Saturday, March 8, 2014

Melo says Joakim didn't try to recruit him to Bulls

Ever since ESPN reported that during the NBA All-Star Weekend, Joakim Noah told Carmelo Anthony that if he’s serious about winning a title, he should join the Bulls after he opts out of his Knicks contract on July 1 — the rumors have been swirling.

Anthony reportedly told Noah that Derrick Rose is his son’s favorite player, admired the team's style of play and asked what it’s like to play for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

While the normally chatty Noah shrugged off the report as "gossip" at the Bulls shootaround on Friday, Anthony addressed the story after the Knicks 108-81 victory over the Jazz later that night, reported The New York Post.

And Anthony outright denied there was a recruiting speech pitched to him by Noah during All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

“I heard about that [report],” Anthony said after the Knicks’ win at Madison Square Garden. “Every day it’s a story. Every day it’s going to be a new story. I have no information about that. I don’t know how that story got out there, who started that story. I don’t know. I really don’t know what to say about it.”

Asked specifically if he had that talk with Noah, Melo, battling a cold, immediately replied in a hoarse voice: “No, not at all. I can’t have that conversation.”

Anthony, though, said he knows he'll be hearing those types of reports and rumors until his future is settled. He is expected to opt out of his Knicks contract and become a free agent at the end of the season.

“Without a doubt,” Anthony said of the distraction. “There’s going to be more stories coming out, more speculation. Everybody going to have their own take on different stories, so for me it’s I got to focus on playing ball and that’s it. Whatever stories [are] going to be out there, I can’t control that.”

Knicks coach Mike Woodson said on Thursday that any recruitment pitch to Anthony would violate NBA tampering rules.

And Thibodeau dismissed the story, saying, “It’s a bunch of nonsense. People just start throwing stuff out there and then they wait for everyone to respond to it.”

An NBA spokesman on Friday declined comment on the matter.

Now that those whispers have been put to bed, let the Phil Jackson talk begin.

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