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New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has admitted that the Chicago Bulls were a “perfect fit” for him but he didn’t want to leave New York behind.
In a documentary aired on Tuesday night on the MSG Network detailing his free agency journey this past summer, Anthony spoke about how close he was to joining the Bulls and why he chose not to move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 30-year-old ultimately decided to re-sign with the Knicks and inked a five-year deal worth $124m with the Bulls only capable of offering a four-year deal worth $74m unless they executed a sign-and-trade.
“It came down to Chicago and New York. Chicago was the one that, from day one, was something that I was very impressed with. They was looking for a person like me to come in and just take them to the next level,” Anthony said.
“So it was perfect. It was a perfect setup, perfect fit for me in Chicago. But then also I had to think about just living in Chicago. Do I want to live in Chicago? Do I want to take everything that I created in New York and move all of that? It came down to that.”
Melo visited the Bulls, Lakers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks during free agency but he went on to reveal just how impressed he was with Chicago in terms of their culture of winning and how serious they were about adding him to the roster as the missing link.
However, he revealed that he wasn’t keen on the idea of joining the Lakers despite the opportunity to play alongside Kobe Bryant, as ultimately he would have left one difficult situation for another and it would have taken a year at least for the franchise to be competitive.
“He goes to bed one night saying he wants to go to Chicago. He wakes up the next day saying New York. And then he’s stuck again,” said Bay Frazier, his longtime manager.
“That’s how he feels. He’s so loyal to New York, he wants to stay and become a champion there, which would blow everyone away.”
Meanwhile, Bulls center Joakim Noah insisted on Wednesday that he is no longer concerned about the idea of Anthony being in a Bulls uniform as he is now focused in on helping his current teammates fulfil their ambition of winning a championship.
After being snubbed by Anthony, Chicago brought in both Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic and they appear to be benefiting from the added depth with both men picking up double-doubles in Wednesday night’s win over the Charlotte Hornets.