There is a new arms race brewing in the NBA, and one of the biggest weapons has just decided to test the free-agent market.
After months of speculation, Carmelo Anthony officially told the New York Knicks on Sunday that he will opt out of his contract and become a free agent. His move officially signaled what will be one of the most watched offseason’s since LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach in 2010.
Carmelo is easily the single biggest prize on the free-agent market currently, and the team that lands his services will be sitting pretty as title contenders. Anthony has said repeatedly that he does not want to play for a team that is rebuilding or a team that is “on the rise” but is still a time away from being true contenders.
So what do we know already?
What we do know is that the Knicks are no longer good enough for Anthony’s services. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Knicks were the only team that could pay him the maximum salary that he commands. Anthony walking away from the last year of his contract confirmed that he will not be playing in the Big Apple next season and the Knicks are now officially in rebuilding mode.
So now the big question is: Which team has the best chance to land him? Under Anthony’s criteria, the only teams that has a prayer of landing the superstar are the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat. Out of that three, Miami has the least possible chance because of salary-cap issues. So that leaves the Rockets and Bulls, two teams that can find the cap space to add Anthony to their roster.
But those are not the only two you should be watching. Watch out for the Dallas Mavericks, as the team certainly has the cap space and players that can easily attract Anthony. Look for Mark Cuban to throw his money and weight around to try to lure the star to North Texas. Other than that, those are the only teams I see that has a legitimate shot at landing Anthony. But whatever he decides to do, we do known this: It’s going to be one eventful offseason.
Let the race begin.