Wavering Carmelo Anthony thinking longer about Knicks’ max offer
BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter July 10, 2014 9:43PM
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 21: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks is blocked by Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on December 21, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Updated: July 11, 2014 2:21AM
According to a Bulls source on Thursday evening, using the term “reconsidering’’ when it comes to Carmelo Anthony and his stance on spurning the Bulls “might be a bit strong.’’
Several rumors surfaced that Anthony was “reconsidering’’ the max-contract offer of five years, $129 million to re-sign with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks, and was starting to lean back toward the Bulls.
It’s a small lean, if any.
A member of Anthony’s camp has let the Bulls know that the decision is weighing heavily on the seven-time All-Star, especially because of the connection he felt he made with All-Star center Joakim Noah and coach Tom Thibodeau in their meeting on July 1.
“We definitely still haven’t been told no,’’ the source said.
The problem is the Bulls desperately need a sign-and-trade with the Knicks to make up the $54 million Anthony would be leaving on the table if he signed as a free agent. The Knicks, however, have been adamant in letting the Bulls know that they aren’t interested in a sign-and-trade.
The Bulls continue to spin their wheels as far as jumping into Plan B if they lose out in the Anthony sweepstakes.
Pau Gasol headlines that Plan B, but the team would also love to start hammering out more details to hasten the addition of Nikola Mirotic to the roster.
There were reports that Mirotic, the 2011 draft pick acquired by the Bulls, was in Chicago, but he has been in Los Angeles, awaiting the negotiation process to start. Both sides would like to get something done as quickly as possible, because the feeling is Mirotic is a bigger work in progress than earlier believed.
Don’t tell that to ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, however. Appearing on WMVP-AM, he said that Mirotic would have been the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft.
“I think the Bulls are getting a really solid player,” Fraschilla said. “But they’re not getting Dirk Nowitzki, certainly not at this stage of his career.
“Playing at the level he has for the last four years, he’s hitting .330 in Triple-A. And now you’re bringing him up to the big leagues. If you’re the Chicago Bulls, for example, you’re hoping he’s going to be a .290 hitter right off the bat.’’
One scout said that Mirotic would be behind rookie Doug McDermott and second-year player Tony Snell at the start of training camp from a skill-level standpoint.
No wilt on Rose
If the Bulls were searching for some sort of good news to come out of the last week, it’s been Derrick Rose’s play during the practices at the Berto Center with the Summer League team.
According to several who have witnessed Rose’s dominance up-close-and-personal, he’s “looked great.’’ And not just the “great’’ that Thibodeau likes to throw around whenever discussing Rose and his rehab.
His outside shot has shown continued improvement and his ability to attack the rim is as good as the Bulls have seen since he first injured his left knee in 2012. And while it’s only coming against rookies and younger players set to begin Summer League this weekend in Las Vegas, according to one source, Rose and Thibodeau are feeling confident about the push he will make in late July when tryouts for USA Basketball start in Las Vegas.
Rose has been playing full-contact basketball since late April. According to a source, he has had no setbacks in his recovery from the right-knee injury he suffered 10 games into the regular season.