It was all the hype this summer. Melo to Chicago was the talk of the town and the internet. All signs pointed to Chicago. The Windy City would finally land their first big free agent since, well ever.
The only question in every Chicago fans mind was, is Melo about winning or the money? A question no one had the answer to until Carmelo Anthony made his ultimate decision to stay in New York, and chase the money. Not the rings. Had Carmelo chosen Chicago, this would have been the best team constructed on paper, since that 1998 Bulls season. A starting lineup of:
Rose, Jimmy, Melo, Taj, and Joakim, would rival any other starting 5 in the NBA. A line-up with 4 All-Stars on the roster (assuming Jimmy would still be producing like Jimmy 2k15). A team that would be instant title favorites.
Instead Carmelo chose to stay and play with a rookie head coach in Derek Fisher. A first year team president in Phil Jackson. A team in which calling their starting five, sub-par, is over rating them to some. Let’s face it, Melo didn’t stay in NY to win this season, or any season in the near future. Melo stayed for financial reasons.
But, just how close was Carmelo really to coming to Chicago? After multiple rumors, the amount of time in between his final meeting, and the quietness of the entire situation, it began to be a real possibility that he in fact was making the impossible decision, to move his family to Chicago.
When things didn’t go as Chicago had planned, Bulls fans gave Rose a hard time for his lack of recruitment, thought management didn’t “do their job”, or maybe Thibs drove Melo away because of his coaching style. But in the end, it seemed that none of those ridiculous reasons had any truth to them.
In a recent article by TheSource.com, Carmelo Anthony claimed in a new documentary, Carmelo Anthony: Made In NY, which will air on MSG on Tuesday night, that he was “this close to coming to Chicago”
Chicago was the one from Day 1, and was something I was very impressed with. They were looking for someone like me to come in and take them to the next level. So it was perfect.
Melo would go on to give some insight into what he was thinking during the decision-making process
It was the perfect setup and the perfect fit for me in Chicago. But also I had to think about living in Chicago. Do I want to live in Chicago? Do I want to take everything I created in New York and move all that? It came down to that. But there was one point in time I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going.’
Melo to Chicago wasn’t such a pipe dream after all. He was coming, if it was, just for an instant. In the end it was his, “Empire State of Mind” that would hold him back. Who can blame him. Really? We criticize guys for ring chasing, and now Melo for chasing the money. But you can’t have it one way or the other, at this stage in his career he needed to make a decision. What was more important to him and his legacy was, his “Empire”. So instead of getting the hardware, Melo opted for the long-term financial stability. Whether he chose a ring or the money, he couldn’t have had both. Carmelo Anthony is a me guy, and he will now go down in history with the Charles Barkley’s of the world, ring-less.