Yes, the Bulls have been spurned more than once through the promise of acquiring a big name, even going all the way back to the Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Eddie Jones days of the early 2000's.
But while many will look at Melo's decision as another failed attempt at upgrading the roster, it's important to note just how stacked the odds were against them to begin with, and how close they came to the finish line despite of it.
Anthony was reportedly so impressed with the Bulls' presentation that he kept them in consideration throughout, and the front office themselves felt their nine-hour meeting went more than well. But at the end of the day, and without pulling off the Mark Deeks three-way outlined in the Fanshot section, the Bulls had very little financial flexibility compared to New York who had flexibility all the way up to the range of $129 million.
With the Bulls being considered, all the while they were the team who could offer the smallest deal, there is reason for optimism in Chicago. Everyone acknowledged they were the best bet to steal Melo off the Knicks, while presenting him the best chance of winning immediately.
This hasn't changed, although the Bulls now lack that one bullet they were hoping Anthony would be. By remaining interested however, Melo indirectly sent out a signal to future free agents: These Bulls are ready to take you places. This was backed up daily by the national media, so this wasn't a total loss.
Obviously, the Bulls would need to financially stand on stronger ground, but everyone knew that coming in. From a pure basketball perspective, they're right there as one of the most attractive teams in basketball. And despite fan outcries of that not mattering if the Bulls can't close the deal, it remains the strongest card to play, if the player in question really is in it to win it.