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Exploring Carmelo Anthony's waiting game

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  • More than a week has passed since Carmelo Anthony walked into the United Center, which was decorated with giant photos of the forward in a Bulls uniform. He also met with the Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers.

      More than a week has passed since Carmelo Anthony walked into the United Center, which was decorated with giant photos of the forward in a Bulls uniform. He also met with the Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers.
    Associated Press/March 2014

 
 

A week into the NBA's free-agent season and there is really just one relevant question as far as the Bulls are concerned:

Why is Carmelo Anthony taking so long to make a decision?

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More than a week has passed since the high-scoring Knicks forward walked into the United Center, which was decorated with giant photos of Anthony in a Bulls uniform. He also met with the Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers.

In the meantime, the Bulls and most everyone else are stuck in limbo, unable to make any moves until getting a yes or no.

If there was an obvious answer to the Carmelo question, we wouldn't have to ask. So let's consider possible explanations:

He's waiting for a possible opening in Miami

The chance to play with LeBron James is attractive, no doubt. But there's not much chance of the Heat squeezing Anthony into cap space created by Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade pay cuts. That option isn't worth worrying about.

There have been reports Bosh is being courted by Houston. So it's conceivable Bosh could leave and create an opening for Anthony to sit in on a revamped Power Trio.

Bosh has said all along he wants to continue playing with James, though. So Bosh probably will consider Houston only if James decides to bolt for Cleveland. James reportedly will meet with Miami boss Pat Riley in Las Vegas on Wednesday. So maybe a decision will follow soon.

A growing number of NBA analysts believe there's a realistic chance James will return to Cleveland and try to turn its collection of No. 1 draft picks into winners. Either way, though, there's not much chance of Anthony teaming with James in Miami.

Would Anthony join the Heat to play with Wade? He might as well go to the Lakers with Kobe Bryant.

He's giving Phil Jackson time to improve the Knicks

The future could indeed be bright in New York, with cap space arriving in 2015. But Anthony has said he doesn't want to go through another losing experience like last season.

The New York Post reported that Jackson is trying to move the bloated contracts of Amare Stoudemire ($23.4 million) and Andrea Bargnani ($12 million) to either create cap space this summer or at least get the payroll low enough that he's allowed to use the full midlevel exception.

That will be tough, since neither player would be much help to another team.

The Post also claimed the Knicks are talking to Philadelphia about fitting Stoudemire into its cap space and offering Iman Shumpert as incentive.

Anything is possible, but given the odds of that trade, Jackson might as well call supermodel Adriana Lima while he's at it. "Adriana, you've split with Marko Jaric and your favorite team just lost a soccer game 7-1. Need some cheering up?"

He's waiting for Pau Gasol

This one could go hand in hand with the Knicks' improvement scenario. Gasol might be interested in following Jackson, his former coach with the Lakers, to New York. At the moment, though, all the Knicks have to offer is the taxpayer midlevel of $3.3 million, which probably won't get it done.

There were reports Tuesday the Bulls and Oklahoma City were the most likely destinations for Gasol, with San Antonio and the Lakers still in the running. Gasol figures to be the Bulls' top target if they don't get Anthony, and there are scenarios where they could get Anthony in a sign-and-trade and try to add Gasol with the full midlevel.

He's trying to force a sign-and-trade to the Bulls

This might be true, but it's probably not the reason for the delay. If Anthony has his mind made up to play for the Bulls, Jackson figures to consider sign-and-trade scenarios.

There are several that could give the Knicks some assets for rebuilding. This process shouldn't require days of discussion.

It's all about dramatic effect

Careful, Carmelo. This backfired on LeBron James in 2010.

• Summer-league squad set:

The Bulls announced their summer-league roster Tuesday. It includes recent draft picks Doug McDermott and Cameron Bairstow, along with second-year guard Tony Snell. Another familiar name is former Illinois and Warren High School star Brandon Paul.

The other players aren't as well known: guard Kendall Williams from New Mexico, guard Lazeric Jones from UCLA, guard Billy Baron from Canisius, guard Austin Freeman from Georgetown, 6-10 forward David Wear from UCLA, 6-11 center Chad Posthumus from Morehead State, 6-8 Lance Thomas from Duke and 6-8 Davante Gardner from Marquette.

Adrian Griffin will coach the team. Coby Karl, son of longtime NBA coach George Karl, is a new addition as a summer assistant.

• Get the latest Bulls news via Twitter by following @McGrawDHBulls.

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