Carmelo Anthony has a big decision to make. Leave New York, the city that he dreamed of playing in, while being miserable in Denver. Leave New York, the city that never sleeps, and that never slept on him until he finally put on that number “7” jersey for the Knicks. Give up being arguably the number one sports figure, in the world’s number one city. If that isn’t enough, try losing roughly $30 million on for size. At the end of the 2014-15 season, the seven time all-star will be an unrestricted free agent. The Knicks look to be the best option if Melo’s intentions are simply making money, or if he still has the love for New York despite the terrible season they’re having.
The Knicks look to be able to offer Anthony a contract worth around $127 million. That looks to be $30 million more than any other team would be able to offer. So, the Knicks seem to be in good shape. Right? Great city, and more money, but there are two things the Knicks can’t offer Melo right now. A viable superstar, that can be a second option alongside Melo, and a realistic chance to win a championship any time soon.
A contract that large would hurt the Knicks pursuit of both even further. The Knicks have been handcuffed for years from being able to make any significant deals, because of bad contracts and misspent money. The Knicks, now look to also be in search of a coach, once the season ends. Head coach, Mike Woodson, is almost certainly on the way out after only two seasons, and it seems the Knicks are targeting Phil Jackson to be his replacement. Jackson, who hasn’t coached a game since the Lakers lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, reportedly turned down an offer to be the head coach starting next season. It has also been reported, that the Knicks may be contemplating offering Jackson a position in the front office. A position that would basically give him control of the Knicks everyday basketball operations. It’s questionable to say the least, whether the Knicks would be willing to give such a title to Jackson, but it would be a humongous step in the right direction, if he were to say yes.
I honestly think Phil would listen, and what a feather in the Knicks cap that could be in their hopes of re-signing Carmelo. It’s the popular belief around NBA circles, that Jackson wants to run a team, but how much control would he actually have. As much as I think Phil would listen, I also think the Knicks are too stubborn to actually give it to him. You don’t get to be this bad an organization without being very stubborn.
So, is Melo’s love for the Big Apple and a larger payday enough? Who knows. Dwight Howard, a player who knows all about situations like this, has reportedly consulted Anthony. It’s a very similar situation, that Howard was in just a year ago. Most people assumed Howard would remain a Laker, because L.A. could pay much more than anyone else, and because of their winning tradition. However, Howard, took a substantial pay cut by signing with the Houston Rockets. The move ultimately sent the Lakers to the Western Conference basement, and has propelled the Rockets to heights they haven’t seen since the mid – 1990’s. The Knicks look to be much worse next season, than a healthy Lakers team would have looked this season.
It’s not like Melo won’t have a lot of teams beating down his door to acquire him. There have been rumors that the Lakers, Mavericks, Bulls, and others will all be on Melo’s doorstep at the end of the season, trying to woo him into playing for them. The two scenarios that make the most sense are the Lakers and Bulls. L.A. needs another star player to play alongside Kobe Bryant. Who knows exactly what Kobe we’ll see next season. So, it conceivably could be Melo’s team. L.A. is also a very large market, that has all the glitz and glamour to go with it. Anthony’s wife, LaLa, is reportedly very fond of living on the west coast. The Lakers could also make a huge turn around, and be contender if all of their other pieces are healthy. It makes a lot of sense, IF Carmelo wants a chance to contend for an NBA title anytime soon. While, L.A. makes an awful lot of sense, it doesn’t make the most sense. Anthony, and the Chicago Bulls could be a match made in Heaven. If you don’t believe me, just ask Bulls center, Joakim Noah.
Reportedly, Noah did a little bit of wooing of his own at the NBA All-Star game. Apparently, the two all-stars had a conversation, in which Noah told Melo, if he wanted to win a title and secure his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players, the Windy City is the place he should be. I can’t argue with him. The Bulls need a scorer. Melo, not only would fill that need, but he would also fill the Bulls biggest hole. Small forward. The Bulls would immediately be considered one of the top contenders in not only the Eastern Conference, but the entire NBA. Melo, would benefit by not only playing with a contender, but also being on a team with strong leadership on and off the floor. In Denver, under George Karl’s coaching and playing alongside veterans like Chauncey Billups, the Nuggets went to the conference finals. Melo, played some of his best ball there. Head coach, Tom Thibodeau, who is a leading candidate for coach of the year honors this season, is just the type of coach that could get the best out of Anthony again. Players like Noah not only provide leadership, but is also a very good player on both ends of the floor. Not to mention, Derrick Rose will be back. Rose, Anthony, and Noah could be Chicago’s own ‘Big 3’. And oh by the way, Chicago, while maybe not New York or L.A., has its share of glitz and glamour also. Chicago is also one of the best sports town’s in the country, with some of the most loyal fans around.
So, while the New York Knicks have a lot more ‘green’ to throw at him than any other NBA team, I think at this point in Carmelo Anthony’s career the pasture is definitely greener on the other side. Or, at least on Chicago’s west side, that is.