Carmelo Anthony decided to officially opt out of the final year of his contract with the New York Knicks on Monday and will test free agency this summer, according to sources. The day before that, two-time NBA Champion LeBron James decided to do the same after agent Rich Paul informed the Miami Heat that the four-time NBA MVP will exercise his early termination option and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. This will give Anthony and James the opportunity of a lifetime to sign wherever they both please together. Instantly, whichever team that is lucky enough to land these two superstars will become a championship caliber team with the help of many other players that will eagerly want to sign along with them. The problem is that James has already made his stamp on his career obtaining two NBA Championships in Miami. There were a lot of speculations that he may have destroyed his legacy teaming up with a former NBA Champion, Dwyane Wade. With Wade’s body deteriorating, he took a reduced role that allowed James to become the superstar we all believed he would become. What will be Anthony’s legacy?
The same favor that Wade gave to take a reduced role will not work for Anthony teaming up with James. These two are at the prime of their careers and share some of the same grade of skills. To be honest, who would want to take a backseat role at this time if you know that you can still play at a high level? Some of those same questions that appeared in 2010 for the Heat’s big three will reappear again. You can’t have two superstars who share the same knack and eagerness to score; it just doesn’t work unless one is willing to allow the other to do so. I’m pretty sure Anthony wants his legacy to mirror some of the success Michael Jordan had in this league and not the role of Scottie Pippen. To be the best you have to beat the best, and James should be on Anthony’s radar. He is the type of player who can lead a team to the promised land, but he just needs the right guidance and players around him. In New York, he didn’t get much of either of those qualities, but that could change with new president Phil Jackson and head coach Derek Fisher.
On the business and competition side, it is definitely not a good look for the NBA. If the destination is Miami, we are looking at four future Hall-of-Fame athletes — who were also top draft picks in the same year — joining forces. Why would you watch the playoffs if you know the end result? Three was kind of crazy, but adding Anthony will just be insane. The only people who will be satisfied will be the Heat or any of the players’ fans. Think about what this will do for the league. The NBA is designed where every team that has a bad year is given the equal opportunity to obtain a high position in the draft to improve their teams. When they do receive those players, we as the fans watch basketball to see the best and their respected teams face off against each other. This means we want to see every team gain a superstar so every night we have a great matchup to watch. Since they were in high school, fans love the matchup between Anthony and James because it stirs up a lot of controversy of who is the best — especially with Kobe Bryant creeping toward retirement. This sport is about competition, not domination.
There are a lot of teams looking to land Anthony, but one that stands out the most is the Chicago Bulls. This is a team that has the recipe to push James and Miami off their throne with their physical toughness. The only thing missing is a player other than Derrick Rose who can serve as an offensive threat on the other end and guard James straight up. That person could be Anthony.