CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls took a hard-sell approach with free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony and brought their stars along for the presentation Tuesday.
That included Derrick Rose, no fan of recruiting. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were there, too, trying to convince Anthony to choose the Bulls instead of staying with the New York Knicks.
Anthony, 30, arrived at a decked-out United Center in the afternoon with agent Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau, a police SUV trailing their oversized limousine.
Anthony walked past the Michael Jordan statue, waving to a small group of cheering fans as he went inside, where he spent much of the afternoon before getting a look at the soon-to-open practice facility across the street.
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The Bulls believe they have a strong pitch and a simple selling point: Anthony can transform a playoff team into a championship contender.
They believe combining Anthony with Rose and Noah would put them in position to contend for their first title since Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the way to two threepeats in the 1990s. And they certainly made their feelings clear, turning the arena into a big welcome mat.
Two giant digital images above the entrance on Madison Street showed Anthony in a Bulls No. 7 jersey dribbling next to a championship trophy, fans stopping to take pictures. Another image around the corner also showed him in a jersey dribbling.
Signs wrapping around corners of the building and stacked on top of each other read, “Carmelo Anthony and Chicago basketball” and “Melo” with a cropped Bulls logo.
Anthony, a top target in free agency, is expected to visit other teams.
If he signs elsewhere, it would probably bring back memories for Bulls fans of failed attempts to woo stars such as Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Irving gets big deal
CLEVELAND – The Cavaliers and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving have agreed on a five-year, $90 million contract extension.
Irving’s deal, completed with a handshake in New York with owner Dan Gilbert, cements a commitment with Cleveland that wasn’t always so strong.
“I’m here for the long haul Cleveland!!!! And I’m ecstatic!!” the 22-year-old Irving wrote on his Twitter account shortly after the agreement was reached. “Super excited and blessed to be here and a part of something special.”
For months, Irving’s future with the team seemed uncertain. There were reports he wasn’t happy in Cleveland, as well as speculation the Cavaliers didn’t believe he was a cornerstone player.
• Free-agent center Spencer Hawes, a former Washington Huskies and Seattle Prep player, is attracting considerable interest.
Cleveland would like to bring the 26-year-old Hawes back. According to media reports, other teams interested in Hawes include Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State, Miami, Houston and Dallas.
Portland officials, including coach Terry Stotts, met with representatives for Hawes late Monday night in Los Angeles, The Oregonian newspaper reported.
• Guard Jodie Meeks, 26, has agreed to a $19.5 million, three-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, a source said.
Meeks averaged a career-high 15.7 points last season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
• Golden State and guard Shaun Livingston agreed to a three-year contract worth about $16 million, according to reports.
Livingston, 28, averaged 8.3 points for Brooklyn last season.
• Center Marcin Gortat, 30, reportedly agreed to a $60 million, five-year contract to remain with the Washington Wizards. The “Polish Hammer” averaged 13.2 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds last season.
• Clark Kellogg is leaving the Indiana Pacers after being with the team 32 years as a player, broadcaster and, most recently, as vice president for player relations.