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Carmelo Anthony is toast of Texas, but Jeremy Lin is miffed
Carmelo Anthony spent his second day of free agency in Texas, where a couple of teams tried to make the Knicks free agent feel wanted while his old teammate Jeremy Lin felt betrayed.
Anthony met with the Rockets and Mavericks Wednesday and heard their pitches about how they can help him win the championship that has eluded him through 11 NBA seasons. But it was his stop in Houston that caused Lin some bitter feelings and it was nothing that Anthony did.
Houston posted pictures of Anthony in a No. 7 Rockets jersey on the marquee outside the Toyota Center. That's Lin's jersey number and he's still under contract. But Houston would need to deal him to open up the money to sign Anthony.
Reportedly, the Rockets have a deal in place for Lin, but won't pull the trigger on it unless they know a marquee free agent, such as Anthony, will sign with them. But the Rockets may have to do something with Lin now regardless.
Lin, a religious man, tweeted a Bible verse on Wednesday that essentially said turn the other cheek. He also responded to fans who told him he had the right to be angry.
"I'm entitled to stand up for myself/say I felt disrespected as I did thru tweet," Lin tweeted. "But point is love unconditionally as Jesus loved me."
The irony is Anthony and Lin are in the center of this small controversy two years after they were part of another one. Lin was a restricted free agent and the Knicks intended to match whatever offers he received. But when the Rockets changed their original offer and signed Lin to a three-year, $25.1 million contract -- one that Anthony called "ridiculous" -- the Knicks found it difficult to match it.
Anthony, whether it was warranted or not, received much of the blame for Lin not returning to the Knicks. Now Anthony could be the reason Lin is sent packing from Houston.
The Knicks can give Anthony a five-year deal for $129 million or about $34 million more than other teams. Many consider the Knicks the favorites in the Anthony sweepstakes. But he's still touring other NBA facilities, dining with team officials and talking to players.
Anthony will be in Los Angeles on Thursday, meeting with Lakers executives, including Jeannie Buss, Phil Jackson's fiancé. Kobe Bryant, one of Anthony's pals, is expected to help in the recruiting.
Anthony has said winning matters more than millions in his first time testing free agency. The three teams he has met with thus far - the Bulls, Rockets and Mavericks - are much farther along in their championship chase than the Knicks.
On Tuesday, Anthony spent roughly nine hours in Chicago. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and coach Tom Thibodeau were involved in the Bulls' presentation. At dinner, Bulls front office executive and six-time champion Scottie Pippen was in attendance.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls felt they "connected" with Anthony. But ESPN indicated one reason the Bulls will meet with Lakers free agent Pau Gasol Thursday is they're not convinced Anthony will leave the Knicks.
Anthony was in Houston the first part of Wednesday and met with a Rocket contingent that included All-Stars Dwight Howard and James Harden, coach Kevin McHale, general manager Daryl Morey and Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler.
Reportedly, Howard and Harden spoke to Anthony privately. The Rockets felt the meeting, which lasted about five hours, went well.
"It would be great to have him here," Howard told reporters. "I think getting a guy like Carmelo will give us a great opportunity to be competing for championships for a long time, at least four or five years."
Anthony went from Houston to Dallas where the Mavericks had a lower-key presentation than the Bulls and Rockets, and it was held at owner Mark Cuban's house. Cuban, star player Dirk Nowitzki, coach Rick Carlisle and GM Donnie Nelson made the pitch.
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