<
>

Source: Dwight 'badly' wants Melo

7/2/2014

The Chicago Bulls got the first visit with free agent Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday. But the New York Knicks expect to get the last.

The Knicks expect to meet with Anthony after he concludes visits with the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers this week, sources say.

The date and location of the Knicks meeting are unclear at this point.

Up next for Anthony is a meeting with the Rockets, which will take place on Wednesday morning.

Rockets stars Dwight Howard and James Harden are going to attend the Rockets’ meeting with Anthony, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

Howard, according to sources, is eager to pitch Anthony on the Rockets. Sources say Howard was trying to track down Anthony’s cell phone number to contact him directly to make a pitch over the phone. It is unclear if the two connected, but Howard is believed to be enamored with the idea of playing alongside Anthony.

“He really wants to sell him on Houston,” a source with knowledge of Howard’s thinking said. “He wants Carmelo there badly.”

Both the Rockets and Bulls don’t have the requisite cap space to sign Anthony to a maximum contract. Both teams would need to either shed significant salary to land Anthony or obtain him via sign-and-trade.

It is unclear at this point if Phil Jackson and the Knicks would agree to a sign-and-trade. Doing so would give them compensation for Anthony leaving but would also make Anthony’s path out of New York an easier one. ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported late Tuesday that the Knicks would not engage in a sign-and-trade with Chicago involving Carlos Boozer.

The Knicks can offer Anthony a maximum contract of $129 million over five years. Other suitors, such as Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles, can offer Anthony a max contract worth $96 million over four years.

The Mavericks will have the requisite cap space to offer Anthony a max contract, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban has said that he doesn’t plan to offer Anthony a max deal. The Bulls and Rockets, as discussed above, would need to clear significant salary in order to have enough room to give Anthony a maximum contract.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.