June 25, 2014 by Ell and Mike Sports
Free Agency has not even began yet, but the media is buzzing around Carmelo Anthony’s choice to opt out of his contract with the New York Knicks. There are many teams trying to make cap space for one of the league’s superstars. There have been numerous sources that Lebron James and Carmelo want to team up and play together. Will that happen this off season? That remains to be seen but let’s go through the teams vying for Carmelo and who presents the best options for him.
Many believe that Chicago has the best shot at landing Carmelo because of the pieces they have at hand. Reigning defensive player Joakim Noah is one of the best big men in the game with his great defensive ability and good passing from the high post. Noah is also a great rebounder offensively and defensively. The Bulls also have arguably the best point guard in the NBA, when healthy, Derrick Rose. Rose is recovering from back to back knee injuries and a lot of people are questioning if he will recover and still be the dynamic player that he was. With Rose Noah and Carmelo, the Bulls would become instant title contenders. With Bulls coach, Tom Thibodeau, focus on the defensive end he could really get Carmelo engaged defensively and fix the biggest weakness in Anthony’s game. The Bulls would have to do a sign and trade with the Knicks or free up some cap room to land Carmelo Anthony. The biggest issue with the Bulls remains the relationship between the head coach and the GM. Would Melo want to step into an organization that is unstable?
The Houston Rockets are over the salary cap, but they can move a few pieces to get under the cap and sign Carmelo to a max free agent deal. This would involve moving PG Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and/or Chandler Parsons. If GM Daryl Morey can make some deals to free up the cap room, this would be a young Big 3 that would be very potent and probably become favorites out west. The Rockets biggest problem though is defense, would adding another scorer really help them? Who knows, but Melo, Harden and Dwight does sound good together. The Rockets have a nice group of role players, as well, so this is also a team for Melo to consider.
New York Knicks:
While the Knicks are a little down that Carmelo has opted out, they still have to feel optimistic about their chances of reeling their all star back in. Carmelo had a great meeting with Phil Jackson and new head coach Derek Fisher before opting out. The Knicks are really handcuffed this off season with the contracts of Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire still on the books, but next off season, the Knicks could be huge winners because they will have a ton of cap space and money to spend. If Carmelo wants to stick with what he knows, and wait a year to be a serious title contender, then this is not a bad option. The Knicks also can pay Anthony more money than any team.
For the Miami Heat to Land the services of Carmelo, it would take a lot of changes. First, the Heat would have to free up a lot of cap space. That would take all 3 Heat players opting out of their current deals and taking less money to return to Miami for them to play with Melo. All four superstars would have to make between 10-13 million each for the Heat. While this is not impossible, it is not probable. I don’t believe all the superstars would be willing to take massive pay cuts, knowing they could be paid more elsewhere. Winning is a big key and with all four of them together it would make for a pretty deadly combination.
The Mavericks have some cap space and money to spend. I’m pretty sure they will be looking to pair someone with Dirk Nowitzki. While they do have the money, I don’t believe the Mavs have the roster that Melo would like to play with, so I eliminate them right away.
The Lakers have many things working for them. They have a bonafide superstar, Kobe Bryant, and money to spend. Kobe and Carmelo are close friends and I am sure they probably have discussed the idea of teaming up. There are a few major issues with the Lakers though. The roster for the Lakers is pretty much full of low tier bench players and if the Lakers sign Melo, then that leaves no room for them to upgrade their roster other than through the draft and trades. While I do not think Melo would mind playing with Kobe, I don’t believe he will like their roster strength and ultimately says no to the city of angels.
Being that Carmelo Anthony is a star in the NBA there will be many teams trying to get him. A lot of things will weigh into his decision but if winning is main thought then there is clearly one way to go with his decision to me. The Chicago Bulls are clearly the best option for him give him the best team for him to win now. They have a great big man, and superstar already in place, and their coach will challenge him to become better defensively. The Bulls instantly become title contenders and most like the favorite to come out of the East even if Miami keeps the Big 3!!