
The seven-time NBA All Star has until June 23 to decide if he wants to opt out of his current contract with the Knicks to become an unrestricted free agent. “Melo”, a Brooklyn native, has maintained he ultimately wants to stay in New York. However, the free agent to be has left the door open to be courted by other teams. At the beginning of last season, the former NBA scoring champ alluded to the fact that he would definitely love to experience free agency.
In his decade long career, Anthony has yet to enjoy the luxuries of being pursued by various teams with the freedom to go anywhere he desires. Anthony could have explored several different options, depending on what he chose to do Monday morning. However, sources and media outlets have already reported this afternoon that Melo has notified the Knicks in writing that he will opt out and became a free agent.
One option for Anthony after July 1 agent is ultimately re-signing with New York. The Knicks can offer Anthony a maximum contract of five years worth a total of around $130 million for five seasons, while other teams can offer him around $96 million for four seasons. Other teams reported to be interested in the high scoring forward’s services include the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.
The Chicago Bulls remain Anthony’s favorite destination team, according to reports from ESPN’s Mark Stein. Both Anthony and the Bulls have performed their “due diligence” in seeking a potential match. While Anthony was doing his homework on the Chicago Bulls, their coach was doing the same. According to a report published in the Chicago Sun Times,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau reached out to some of Anthony’s former coaches to inquire about the superstar forward. The combination of research from both parties enhance the speculation that there is a strong mutual interest from both Bulls camp and the perennial All Star.
In March, late season rumors surfaced that Anthony initiated a conversation with Bulls center Joakim Noah. The highly publicized forward inquired about Noah’s experienced in playing for Thibedeau, which later “turned into a recruiting pitch from Noah.” The Chicago Bulls can offer Anthony a high-profile coach with a proven track record in Thibedeau, along side a possibly healthy former MVP in Darrick Rose and an all-NBA player in Noah.
However, the New York Knicks believe they countered any potential Anthony suitors with the “power move” acquisition of Phil Jackson as their new team President. Jackson’s first major move as Knicks president was the firing of former Coach Mike Woodson and hiring of his former guard Derick Fisher. Earlier this week, Anthony stated that his meeting with Jackson went “great” and that he was on board with Jackson in his support of Fisher as the next Knicks head coach. The explosive scorer stated that he liked “what Phil is doing.”
Jackson’s pitch to Anthony appears to be centered on the future. Despite the fact that it would have taken a “monumental shift” for Anthony change to his mind, Jackson urged Melo to do so in hopes that team could sign another star in free agency during the summer of 2015. The homework done on the Bulls by Carmelo Anthony can only reaffirm suspicions that he may be departing to the “Windy City.” Jackson has stated that he will “move forward” regardless of Anthony’s decision. The Knicks are already over the salary cap without Melo’s contract for next season and without a draft pick for 2014. Unlike the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks are hoping Anthony is banking on more money now than a simple offer of a potential “rebuilding project” centered by Phil Jackson’s eleven championship rings.
Commentary by Brandon Wright