The Carmelo Anthony whirlwind tour is now over. Now we all sit back and wait on Carmelo’s decision. I don’t think the Bulls fans will have to wait any longer than the weekend, early next week at the latest.
It’s no secret that the Chicago Bulls have had issues catching the “big fish” when it comes to free agency. Well it seems that one of the first big ones that got away doesn’t think it should happen this time. After Chris Webber gave the advice to Carmelo Anthony to stay away from Chicago, Tracy McGrady offered up his input to Melo courtesy of CSNChicago.
“I would like to see Melo in a Chicago Bulls uniform because its tailor-made for him just to fit in. Only thing they’re missing is a scorer,” I played for Thibodeau, he’s a hell of a defensive coach, a hell of a defensive coach. You see those guys playing extremely hard for him. What he’s done since becoming the Bulls coach has been phenomenal. But the talent he’s associated with, it’s unbelievable”
“So you add Melo with those guys-because there are times they can’t freaking score-and have a healthy D Rose back and possibly get someone like Kevin Love to join them…championship. They could compete for one for sure. But they’ll be a contender if Melo just goes there by himself with what they have and Derrick Rose coming back.
“So go to Chicago, buddy.”
Man what a difference 14 years makes. Back in 2000, Tracy McGrady was in the same position Carmelo Anthony is now. The Bulls were in pursuit of a young 20-year-old free agent that was supposed to lead Chicago in the post-Jordan era (the second time.) The high schooler was on his way to stardom after helping his cousin Vince Carter lead the Toronto Raptors to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. T-Mac had scored 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The crazy thing back then was, this wasn’t the summer of T-Mac. This was the summer of Duncan. Tim Duncan along with Grant Hill, who was with Detroit at the time, were looking for max deals and had plenty of suitors.
Back then, the Orlando Magic was the biggest competition for the Bulls. The general manager, John Gabriel had gutted the team out trying to get cap space to go after Tim Duncan and one more max deal free agent. After Shaquille O’Neal bolted the Magic for the Lakers, Gabriel traded out the rest of the team that made the Finals just a few years back. He traded Penny Hardaway, Nick Anderson, Horace Grant and Ike Austin. With them gone the Magic were just like the Bulls, they had plenty of cap space and were ready to spend it.
The Tracy McGrady signing was supposed to work. The Magic wanted Tim Duncan to come to Orlando along with Grant Hill. Looking at the way things are now, it’s seems crazy that Duncan was close to leaving San Antonio, but he was closer than a lot of people realize.
As we all know, Duncan stayed in San Antonio and went on to win multiple NBA titles. When the Magic lost out on him, they set their sights on McGrady.
McGrady showed interest in the Bulls (does this story sound familiar?) But the opportunity of playing closer to home in Florida was much more appealing.
That and maybe the Bulls were just terrible at the time. No check that, the Bulls WERE terrible at the time. The Bulls had gone 30-102 during the time Jerry Krause was trying to show that “organizations win championships.” Outside of Elton Brand, the Bulls were in no danger of winning more than the 17 games they won the 1999-2000 season.
The Chicago Tribune reported the Bulls pulled out the red carpet for McGrady when he visited. The cheerleaders and Benny the Bull greeted him at the airport, a small band played “Sweet Home Chicago,” dinner with Jerry Krause and Elton Brand and threw out the first pitch at a Cubs-White Sox game.
Only one problem, T-Mac had already made his mind up. On August 3rd, McGrady ended up signing a seven-year 92.8 million dollar contract in a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors.
While in Orlando, T-Mac went nuts leading the NBA in scoring twice, was an All-Star his entire tenure there while averaging 28.1 points 7.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists. With Grant Hill’s ankle trouble, McGrady was carrying the franchise by himself until he was traded to Houston eventually.
How did the Bulls make out? Uh if you are a sensitive Bulls fan, you might want to click on to another article. We have plenty on Pippen Ain’t Easy, you best choice for Bulls news, previews and reviews. When Tracy McGrady said no, the Bulls went with back up free agent options Ron Mercer and Brad Miller. They were obviously no Tracy McGrady and the record showed. The Bulls went 15-67 that year, which marks as still the lowest win percentage in franchise history. Elton Brand was traded the next season. Jerry Krause ended up leaving for “health issues” and the Bulls stunk until an infusion of talent like Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich led the Bulls back to the playoffs in 2004.
Maybe Tracy McGrady feels guilty, maybe not. But now the tally is 1-1 for retired players’ opinion for Carmelo Anthony coming to Chicago.
Time is running out. Leave your comment. Will Carmelo Anthony sign on the dotted line or stay in New York? Rumor has it he will sign with the Knicks on Monday reportedly. We want to hear from you.