Bulls

As Knicks Haven’t Heard Back From Melo, Bulls Still In The Race

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Carmelo Anthony. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

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(CBS/AP) Knicks president Phil Jackson was expecting a decision from Carmelo Anthony on Thursday.

“But I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday,” Jackson said. “But no, we’re waiting.”

And hoping.

Jackson said he was still expecting good news, although he said he hadn’t heard from Anthony since meeting with him a week earlier.

That left hope open for Anthony’s other primary suitors — the Bulls and Lakers. As of late Thursday, neither had been informed they were out of the Anthony sweepstakes.

Anthony is still torn on taking the most money or having the best chance to chase championships, per CBSSPorts.com NBA insider Ken Berger:

A person with knowledge of Anthony’s message in his free-agent meeting with Jackson said he expressed confidence in Jackson’s plan to revamp the roster after next season. But Anthony’s biggest concern, the person said, was avoiding a repeat in 2014-15 of the Knicks’ 37-win debacle last season — the first time in Anthony’s 11 seasons that he failed to make the playoffs.

New York has offered Anthony a max deal of five years and $129 million, and Los Angeles has as well, its contract offer checking in at four years and about $96 million. Without moving Taj Gibson and further gutting its team, Chicago can only offer a four-year deal worth around $73 million, the Chicago Tribune has reported. They could clear cap room for a max deal if they traded Gibson and Mike Dunleavy.

The Bulls’ hope would be to execute a sign-and-trade deal with the Knicks, as that’d allow them to offer Anthony more money and keep Gibson. But to date, New York has shown no willingness to engage in such talks and doesn’t seem at all interested in taking Carlos Boozer and his expiring deal back. Chicago could still execute a sign-and-trade deal without Boozer, but it’d be extremely complicated and require a lot of pieces to fall in place.

Speaking to reporters at the Knicks’ summer league practice in Las Vegas on Thursday, Jackson said he has texted Anthony a couple of times since then, but hasn’t gotten a response. But he felt confident about keeping the All-Star forward after their last discussion.

“I felt really good about my conversation with Carmelo. We really struck a chord,” Jackson said. “The two of us, I think feel really passionately about what we’re trying to get accomplished. It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead and watch us develop a winner.”

Jackson added that he had made perhaps five contract proposals to Anthony. He has said he hopes the NBA’s leading scorer in 2012-13 would be open to taking less than the max to allow for more future spending flexibility.

Jackson also confirmed that he had reached out to one of his former players, Pau Gasol. The Lakers star is a free agent and Jackson is interested, even while acknowledging the Knicks have far less money to offer than Gasol is worth. The Bulls are also interested in Gasol as Plan B.

But Jackson is trying to pitch Gasol on the value of being in New York, even noting the importance to the Spaniard of being in the same city as the United Nations.

“He knows what he has here and what is possible and I think he’d like to play with Carmelo and I think he’d like to play for a winner,” Jackson said. “And we can’t guarantee that but with him, we’d guarantee a much better chance.”

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