According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the Knicks are confident about their standing in the sweepstakes and consider the Bulls the only real threat among the many suitors. A decision is expected from Anthony by Monday, though the ever-present fluidity of free agency means there is no definitive timeline. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the negotiations.
An earlier report indicated that Carmelo Anthony was "largely aligned" with Knicks president Phil Jackson's vision for the team. Anthony had numerous questions for Jackson and new head coach Derek Fisher at their meeting with him on Thursday, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, and came away impressed. There's also the fact that New York offered him a five-year, $129 million contract, which no other team has the ability to do.
Chicago has always seemed like a logical destination for Anthony, even before Joakim Noah started courting him. There's no rational basketball argument to be made for the Knicks over the Bulls, who can offer him a supporting cast that would lighten his load on offense and cover for him on defense. With Anthony, Chicago would immediately become a contender in the East. If Derrick Rose gets back to his MVP form, the Bulls would even be a contender without him. Outside of the Lakers, all the other teams he met with -- so, the Bulls, Rockets and Mavericks -- give him a much better chance of winning right away than he'll have if he re-signs.
New York is familiar and comfortable, though, and let's not forget about the money. Jackson might have sold Anthony on waiting for potentially franchise-altering free-agent signings in coming summers, and adding some better role players until then. We'll find out soon whether or not he's willing to be that patient.