As we all know by now, Carmelo Anthony is the biggest fish in this years free agent pond. Multiple teams have been making pitches and entertaining the All Star forward over the past few days. These teams include the Bulls, Rockets, Lakers, Knicks, and last but definitely not least, the Mavericks. Based on the information given by teams on how their meetings with Melo went, and how he would fit into a team’s system, I have given each team odds on if Carmelo will come to their organization.
The Chicago Bulls met with Anthony on Tuesday and gave him a full day of entertainment and pitches. He met with Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, All Star center Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and of course, the injury prone Derrick Rose. They told Anthony that the Bulls were his best shot at a title right now and that he was going to be the player that would lead the team to the trophy. In my opinion, the Bulls did a great job at pulling out all the stops and unifying as an organization for Anthony, but being flashy doesn’t win titles. Carmelo is an offensive minded player and would not fit well in Tom Thibodeau’s defense first system. He will want Anthony to focus primarily on defense and will discourage him from playing iso ball on offense. Also, will Derrick Rose be okay with Anthony being the number 1 option on offense? Can he even stay healthy for the whole season? While the Bulls seem like a good choice at first glance, multiple red flags come into play when diving deeper. The biggest thing they do have going for them though, is the being in the depleted Eastern Conference. If Carmelo Anthony wants the easiest path to the NBA Finals, he will choose Chicago.
The Houston Rockets met with the All Star forward on Wednesday and gave him a very similar meeting to the one they gave Dwight Howard last offseason. They showed him how he would look in a Rockets uniform and showed him a picture of himself holding the Larry O’Brien trophy. Anthony was told that he was the missing piece and that if he came to Houston the team could compete for the next 4-5 years. While the idea of playing with one of the best shooting guards in the league in James Harden, and debatably the best center in Dwight Howard is extremely enticing, it may not be the best fit. James Harden took 17 shots a game last season while Howard took 11, Melo alone let it fly 21 times a game last season for the Knicks. If these 3 ultimately join forces, someone will have to take a backseat role on offense. Anthony and Harden would fight over the first option spot and Howard could be pushed out of the offense almost completely. Sounds kind of like the 2012 Lakers doesn’t it? Although, having 2 All Stars in their prime is a good start and maybe all 3 of them can find a way to make it work.
The Dallas Mavericks got their meeting with the 2013 scoring champion on Wednesday as well. He was greeted by Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki. The pitch from the Mavericks organization seemed much more mature than those of other teams. There was no photoshopped banners of Melo in a Dallas uniform or pictures of him holding the trophy. There was only a dinner and clear-cut facts. Anthony was told that the Mavericks were the best fit for him and that a title would be on the horizon. On the analytical side of things, Carmelo would be a perfect fit in Dallas. Dirk is willing to be a second option and Monta Ellis wants to win no matter what role he plays, as we saw this past season. Also, Head coach Rick Carlisle would change his system to fit whatever team he’s handed come next season. He always has. (See Mavericks roster past 5 years) But regardless of who is on the roster, he finds a way to make it work and win. The Mavericks also recently acquired Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton, Carmelo’s good friends from the Knicks who he knows and has chemistry with. If Anthony were to come to Dallas he wouldn’t have to fight for his spot, he would have a system tailored to his skills, and he would have the best fans in the world. What’s not to love? At the same time, this is Carmelo Anthony.
Los Angeles Lakers
Don’t worry this won’t take long. The Lakers meet with Carmelo today and will be giving him the best pitch they can but it’s hard not to ask, what is there to pitch? The only good thing about the Lakers is Kobe and Nash and they may or may not be healthy for the whole season. They don’t have a good coach or the ability to win within the next 5 years. If Melo were to pick the Lakers he would be the whole team. It would be Knicks 2.0.
New York Knicks
Here is where things get tricky. Carmelo Anthony has played for the Knicks for the past four seasons and has roots in the city. His family lives there and they seem happy with their life. But if he wants to win, the Knicks are not the right choice. The Knicks just shipped out all their talent to the Mavericks, except J.R Smith, and have recently hired first year coach Derrick Fisher. If Melo were to stay in New York, the line up would be Calderon, Smith, Anthony, Stoudemire, and Dalembert. That is not a winning line up. The main reason he would choose to stay in New York would be for the fact that they can offer him the most money. While he would be able to run the team and make a lot of cash, Anthony wants to win a title, and New York is not the place to do it.