According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bulls are one step closer to Carmelo Anthony.
Wojnarowski reported Saturday afternoon that Anthony is leaning towards leaving the New York Knicks and that both the Bulls and Houston Rockets are considered frontrunners for the seven-time All-Star. Anthony met with Knicks brass -- including new head coach Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson -- to discuss the future of the franchise and how the team plans to build a winner around the 30-year-old forward.
According to the report the Bulls and Rockets are "working diligently" to re-work their rosters to find the salary cap space to acquire Anthony. For the Bulls that would mean using the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer -- something that's expected to happen anyways -- unloading Taj Gibson's remaining three-year, $25 million deal and one other player. Anthony will need to take a pay cut -- he's expected to opt out of his contract that would pay him $23 million next season -- to play in Chicago but has said he's willing to take less for a better shot at a championship.
The Rockets could use Anthony alongside center Dwight Howard and shooting guard James Harden to form their own version of a Big Three, though they'd first need to unload the contracts of Jeremy Lin and former Bulls center Omer Asik. As Wojnarowski noted, both Lin and Asik are in the final years of their contracts and could appeal to the Knicks in a sign-and-trade scenario. Once Lin and Asik are gone, the Rockets will have the ability to sign Anthony to a maximum contract, something the Bulls can not do.
Last week a report from ESPN surfaced that the Miami Heat were considering making a run at Anthony this offseason, though Heat center Chris Bosh said later that a "Big Four" was very unlikely.