The latest news to break in the NBA is the decision by Carmelo Anthony to opt out of his current contract with the New York Knicks. Now Anthony is free to sign with any team he chooses. Could the star forward be the splash the Boston Celtics promised their fans this season? Would pursuing Anthony be wise?
After a rebuilding year in 2013-14, the Celtics are eager to get back in contention in the Eastern Conference. Their two biggest needs are a rim protecting big man and a main scoring option on the wing. Carmelo is one of the best scorers in the league, but can the Celtics afford to pay a superstar right now?
The NBA salary cap is expected to rise from $58.6 million to roughly $63.2 million leaving the Celtics with roughly $16.7 million to play with this offseason. There is also the possibility of trading Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and amnestying Gerald Wallace for extra space. So yes, the Celtics could potentially have enough to sign Anthony, but would have to surrender everything in order to get him to play in Boston. Would the Celtics be practicing good discernment using all their available cash on a selfish, ball-dominant player?
Another factor that comes into play when considering the pursuit of Anthony is whether or not Boston is an attractive destination for the 30-year-old. Boston has never signed a marquee free agent and most are not interested in coming to the cold Northeast. Plus, this team is far from their next championship and Anthony has a better chance to win somewhere else. He would get plenty of touches playing next to Rajon Rondo, but are they enough to make the Celtics serious contenders?
The great Celtic teams enjoyed success because of their team-oriented, unselfish play and hard-nosed defense. Carmelo is the exact opposite of what a true Celtics is. On the other hand, maybe the Celtics need to do what it takes to get back on the map in the NBA.
If the Celtics were to sign Anthony, serious roster tweaks would still need to be put in place. This would be extremely difficult considering how much they would have to pay the prized free agent. If Anthony is willing to embrace the Celtic way and take a pay cut, then Boston should do what it takes to bring him in. Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are slim to none.