Report: Bulls will get first stab at Carmelo in free agency

Report: Bulls will get first stab at Carmelo in free agency
June 29, 2014, 9:00 pm
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Mark Strotman

The date is nearing, and more details continue to leak out.

And the latest report for when teams may begin speaking with free agents on July 1 is that the Bulls will get the first stab at courting Carmelo Anthony.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the seven-time All-Star who opted out of his contract with the Knicks will meet with the Bulls on Tuesday, followed by meetings with the Mavericks and Rockets on Wednesday. Stein also reports that Anthony is expected to have a face-to-face meeting with the Lakers next week.

Reports on Anthony's potential landing spot have varied to this point, with the Rockets and Bulls being listed as initial front runners to the Knicks becoming increasingly confident they will retain the 29-year-old. The Knicks are able to sign Anthony to a five-year deal worth around $130 million, while other teams will max out at a four-year deal worth $90 million. This gives the Bulls a handful of options to consider in their pursuit of Anthony, which CSN's Kevin Anderson outlined in-depth here.

Earlier in the month, after announcing he was opting out of New York, Anthony spoke to VICE Sports about what he was looking for in free agency, that it went deeper than money or his best chance to win a championship.

"The average person just sees (an) opportunity to say that, 'Oh, Melo should go here, Melo should go there; Melo should do this, Melo should do that.' But they don't take into consideration the family aspect of it," he said. "Your livelihood, where you're going to be living at. Do you want your kids growing up in that place and that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation, in that city? So all of that stuff comes into play."

[RELATED: Add Chandler Parsons to Bulls' FA wish list]

At that point there were reports that Anthony had inquired about the city of Chicago and the Bulls, asking a "high-profile person" from the Windy City about what it was like to live and have fame there.

Following Thursday night's draft in which the Bulls traded for Creighton's Doug McDermott and selected New Mexico's Cameron Bairstow, general manager Gar Forman said the Bulls' free agency plans were still intact and that they were going to be aggressive in improving the team's roster. Though he wasn't allowed to name players, it was clear who he was speaking of in his comments.

"It’s going to be a very fluid situation," Forman said in a joint press conference with Tom Thibodeau. "Obviously we’re going to evaluate all the different avenues that we have to try to make the team better. And I think we’re all very optimistic, no matter which way it goes, that when we come out of this July period that our team is going to be stronger than it was going in."

As to what the Bulls will be selling Anthony in Tuesday's reported meeting?

"What we’re always going to sell is obviously the great city of Chicago," he said, "our fan base, the culture that’s been created here, the success that we’ve had up to this point and the feeling we have we can continue to improve and continue to have great success moving forward. So we feel we’ve got a lot to sell.

"We feel confident in what we have as far as our organization, the culture that’s been created and the players that we have here now and I think players will be able to see that we’ve got an opportunity to build on that and build this into a championship-caliber team."

Added Tom Thibodeau, when asked how Derrick Rose's health will play into those selling points: "I think it’s not only Derrick – and Derrick’s doing great – but I think the thing that’ll make it attractive is the players that are along with Derrick. I think we have a good team, a great city, a great organization and we have a team that has depth."