Credit: Today Sports
Much has been made of Carmelo Anthony’s upcoming free agency. There was a huge amount of excitement when he was dealt to the New York Knicks from the Denver Nuggets a few years ago, but not much good has followed since.
The team has yet to make a serious postseason run with Melo on the roster, and this season has been an absolute disaster.
Melo has a big decision on his hands; here are the five best destinations for the star scorer.
5. New York Knicks
All else equal, it’s clear that Melo likes the idea of playing in the Big Apple. He won a championship in college at Syracuse, and it would be a great story for him to bring an NBA title to New York as the member of the Knicks.
As if you weren’t already aware of how much of a mess the Knicks are, they’re making it painfully clear this season. It starts all the way at the top with Dolan, and carries down to the mismatched roster that has been poorly coached by Mike Woodson. The Knicks have shown Melo no reason to stay.
Does Melo really want to wait even longer for the Knicks to have some draft and financial flexibility to put a good team around him? Even if he is willing to wait, why have any faith that management won’t screw it up as they always do?
On the court, there’s no reason for Melo to stay. Still, Melo loves New York, which is enough to keep the Knicks on this list.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
There’s been a lot of chatter about Melo joining the Lakers. Much like New York, Los Angeles is a huge market where a successful Melo would get a lot of exposure and praise.
Basketball-wise, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense. The NBA is still planning on playing with only one basketball at a time next season, so it’s almost impossible to see a Melo/Kobe combination being functional.
If the Lakers weren’t in the glamorous Los Angeles, they probably wouldn’t be on this list at all.
3. Dallas Mavericks
Whenever there’s a big free agent on the market, you have to feel like Mark Cuban is going to try to get involved. You know he wants to give Dirk another run at a title, and maybe this is how that happens.
A Melo/Dirk pick and roll could be terrifying, but how Melo and Monta Ellis would mesh is a legitimate concern. The Mavericks could probably move Ellis for a more suitable, defensive minded wingman, but they might struggle to find somewhat equal value.
Unlike the Knicks, Melo would be an environment with a strong head coach and a smart, passionate owner. Dirk getting older could be worrisome, but and maybe Melo doesn’t want to keep going through the free agency process, but what’s the harm in a two year deal?
2. Phoenix Suns
Prior to the trade deadline, there was talk about the Phoenix Suns making a move for Pau Gasol. These young Suns have exceeded expectations this season, and in case you haven’t noticed, they’re a lot of fun. They seem to have something special with the Dragic/Bledsoe backcourt, and the supporting cast is more than capable.
A lot of people believe they just need one star to complete the squad. Why not Melo?
In Phoenix, Melo would have a supporting cast of Dragic, Bledsoe, Plumlee, the Morris twins, Frye, and Green. Emeka Okafor’s $14.5 million will come off the books, and much of this money could be used to grab Melo. It looks like they could make it work financially.
The concern: does Melo want to play in a place like Phoenix? Additionally, does Phoenix want to commit their franchise to him?
Regardless, the potential supporting cast is very good. Just saying.
1. Chicago Bulls
On the floor, this is probably the best fit.
Joakim Noah is the defensive minded center that would help make up for Melo’s shortcomings on that end of the floor. Jimmy Butler is the perfect wingman to guard the opponent’s best scorer on a nightly basis. A Boozer amnesty frees up the cap space, and Taj Gibson gives them another big who can defend and spread the floor a little.
Oh, and did I mention that Derrick Rose guy? He’s probably not an ideal match for Melo, but both players are talented enough to make it work. Meanwhile, a bench unit of Augustin, Dunleavy, Snell, Captain Kirk, and a free agent signing or two is capable.
Tom Thibodeau will make Melo fit in defensively. With Thibs, there’s no other choice.
The roster makes all the sense in the world. The bigger picture stuff? Maybe not.
The Chicago front office, who just traded Luol Deng for nothing, might be too cheap to amnesty Boozer. Also, there are rumblings about Thibs being unhappy with management and just how much longer he’ll be in town.
Carmelo Anthony has a big decision on his hands. This season is a lost cause, but this offseason should be a lot of fun.