Carmelo Anthony has three likely destinations to end up at if he does not decide to stay in New York City. The Knicks can still sign Melo for a max contract of five years and $129 million, even though he officially opted out of the final year of his contract on Monday June 21. Melo is perhaps the biggest name on the free agent market this summer, especially if LeBron James decides to stay in South Beach. Anthony has been an all-star seven times in his NBA career and averaged a career high in rebounds last year of 8.1 per game, as well as a formidable 27.4 points per game for the New York Knickerbockers.
The first and most likely location that Carmelo Anthony will land in next year is Chicago. The Bulls are a large market team who have consistently made it to the playoffs the past few years, but because of injuries to Derrick Rose, among other factors, Chicago has not been able to win the Eastern Conference, let alone an NBA Championship. They already have one of the leagues most ferocious defenses and with the addition of Melo and a healthy Rose they could have an offense that matches up with almost any team in the league.
Anthony would likely have to take a pay cut to move to Chicago. With Noah, and possibly Taj Gibson on board with the Bulls next year, Melo would not be able to max out his contract for four years and $96 million. But that means Chicago would have a solid core to build a dynasty around and give Melo and company the coveted NBA Championship they so desire. Coach Tom Thibodeau is a passionate man who wants to win night in and night out in the NBA and has apparently already looked into how the star performs in practice by reaching out to some former coaches.
The second likeliest destination of the three, which Carmelo Anthony could explore in free agency, is perhaps going to Dallas. The Mavericks and their owner Mark Cuban are always a team looking for an edge, and a one who already have a consistent winning tradition. Also the Mavericks have the most cap room of all 30 teams in the National Basketball Association, as they are around $32 million under the line. Even if Melo took a max contract, the Mavs would still have over $8 million in cap flexibility to resign aging stars like Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas has always been a team built on offense so Anthony would be able to fit right into their system. Rick Carlisle could design a game plan that would leave lots of space on the floor for Melo to drive to the basket, as well as multiple isolation plays designed for both Melo and Nowitzki.
Finally the last likely option that Carmelo Anthony could go to next year is Houston. The Rockets would have to make some serious trades in order to land Melo. They do not have nearly as much cap room as Dallas, and are not a large market team like Chicago, but if they could sign Melo for a reduced contract, and keep both James Harden and Dwight Howard, they could have a new “Big Three” to rival any of the others out there.
The other problem with Houston would be Harden and Melo both love to shoot the ball and dictate play. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has come out and said Anthony would do anything to win an NBA title as he has already won it all at the International levels with team USA and in College at Syracuse, but it would be a very difficult first year for the Rockets to figure out their offense. Besides that, both Harden and Melo are not defensive first team all NBA caliber players, so they would have to be consistently relying on outscoring opponents every night on the court.
There are rumors that Melo could go to the Miami Heat if LeBron, Wade or Bosh decide to opt out of their contracts like Melo did. He could also resign with New York, but with the Knicks have no draft picks in the foreseeable future, so there is no chance of them consistently resupplying their team with new fresh talent to help out Melo. So there are of course other options for Carmelo Anthony, besides the three destinations of Chicago, Dallas and Houston, but they are much less likely.
Commentary by B. Taylor Rash