Anthony set for free agency this summer, Bulls reportedly an option.
According to ESPN reporter Chris Broussard, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah had a conversation with Carmelo Anthony during the All-Star break and attempted to convince him to join them next season.
Speculation continues to spread regarding Anthony’s future, with the 29-year-old previously hinting at the possibility of taking less money with the New York Knicks in order to allow them to build a competitive roster around him.
While that is still the scenario that many expect will come to fruition this summer, the link with Chicago is growing each day with the latest report suggesting that there could be discussions when the free agency market opens.
The Bulls have already traded Luol Deng and in turn waived Andrew Bynum in order to create some cap space and obtain draft picks, and it appears as though they could be heading for a pursuit of Anthony.
“Over All-Star weekend, I’m told by a person with knowledge of the conversation, that Joakim Noah recruited Carmelo,” Broussard said.
“Now, you’ll probably hear denials out of Chicago if they talk about it, because it would be tampering, officially.
“But I’m told that Joakim said to Melo, “Look, you can go to Los Angeles. But if you want to win a ring, if you want your legacy to be about winning, come to Chicago.”
“Melo, I’m told, said, “Look, I’ve been watching you guys. I admire how hard you play. I admire how hungry you are. Oh, and by the way, my son’s favourite player: Derrick Rose.”
While there is a potential threat that the NBA could now begin investigations over potential tampering, it is expected that the Bulls will not receive any disciplinary action as it can be argued that Noah was merely talking on his own, regardless of whether or not that is true.
Nevertheless, the biggest obstacle that they will face this summer is how to create the space in order to land Melo, with many already expecting them to use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer.
While that would allow them to offer Anthony a deal in the region of $15m per year, it is unclear as to whether or not that would be enough to entice him away from New York, where he could conceivable receive around $22.4m in his first year on a max deal.
However, the Bulls also have the option of trading either Mike Dunleavy or Taj Gibson to afford themselves more money for Anthony, which could help negotiations along but would cut into their depth on the roster.
We are still no closer to finding out where Anthony intends on playing basketball next season and Broussard’s claims have of course not been officially confirmed, but it appears as though the Bulls could be emerging as a genuine contender for his services.