According to sources that ESPN is citing, Carmelo Anthony will opt out of the final year of his contract in New York. Obviously, this is not a surprise, but it’s huge news. I’m gonna try to break down that this does for the entire league.
First of all, there’s no way that Carmelo is going back to New York unless another huge free agent joins him. Considering that the Knicks don’t have the cap space to sign anyone, thanks to the albatross contracts that they have in Andrea Bargnani, JR Smith, Raymond Felton, and of course, Amare Stoudamire, this essentially means that Carmelo is leaving the Knicks. Knicks fans might believe otherwise, saying things like “We’re the Knicks, we can always get players,” but they’re wrong here. New York is done for at least a year, but they can probably go HAM next summer when there may be a ton of free agents on the table. But they’d be best served by trying to trade JR Smith for anything they can and then paying Raymond Felton’s lawyer to be terrible at his job in order to clear their cap sheet next summer. The Knicks have been bad for so long, what’s another year in order to improve in the future?
Next, we’ll see how this affects Miami. I don’t think there’s much of a chance that Carmelo would go to Miami, but I guess it’s possible. I also don’t see him playing with LeBron, simply because both guys play the same position (even if LBJ can do anything). I think that Carmelo is gonna go to the Bulls, but I question how good of a fit that is. Tom Thibodeau is all about defense, and neither Derrick Rose nor Carmelo Anthony share that sentiment. Maybe Melo could go to Houston and create the worst defensive swingmen duo ever with James Harden, or he could go to Dallas and trust a good coach and good team management.
Based on what I’ve heard, it sounds like the city and culture matters a lot to Carmelo. He apparently has been asking people what it’s like to be famous in Chicago, and that kind of thinking probably rules out places that would be great for basketball but bad for his personal brand. But here are 2 that I’m thinking of for him… What about Washington, and what about our very own Boston? If the C’s do actually get Kevin Love, that would be a great pair for Carmelo to partner with. Rondo passes, Love creates space, and the organization has good management. The C’s would have to be creative about making cap room, but they could do it.
And in Washington, well, I admit that I’m thinking of this one more just because the Wizards need a swing man — I don’t actually know if this is a good fit. They do have Wall, Beal, Nene, and maybe Gortat and/or Ariza if they return, and they do have the cap space to get Anthony and maybe 1 of those 2 guys, especially if they’re willing to cut the plug with Otto Porter and his $4.5M salary on a team who wants to take a chance on him. They might even get a good bench player out of the deal, because some rebuilding team would definitely go for 2013’s number 3 overall pick.
At this point in the column, I was thinking that there would be a few more teams to look for with Carmelo. But now I’m realizing that there actually aren’t. Looks like it’s Chicago and Houston at the top, and then maybe Dallas, and then maybe Boston, or Washington. I don’t buy Miami because of LeBron right now, and I don’t buy Cleveland because of LeBron a few years ago. Why would Carmelo want to be a worse version of “LeBron Part 2” in Cleveland? My money is on Chicago, if only because a lot of NBA experts seem to think so.