Is Carmelo Anthony recruita-Bull?
ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that Chicago center Joakim Noah tried to sell Carmelo on the idea of joining the Bulls in free agency, citing a source with knowledge of the conversation.
Broussard reports that Noah told Anthony over All-Star weekend, "Look, you could go to Los Angeles but ... if you want to win a ring, come to Chicago."
Anthony didn't offer any guarantees, Broussard reports.
But he did say that he admires how "hard" Noah and the Bulls play and how "hungry" they are. Anthony also added that Derrick Rose is his son's favorite player. Read into that what you will.
Any conversation Noah had with Anthony about coming to Chicago would, of course, be against NBA rules.
NBA players aren't permitted to recruit any other player under contract to play for their team. Though, it should be noted, that any violation of the tampering rule is extremely hard to prove.
Either way, Chicago is one of the most logical destinations for Anthony if he chooses to leave New York in free agency this summer.
The Bulls would have to cut a significant amount from their payroll to have enough salary-cap space to afford Anthony. They could also land Anthony in a sign-and-trade involving Carlos Boozer's expiring contract.
To create enough space to sign Anthony to anything close to a max contract, the Bulls would have to amnesty Boozer, then trade either Taj Gibson or Noah to a team that could absorb the salary.
Gibson is more likely to be moved if the Bulls were forced to choose between the two bigs. But the feeling from those who cover the Bulls regularly is that it's a long shot at best that the Bulls will clear enough space to land Anthony.
So Anthony would either have to agree to sign a contract worth less than max money or work out a sign-and-trade to land in Chicago.
For what it's worth, Anthony has said that his first priority is to re-sign with the Knicks, who can offer him a max contract worth $33 million more and one year longer than any other team.
But he's also said he'd be willing to take less money from the Knicks or another team if it meant allowing them to attract other free agents.
The Bulls, with Rose, Noah and coach Tom Thibodeau, would have a nucleus in place to compete for a title.
The Knicks don't currently have the pieces in place to contend. Their hope is to rebuild in the summer of 2015 and surround Anthony with enough talent to make a run in the 2015-16 season.
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