Prediction: Melo makes the tough decision of leaving NY. The decision is between the Bulls or Lakers. A team in place, or a team with a legend and cap space. Going with the Bulls, stays in the Eastern Conference and he wouldn’t have to change a thing about his game.
Here are Carmelo Anthony’s options laid out, and each situation he is envisioning for the next handful of years.
The big deal with this, is that it wouldn’t be as big of a deal in terms of money. It’s the obvious destination to win, not only this season, rather contending for titles the next 5 years. With the Knicks, it’s all about a plan and the best contract offer, but part of that depends on a 34-year-old Gasol and luring free agents next off-season. With the Lakers, playing alongside a living legend on a historic franchise with cap room to get him help immediately. With the Bulls, a team is already in place and his services appear to be the missing link to bring a title back to Chicago.
Yes, you very well should believe the Miami Heat are dialing Melo’s number to possibly replace Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade. This may be news it may not, but this is a business and Pat Riley is one of the best business men. Cutting ties with Wade is becoming more of an option as the picture gets clearer, and that may be best-case scenario for them. Wade isn’t able to play as much, and would probably be better off taking a back seat as a starter, or adapting to a new sixth man role. However, I do believe James is strongly considering returning to Cleveland, that is my prediction on the King. As for his teammate Bosh, I do believe he returns to Texas and signs that max contract offer to join the Rockets.
Back to Melo.
Carmelo Anthony has expressed his desire to win. The New York media and fan base believes they have gotten to know Melo well enough, that he is tempted by bigger dollar signs and it’s true, he does love NY. The thing is however, there would only be two plans he could possibly trust Phil Jackson in carrying out. Both would involve free agents, say LeBron James if he only signs a 1-2 year deal, or Kevin Durant when he hits the market in 2016.
Other than those plan A’s, Melo and La-La can grow their business ventures by taking his talents elsewhere. The Knicks present a team consisting of stop-gap players, a rookie coach, and a rookie executive. Not to disrespect Jackson, the great coach found a way to rid a couple contracts in Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, while acquiring a trio of draft picks after starting out with none. NY acquired point guard Jose Calderon in the Chandler/Felton trade, as well as defensive-oriented center Samuel Dalembert and young point guard Shane Larkin. Plans appear to be all the Knicks have to sell to Melo, keeping their star player is becoming more of a long shot the longer he takes to make a decision (to me at least).
One of those plans that is getting big man Pau Gasol to leave one coast for the other. Jackson coached Gasol and the Lakers to win championships, which includes new coach Fisher. Another familiar face is the newly acquired Jose Calderon, both play for their native team of Spain.
Understanding the family aspect is one thing, as are the business and basketball aspects of this decision.
If it really is between the Knicks and Lakers, well Anthony has a home near the Staples Center, which featured more winning that the historic Madison Square Garden. The difference between both rosters, the Black Mamba and the fact that L.A. has the money to make moves immediately. New York would put together whatever they could this season, while banking on their cap space a year from now. The Lakers are going all-out to return to being the Lake Show, Kobe Bryant had some words and scrimmage time with the coveted free agent. It’s absolutely intriguing to play with one of the best players of all time. Bryant is still hooping at a high level, he’s a champion and Hall of Famer, playing with him and getting the torch to become the face of the City of Angels is weighing heavy on his mind. Gasol is expected to re-sign with the Lakers if Melo hops on board. Thing is, you would be counting on Kobe putting off father time for the remaining two years on his contract, after all he has been banged up the past two years. Also, they don’t have a coach yet, they will look to a veteran coach but that chemistry may take time to build on. Then, with only four players on the roster, the goal would be to fill the roster with a capable supporting cast, that’s if you believe Melo & Mamba can play with one basketball.
The Bulls could go as high at 76$ million, not even close to L.A.’s $97 million and N.Y.’s $129 million (with an extra year). Put it this way, if it’s about winning then Chicago is the odds-on favorite to land the scorer. Melo has been around Bulls’ coach Tom Thibodeau during the Olympics, Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah has been recruiting him since All-Star Weekend, returning MVP Derrick Rose worked out during his visit, Sixth Man runner-up and Defensive Team honorary Taj Gibson was at the meeting and is a big part of the future. Some other complimentary pieces are set in place to make the transition as smooth as possible: up-and-coming guard Jimmy Butler, rookie scorer Doug McDermott, and whatever backup point guard that will be on the roster will be able to score (as we’ve witnessed over the last few years).
I expect an announcement on Tuesday, and at the very latest, Wednesday. Stay tuned.