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Bulls, Lakers and Knicks are the top choices for Carmelo Anthony

Bulls, Lakers and Knicks are the top choices for Carmelo Anthony

Posted by Liliana Castaño on July 11, 2014

The 'Melo Mania isn't over just yet. And while the incumbent New York Knicks are considered the likely landing spot for free agent small forward Carmelo Anthony, they may have some reason to be concerned.

A person with knowledge of Anthony's situation confirmed reports that he still is considering the Chicago Bulls, though it's unclear where the Bulls, New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers are in the lead in these one-man sweepstakes. The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets are considered out of the running, though Anthony is not known to have given any formal indication of that. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the situation.

The New York Daily News and New York Post reported Wednesday that Anthony was expected to return to the Knicks.

As USA TODAY Sports reported July 4, the Knicks feared the Bulls above the rest all along because of Anthony's longstanding affinity for playing with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the rest of the Chicago lot. Yet while the Knicks made Anthony a maximum contract offer of $129 million over five years and the Lakers put out $96 million over four years, the Bulls have a more complicated financial landscape.

If the Bulls use the amnesty clause on forward Carlos Boozer, as expected, they would have about $10 million in salary cap space. The Bulls could create room by trading forward Taj Gibson as well, but the sixth man of the year runner-up is a major selling point for Anthony as he decides which team can help him win his first championship. Thus, a sign-and-trade with the Knicks involving Boozer seems to be the most likely way for the Bulls to pay Anthony the sort of salary it will take to get him to town.

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