Try finding a storyline more compelling this summer than the potential free agency of Carmelo Anthony and it may take awhile. The All-Star forward has the ability to opt-out of his current contract with the New York Knicks at the end of this month, and many people believe that Anthony will do so. The decision Anthony must make this summer will without question have a huge affect on the future of the Knicks and the overall landscape of the NBA.
Because Anthony is one of the best scorers in the league, he will generate a ton of interest from contenders if he chooses to opt out. Along with the Knicks, other teams believed to be in the running for Anthony’s services this summer are the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. Anthony has said repeatedly that he wants to go to a team that gives him the best chance to win. If Anthony is to practice what he preaches, it is fair to say that leaving New York is very possible.
Despite his desire to continue playing in New York, Anthony is well aware of the fact that the Knicks will probably not be a contender next season. However, the man who runs the Knicks now knows how to win better than anyone else: Phil Jackson. Jackson has coached some of the greatest players of all time and has won everywhere he has been. If Anthony chooses to stay put in New York, it will be because he believes in Jackson’s philosophy of winning basketball. It would be unwise of Anthony to not give the 11-time champion Jackson a fair chance. If Anthony spurns Jackson and the Knicks, it could be a huge blow to the Zen Master’s credibility because only few have told Jackson no before. The Knicks need more than anything else for Anthony to stay, because New York could be a cellar-dweller if he departs.
However, there are other destinations that would provide Anthony with a chance to win immediately.
The best-case scenario besides New York for Anthony is with Chicago. The Bulls’ biggest need heading into next season is to improve offensively, specifically acquiring a go-to scorer. Based on Chicago’s needs, the Bulls would be a perfect fit for Anthony. With a healthy (hopefully) former MVP Derrick Rose, All-Star center Joakim Noah, an outstanding defense, a solid supporting cast and a terrific coach in Tom Thibodeau, Chicago would be a title contender if they added Anthony to the mix.
Another interesting suitor for Anthony this summer could be Miami. According to ESPN, the Heat have already devised plans to bring Anthony to Miami in order to form a Big Four with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Because Miami has only two players locked in for next season (Norris Cole and Chris Andersen), there is enough cap space to bring on Anthony. However, it would require all four superstars to take pay cuts which is much easier said than done.
Furthermore, a combination of Anthony and James could be complicated, because their styles of play are so similar that it could cancel each other out. Miami’s largest needs for next season are on the defensive end, as well as at the point guard and center positions. Anthony fulfills none of those; he only makes their already-explosive offense more explosive. Most importantly, a move to Miami would tarnish Anthony’s reputation and he would forever be known as a guy who was desperate to win. However, as we learned in 2010, never count out Pat Riley and Micky Arison.
A third, but least likely destination for Anthony could be Los Angeles. The Lakers’ situation is the same, if not worse than the Knicks, because they do not even have a coach. The Lakers will probably not be a contender next season, but because their roster is a mystery right now, no one knows for sure. If Anthony is to join Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in Hollywood, another superstar would have to come along for the ride probably. Bryant and Nash are at the end of their careers, and Anthony will not want to have to carry dead weight again like he has in New York. Most importantly, the Lakers have the cap space to bring two superstars aboard this summer.