NBA Free Agency: Bulls Show Experience In Carmelo Anthony Pitch

By Erik Lambert

Dec 11, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson (22) defends against New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) in the second half of NBA game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago said from the very beginning that their intentions were to get Carmelo Anthony in NBA free agency.  Have they applied past lessons to their pitch?

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade whiffs taught Bulls a lot

Many Chicago Bulls fans still have a vivid memory of what transpired in 2010.  Their team was up and coming and poised to reach championship contention.  They had plenty of cap space to go after a superstar and the NBA free agency market was rich with options including superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.  Unfortunately despite their efforts the pair ended up uniting in Miami and going on to the next four Finals, winning two championships.  It was a tough pill to swallow for Chicago, who has sat in playoff purgatory since then, forced to watch their own stars endure difficult injuries trying to keep the team competitive.  Most these days believe Wade and James always intended to join forces, though Wade has denied that.  Still, as the 2014 free agency period was set to open, fans were curious of the Bulls had learned any lessons from their misses that year.

Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson joined in to help lure Anthony

Based on news and reports hears out of Chicago even before free agency started, one would say yes.  The courting of Carmelo Anthony probably began back at the All-Star game when Bulls center Joakim Noah implored him to come to the Windy City.  As the season progressed head coach Tom Thibodeau, who is friends with Anthony’s agent, placed calls to other coaches and people close to Melo, trying to gauge what would interest him the most in regards to a possible deal.  So by the time the Bulls were actually allowed to talk openly with him at the start of NBA free agency, they already had planted the seed.

The next step was breaking out the red carpet.  That meant the works.  The team decorated the United Center with posters and banners showing Anthony in a Bulls uniform.  Coach Thibodeau actually was in the vehicle that picked Melo up from the airport.  Together they reviewed film, likely to discuss what the team can accomplish with him in the lineup and what Anthony would want to do.  However, the biggest shots came when Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson arrived to voice their support.  Rose was the bigger surprise, having said he has no interest in recruiting other players.  He carried with him an extra pair of shoes, likely to work out and show Anthony is surgically-repaired knee are 100% healthy.

There is still no guarantee the Chicago Bulls will land Carmelo Anthony when NBA free agency conclude.  Yet they can at least rest assured no team will take a better crack at him.