Carmelo Anthony may be having a hard time finding a new team this summer, but things were very different five years ago. In the 2014 NBA offseason, Anthony became one of the most coveted superstars on the free agency market after he opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks. After meeting with several NBA teams, Anthony ended up returning to the Knicks on a five-year contract.
Many people were surprised by Carmelo Anthony’s decision to re-sign with the Knicks since before he made up his mind, rumors had been circulating that he would be joining the Chicago Bulls. In a recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, Anthony discussed several topics with Stephen A. Smith, including the rumors linking him to the Bulls in the 2014 NBA free agency.
Carmelo Anthony confirmed that he strongly considered teaming up with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago, but he changed his mind after hearing some “whispers” about the nearing departure of a certain “person” from the Bulls.
“I was going to Chicago. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, I was there, right? I was there,” Anthony said, as quoted by NBC Sports. “And then I started getting whispers behind the scenes. Yo, look, this person ain’t gonna be there. It ain’t really right. This and that. It was all of that started to come up in the midst of my decision making. I wasn’t gonna let anything cloud that. I met with New York (Knicks) last. Like, I think it was the last team I met with because I knew that I was ready to move on from that situation because of what I was dealing with and going through in New York.”
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 5, 2019
Carmelo Anthony didn’t mention any names to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, but according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports, the 10-time NBA All-Star was talking about former Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. During that time, there was bad blood between Thibodeau and Bulls executives Gar Forman and John Paxson. The whispers Anthony heard proved to be right as the Bulls parted ways with Thibodeau after the 2014-15 NBA season.
Carmelo Anthony may have decided not to join the Bulls, but he was still given the opportunity to team up with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in New York. In the 2015 NBA offseason, the Knicks acquired Rose in a blockbuster deal with the Bulls and signed Noah in free agency. Unfortunately, despite having a star-studded roster in the 2015-16 NBA season, the Knicks failed to live up to expectations from a superteam and didn’t even manage to earn a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.