There's no prize in free agency for coming in second place, but perhaps Bulls fans can appreciate that had Carmelo Anthony not re-signed with the Knicks earlier this month his next top choice was Chicago.
That's what he told ESPN's Jeff Goodman on Friday, admitting that his highly publicized free agency decision was "always Chicago or New York." Anthony also met with the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers during his week-long free agency tour before choosing the Knicks and the $124 million contract they offered.
Anthony said his decision did not come down to money, even though the Knicks were able to offer him the most money and the most years, while the Bulls' tight salary-cap situation prevented them from offering more than around $73 million over four years.
"I want to win. I don't care about the money," Anthony told ESPN.com. "I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that."
While Anthony's comments may seem head-scratching on the surface -- the Bulls won 48 games a year ago without Derrick Rose, while the Knicks missed the playoffs in a dismal Eastern Conference -- it's worth noting that the Knicks will have loads of cap space to work with next year, as well as a first-round draft choice they didn't have in 2014. With young potential in Cleanthony Early, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert combined with that cap space, the Knicks could be a contender before long, depending on how quickly first-year head coach Derek Fisher can adjust to the coaching ranks.
On Friday's edition of SportsTalk Live, David Kaplan had some choice words to say about Anthony and his apparent lack of care for the money.
"OK, you officially are an idiot. Why would you say that when you got $124 million?" Kaplan asked. "Does (Anthony) really think people are that stupid and they're gonna listen to that garbage?"
There were some differing opinions on the panel, so check out the debate in the video above and let us know if you believe Anthony when he says his decision wasn't about the dollar bills.