Report: Carmelo will meet with Bulls once free agency begins

Report: Carmelo will meet with Bulls once free agency begins
June 25, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Mark Strotman

According to a tweet from Chris Broussard, Carmelo Anthony indeed will meet with the Chicago Bulls once the free-agent signing period begins July 1.

It's not unexpected news, as the Bulls have been linked to Anthony for quite some time, but it is notable. Anthoy opted out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks last week, making him an unrestricted free agent. He'll have more suitors than the three teams Broussard reported, as the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat and the Knicks are expected to make a run at the seven-time All-Star.

Still, the Bulls are considered one of the front runners for Anthony, who reportedly has already begun inquiring about the Bulls and city of Chicago, which included asking a "high-profile person who lives in Chicago" what it's like to be famous in the Windy City.

[RELATED: How the Bulls could sign Carmelo Anthony]

There are still hurdles most teams in the hunt for Anthony to get over in terms of clearing enough cap space to sign the hottest free agent not named LeBron James. For the Bulls, that likely would require moving Taj Gibson, while the Rockets would need to shed the contracts of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. The Heat are in limbo as they await the decisions of Dwyane Wade and Chris Both, both of whom can opt out of their current contracts as James did earlier in the week, while the Lakers would likely need to dump Steve Nash's remaining $9.7 million salary, which they could do in a trade by pairing their No. 6 pick in tomorrow's draft.

In terms of money, the Knicks are clear front runners. They can offer Anthony a maximum contract worth $125 million over five years, while the other 29 teams in the league would be restricted to offering a four-year, $90 million contract at most. Anthony said in an interview made public shortly after he opted out that his decision will be about more than money and/or championship potential, noting that as a family man he's taking into consideration where his family would live and how moving cities could disrupt that; his wife and 7-year-old son are reportedly happy in New York.

With five days until Anthony can meet with teams, there's really no substance to any reports indicating that Anthony is leaning one way or another. Those interviews with teams' upper management and coaching staffs likely will make the difference on where Anthony lines up, so as of now nothing has really changed on the free-agent landscape.

The Bulls also are reportedly in the mix for Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who has made known his desire to be traded before he becomes a free agent next year. The Bulls reportedly made an offer to the Timberwolves, and while it's not as strong a package as the Warriors are contemplating giving up for Love, the Bulls do have two first-round picks in tomorrow's draft that could be enticing for a Minnesota franchise that would essentially go into rebuilding mode by dealing the 25-year-old, three-time All-Star.