Instead of perching atop a throne accepting gifts from visiting delegations, Melo will do the visiting himself. His travelplans so far include exactly the teams we expected: Per Marc Stein, Melo will visit the Bulls first thing on Tuesday, then head to Texas to meet the Rockets and Mavericks on Wednesday, then the Lakers at some point thereafter. No mention yet of the Suns, though they're interested, no mention yet of the Heat, and no mention yet of the Knicks, though I take from this report that they're gonna go last. Phil Jackson did mention it's best to go first or last (which is usually true!), so I think he'll be cool with that.
When Melo does meet the Knicks, Frank Isola reports, he expects to field something at or near the maximum allowable contract offer ($129 million over 5 years). Of course, the source on that report may *want* Melo to get an offer that big, and Phil Jackson has subtly but publicly and repeatedly nudged Melo toward taking a pay cut. The max-- as Jackson has acknowledged-- would restrict the Knicks' team building, and below a certain threshold, a pay cut wouldn't make much of a difference. We'll see on that one.
Meanwhile, internet odors radiating from Chicago still make it smell like the strongest non-Knicks contender, and the Bulls get to go first. Kevin Anderson did a nice job fleshing out their options, Melo-wise. You'll see Chicago needs to shed a bunch of salary (plus assets of actual basketball value)-- either by trading with the Knicks or dumping elsewhere-- to make room for their primary target. And that's only if Melo wants to go there. For whatever it's worth, Derrick Rose says he likes the idea of Melo in Chicago, but does not intend to "recruit" him. I don't think that will be the case with stars on other teams, or even the other stars in the Bulls, since we've already heard about Joakim Noah reaching out.
This all begins at midnight. The resulting decision can become official with signatures on July 9. We'll track the process throughout, and keep any necessary tabs on UFAs Cole Aldrich and Kenyon Martin, non-guaranteed bros Jeremy Tyler, Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom and Samuel Dalembert, and RFA Toure' Murry (if the Knicks extend him a qualifying offer today) as well.