The wait for Carmelo Anthony's decision has been quite agonizing, and with each passing day, I actually did feel a tinge of optimism spreading over me. It now appears the wait will be over soon, but the result won't be a happy one:
Carmelo told a friend within hour "I believe in Phil." Thursday is decision day & it looks like Melo's coming home http://t.co/Z2BiBcxUmf— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 9, 2014
Yes, it seems the Bulls will be left at the altar by a superstar yet again. I can't really blame Anthony if this report is true and he indeed is remaining in New York. The money is great, his family is happy and Phil Jackson is aggressively trying to improve the team. The Bulls offer a quicker and easier path to a championship right now, but the Knicks will have some of that highly touted flexibility in 2015, so they'll have avenues to improve over the next few years. And if they don't improve, well, I guess Anthony could always demand another trade down the road:
Within Anthony's circle, belief's been this, sources tell Y: Get NY's $129M now, figure out destination later. You can always get a trade.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
This certainly does suck for the Bulls, who made Anthony their top priority this offseason. Although, one could argue that the Bulls didn't truly go "all-in" on Anthony because they didn't open up enough cap space to sign him outright. As some figured may happen, perhaps the actual top priority was acquiring Anthony, but only on their terms. That meant keeping all their core pieces intact, namely Taj Gibson, and hoping their pitch would be enough to sway Anthony and force the Knicks into a sign-and-trade scenario.
But right now, it's not looking good, although the decision isn't exactly set in stone just yet:
Source close to Carmelo Anthony insists "there is no decision yet." Adds "still up in the air."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 9, 2014
Nevertheless, the Bulls probably need to get moving on backup plans, whether that's Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic or whomever. You can keep your fingers crossed that the report is wrong or that Anthony has a "change of heart," but right now, it looks like the Melo Dream is dead.
Meanwhile, LeBron James is meeting with Pat Riley in a few hours and will likely make his decision tonight. So big things happening.