Derrick Rose helps recruit Melo
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls pulled out all the stops in the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony on the opening day of NBA free agency Tuesday, including the participation of Derrick Rose, who previously said he would not be part of a sales pitch to any free agent.
Rose declined comment as he left the United Center on Tuesday afternoon. A source termed the meetings, which included appearances from Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Rose, as "good." It's unclear how much each player spoke.
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Rose has long maintained a reluctance to recruit free agents to play with him in Chicago and told Yahoo! Sports on Sunday that, while praising Anthony, it's not his job to sell players on the Bulls. However, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday that every player would be available to meet with free agents if needed.
Anthony rode with Thibodeau to the United Center, and when Anthony arrived at the Bulls' home, he was greeted by a picture of himself in a Bulls uniform wearing his No. 7. The marquee in the front of the stadium showed him as a Bull with the Larry O'Brien trophy as the organization clearly tries to appeal to his stated desire to win, possibly even taking less money to do so.
The Knicks are the only team that can offer Anthony a max contract worth $129 million over five years, but it's uncertain whether the Knicks will offer him a maximum contract. Other teams can offer Anthony a max deal of $96 million over four years, but he would have to take less than that to sign with the Bulls.
The meeting ended with Anthony being given a tour of the Bulls' new practice facility near the United Center by team personnel. Later, Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen joined Thibodeau, general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president John Paxson along with several other members of the organization as the pitch to Anthony continued into the night at a downtown hotel.
Bulls officials remain optimistic regarding the pitch and remain hopeful the All-Star forward will ultimately sign with them.
The Dallas Mavericks, as ESPN.com reported last week, will entertain Anthony in Dallas on Wednesday afternoon after his morning visit with the Houston Rockets. He is scheduled to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in L.A.
The Knicks, meanwhile, expect to meet with Anthony after he concludes his visits with the Mavericks, Rockets and Lakers, sources told ESPNNewYork.com.
The date and location of the Knicks meeting are unclear at this point.
ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley contributed to this report.