Carmelo Anthony: 2013-14 Salary ($21,390,000)
Potential Suitors: Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks
Not only did they go all-out with the signs, but according to BasketballInsiders, Derrick Rose went through a private workout to show Carmelo that he was 100% healthy. Additionally, at the meeting, Noah, Rose and Gibson were present. After touring the facility and having their meeting, the group went to eat dinner with Tom Thibodeau, Jerry Reinsdorf and Scottie Pippen all in attendance as well.
Not only do they present the best fit in terms of two sides needing each other, but the Bulls have a championship caliber roster that they wouldn’t have to gut to bring Carmelo in. Derrick Rose the 2011 MVP will be back and healthy and the reigning defensive player of the year in Joakim Noah will be there as well. According to reports from KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, both the Bulls and Carmelo want to keep Taj Gibson around as well. The Bulls need offense and Melo needs a championship and a defensive core around him. It’s the perfect fit. As of now the Bulls have 65.5 million on the books not including Doug McDermott’s future salary, which projects to be around 2.3 million. That leaves the Bulls with around (and all of this is rough math) 67.8 million – approximately 4.6 above the salary cap. The Bulls can only do one thing to clear the space to sign Carmelo if they want to keep Taj Gibson and that is amnesty Carlos Boozer. Apparently the front-office doesn’t want to let him go with nothing in return but if both sides want Gibson on the team next year, there is no trade package they could put together that would clear enough space to bring in Melo. Amnestying Boozer is the only way and I think if they really want to keep Gibson, we’ll see Boozer gone soon. Once Boozer is amnestied, the Bulls could offer Carmelo 15 million a year, but according to Chris Broussard, Carmelo isn’t willing to take that little. The next step would be to trade either Butler or Mike Dunleavy, but the Bulls would obviously prefer to trade Dunleavy as Butler has proven to be an absolute lockdown defender on the perimeter. Dunleavy also makes a million more than Butler and can clear more space for the Bulls if he’s traded. If Dunleavy is traded, the Bulls can offer Carmelo around 18 million a year – a figure Carmelo would gladly accept. Their roster would then look like Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah with Doug McDermott and possibly Kirk Hinrich and D.J Augustin off the bench. To me that looks like the next NBA champion.
The Lakers are in an interesting position because as of right now, they only have Robert Sacre, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and the newly drafted Julius Randle (inevitably) under contract. Between those 4, they have (with Randle earning 120% of his rookie scale price) $37,113,603 on the books. Kent Bazemore is an unrestricted free agent, and Ryan Kelly is restricted, while Kendall Marshall is unguaranteed going into next season. Nick Young is also unrestricted but is looking to sign with the Lakers. If Carmelo were to sign for the max of 22.4 million dollars, he’d be leaving the Lakers with around 4 million and change to spend on the rest of the roster. We’re not even sure Steve Nash is going to be healthy next season and how Kobe Bryant will fare after playing only 6 games dating back to April 12th, 2013. The team would be pretty bad to say the least. There is too much uncertainty. Health concerns not only to Nash and Bryant but Randle and his foot. We’re not sure how Randle will even play in his rookie season. There is too many “what if’s” if I’m Carmelo. A team of Kobe, Carmelo, Julius Randle and…. isn’t enough to win a championship. Carmelo also has to think about how he and Kobe will co-exist as both are considered to be the two best isolation offensive players in the league. Carmelo is leaving a team in New York that is about to rebuild and going to Los Angeles would be leaving for the sake of leaving. The Lakers haven’t even been linked to any big name free agents at the moment and with Kobe retiring in 2 years, there is limited time to win a championship.
I hope Carmelo sees the poor fit he’d have in Houston. Carmelo, Harden and Howard all need the ball to have an affect on the game. They all love to get touches. They’re all for the most part isolation players. Sure, the Rockets would have the most explosive offense in the league but bringing Carmelo in makes the already poor defense even worse. However, I think the names will blind both sides from properly realizing what they’d be if the two sides came together. The Rockets would have to trade Jeremy Lin to acquire Carmelo – the same situation if they wanted to acquire LeBron.
Carmelo is not going to re-sign in New York. I don’t know why he would unless he also signs a 1-2 year extension the same length as LeBron and they could very well align their free agency again for another run together in 2016 or 2017. Carmelo wants to win now, he’s 30, and he doesn’t have time to rebuild with the Knicks or wait a year. Every year counts when your legacy is riding on it. Phil Jackson also played this all wrong. The only incentive to re-signing with New York would be the 5 year, 129 million dollar deal they could offer him. However, Phil has been adamant that the Knicks will not be offering Carmelo the max so what’s in it for Carmelo? He won’t get paid in New York and he won’t win, so what does the Knicks pitch really have going for them besides the possibility that Derek Fisher is a great coach and that the Knicks have lots of cap space for next summer.
The Mavericks are meeting with Carmelo Anthony today but the chances of the Mavericks signing Carmelo, is very very unlikely for so many reasons, it makes me laugh that the Mavericks think they even have a chance. Here’s reason number 1: The Mavericks just acquired Raymond Felton, the worst starting point guard in the league and a big reason the Knicks sucked so much last year. 2. The Mavericks are in the Western Conference, which is just exponentially harder than the East if he were to play on the Bulls. 3. The Mavericks have just under 29 million in cap space and are definitely going to re-sign Dirk. So if Dirk was feeling absolutely generous he could take 12 million? 10 less than last year and give Carmelo 17 million, but that’s probably too little for Carmelo. So Dirk could take 10 million? And leave Carmelo 19 million? That could work but Dirk taking 12 million less seems unlikely. The Mavericks have said they are not giving max contracts so it also lessens their chances if that’s what Carmelo wants. 4. The Mavericks would hypothetically, if they signed Carmelo, have three high volume, high usage, offensive players who need the ball; Dirk, Monta and Carmelo. Three players who love the ball and three players who don’t play defense, that doesn’t sound like a winning formula to me. The Mavericks will not sign Carmelo.
Where will he go?
The Bulls need scoring and Carmelo needs a championship contender who can hide his defensive lapses. Chicago would provide him with the best chance of winning a championship. Not only would he be playing in the East, but he’d be with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. A starting five of those guys instantly makes them the best team in the Eastern Conference and a probable lock for the Finals given everybody stays healthy. The Bulls would be bringing Dunleavy, McDermott and whoever they use their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions on off the bench. Carmelo would be surrounded by a deep, talented roster and would be on the best defensive team in the NBA, which is something he needs around him. Carmelo wouldn’t have to adjust his game to play with the Bulls because besides Rose, nobody else in the starting lineup is offensive minded. All the Bulls need to do now is amnesty Boozer.