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Carmelo, here’s why Chicago is the place for you

Free agent Carmelo Anthony will be visiting Bulls Tuesday before he heads Texas. | Richard Drew/AP

Free agent Carmelo Anthony will be visiting the Bulls on Tuesday before he heads to Texas. | Richard Drew/AP

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Updated: August 2, 2014 6:26AM



Dear Melo,

Word on the street is you’re in our great city today, talking basketball and dollar signs with the Bulls. That’s very good. Of course, we also hear you’ll be in Texas on Wednesday to meet with the Rockets and Mavericks, and that powwows with the Lakers and perhaps even the Suns will soon follow. What can we say? That doesn’t make us nearly as happy.

But you’re still here, right? Of course, you are. No one could come to Chicago in the summertime and skedaddle before having a long look at the lakefront and a killer meal or three. So relax, friend. Kick up your Jordan Melos and stay awhile.

Like maybe 10 years.

You’re what, 30? Eleven seasons into your brilliant yet, well, perhaps just a tad unsatisfying NBA career? OK, so it doesn’t have to be 10 years. We’d love to have you for eight or six or even four. Matter of fact, how does four years and $96 million sound? The NBA says that’s all anybody other than your bosses in New York can give you right now, anyway.

Want to shake on it? Hug on it? Nothing beats a Chicago bear hug . . . except a Chicago Bull hug.

Michael Jordan told us that joke. Would we lie to you? All right, fine, he didn’t. But all these years after he finished playing here, we still can’t stop saying his name. Jordan, Jordan, Jordan. Or, lately, chanting yours. Melo! Melo! Melo! You do realize you could be the Bulls’ Next Great Scorer, do you not? We’ve only been waiting for you for 15 years.

Dude, we are so ready to love you.

By the way, um, this is a tiny bit awkward, but that whole thing with Derrick Rose not personally rolling out the red carpet for you this offseason? Think nothing of it. This isn’t about Derrick being a former MVP and this being his hometown and “Seriously? Melo should be begging to play with ME” or anything like that. Derrick’s just a quiet kind of guy. Also, he has been a little cranky ever since he started missing, you know, every game the Bulls play.

It has been kind of a bummer for everybody around here, frankly.

But how ’bout that Joakim Noah! Did he, as expected, come to see you? To woo you? Knowing Jo, to hoist you onto his shoulders and run full-court sprints? Dang, that guy works hard. That’s the cool thing about him and the Bulls in general: They play so hard at both ends of the floor, you could be yourself and totally get away with it.

That’s no knock on you, man. You’re one of the greatest scorers in the world. As far as we’re concerned, that there is a full-time job. What, you’re supposed to spill your guts on defense and still drop 30 on the stinkin’ Pacers or Heat? Not even Tom Thibodeau would expect something as utterly unrealistic as that.

Did we mention what a blast Thibs is to play for? So much fun. Yeah. We’ll get back to that another time.

Meanwhile, pal, just forget about all those other teams. Phoenix? Please. L.A.? Have fun watching Kobe Bryant take every meaningful shot. Houston and Dallas already have James Harden and Dirk Nowitzki to shoot first and vaguely consider defense later, so no need to mess with Texas.

New York? We know you wouldn’t use us just to make Phil Jackson jealous.

All right. We avoided mentioning LeBron James for as long as we could. This one’s simple: “If you can’t beat him, join him” is for chumps. You can’t join him. Why? Because you can beat him — for a long time — wherever he and his talents are.

You already know how. You already know where.

Let’s do this.

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SLGreenberg



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