Free agency begins on July 1, and Carmelo Anthony is going ahead with his plans to hear what everyone has to offer. He’ll begin by meeting with the Chicago Bulls, probably his favorite option among the three, before heading down to Texas a day later and meeting with both the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.
After that? Maybe the Los Angeles Lakers, probably the Los Angeles Lakers. Unless he’s pitched with something that blows his mind. Meeting with the New York Knicks? His team for the last three and a half seasons is quite optimistic that the combination of having Phil Jackson, the ability to offer Anthony more money and simply being New York which means not moving a family puts them in an excellent position to keep Anthony.
While the Chicago Bulls seem to be very interested in the All-Star forward, who averaged 27.4 points per game last season, we’re not going to see players like Derrick Rose recruiting Anthony. Joakim Noah? That’s a different matter, but it’s going to be the offer and future the front office and maybe the head coach sell to Anthony that will determine where he prefers to go, and see with which priority each team clicks.
Championship? All three teams were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. On paper, both the Bulls and the Rockets seem better built to succeed. The Bulls are also in the Eastern conference, which means that on paper, it might be easier to go far in the postseason, although there are still the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers of the world to consider.
The Rockets have two All-Star players in James Harden and Dwight Howard which could be a very strong selling point. They have an owner willing to spend a lot of money and at least briefly hit the luxury tax and Kevin McHale, despite not being a very good coach, is the kind of figure, with hall of fame credentials and three NBA titles as a player that some want to work for.
The Mavs? Like the Bulls, they have an excellent head coach in Rick Carlisle. The problem is the roster. They have cap space, and they’ll re-sign Dirk Nowizki. They have Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler. Is that enough to satisfy the championship needs and dreams of Carmelo Anthony? Whether the answer is yer or no might determine his final decision. What we all know is that all three teams are in better shape than the Lakers, who have a dysfunctional partnership with Kobe Bryant and plenty of cap space to offer.