The Bulls are set to pitch unrestricted free agent forward Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday, and they have pulled out all the stops.
Viewed as one of Anthony's top suitors due to Chicago's big-market status, history of winning and strong core of players, the Bulls are looking to make the most out of their meeting. The Chicago Tribune reports that Derrick Rose will have a role in the Bulls' pitch to Anthony, even though the 2011 MVP point guard has generally removed himself from such matters. Joakim Noah, the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, was also part of Chicago's delegation.
Chicago has also put up some Anthony-centric signage at the United Center. On one videoboard, Anthony is depicted wearing a white Bulls No. 7 jersey alongside "Melo" in script letters. On another, Anthony's name appears alongside Chicago's famous Bulls logo.
The Bulls' recruiting pitch to Carmelo is already underway. This is the message on the side of the United Center. pic.twitter.com/7vsu4kCpuL— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) July 1, 2014
The 9-time All-Star small forward and 2013 scoring champ opted out of a $23.3 million option with the Knicks for next season. Anthony, 30, averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 2013-14, but the Knicks struggled to just 37 wins and missed the playoffs.
Anthony ranks No. 2 on SI.com's Top 25 Free Agents of 2014, trailing only Heat forward LeBron James. Among the superstars in this summer's free agency class, Anthony is viewed as the most likely to change teams. New York, however, has the ability to offer him a five-year contract whereas outside suitors can only offer him four-year deals.
To make a max-level offer to Anthony, Chicago would likely use its amnesty clause on power forward Carlos Boozer, who is set to make $16.8 million next season. Coach Tom Thibodeau and company would then have Rose, Anthony, Noah and Jimmy Butler in place as core pieces. If Rose is able to return to health from missing the majority of two seasons after multiple knee surgeries, Chicago would be viewed as one of the Eastern Conference's top contenders.