Today is the day the Bulls have been waiting for. Carmelo Anthony is in town to hear his first pitch as a free agent, with Tom Thibodeau, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Scottie Pippen reportedly joining John Paxson and Gar Forman in the meeting with the All-Star forward.
The Bulls are trying to sell Melo on a chance to contend right away. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's the same strategy that failed to lure LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh here in 2010. At least one thing has changed in the four years since that fateful summer, though. The Bulls have Photoshop now:
The Bulls' recruiting pitch to Carmelo is already underway. This is the message on the side of the United Center. pic.twitter.com/7vsu4kCpuL— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) July 1, 2014
There's been a lot of distress over Derrick Rose recently reiterating he doesn't intend to "recruit" Anthony or any free agent, but the Tribune's K.C. Johnson has maintained Rose will be available to speak to Anthony if that's what Melo wants. It's clear the Bulls' lead recruiters are Thibodeau, Noah and Pippen, so a phone call or text from Rose was probably never going to make that big of a difference, anyway.
It's nice to see Noah take such an active and enthusiastic role in this. Here's got plenty of experience when it comes to recruiting, having helped Urban Meyer do it back at Florida. He also helped with the Bulls in 2010, but that was before he really established himself as a star. Noah entered the meeting with Anthony with a huge smile on his face:
Joakim Noah has entered the United Center. He is in very good spirits.— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) July 1, 2014
No word on if Jerry Reinsdorf will be there yet, but we can't ask for too much. The White Sox do have a double-header today against the Angels.
Update: Here's Melo walking into the UC:
Carmelo walking into the United Center. pic.twitter.com/1SXPYtXoqZ— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) July 1, 2014
3:15 p.m. Update: The meeting is over. Look who made an appearance!
Taj Gibson has entered the United Center. pic.twitter.com/xfP9KTz5Pe— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) July 1, 2014
Oh, D. Rose, too:
Confirmed: DRose is at the United Center for Melo meeting.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 1, 2014
Thibodeau was apparently in the van that picked up Anthony. Remember: they share representation, and Thibs has made it no secret he wants Melo on the team. Really, Thibs himself is an advantage the Bulls didn't have 2010. He might be a better bargaining point than Rose.
One more look at the UC today:
Melo signs, with championship trophies, wrapped all around the United Center. pic.twitter.com/uxlv8MEiDS— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) July 1, 2014