As we reach the second full week of free agency in the NBA, the signings have been minimal, and the big fish are still out there. One of them is Carmelo Anthony, who appears to be now leaning to the Lakers, if he doesn’t re-sign with New York.
Sorry Bulls fans
It appears as if the Carmelo Anthony to Chicago chatter has died down significantly since a week ago, and even though he still has a shot to go there, it would seem as if another suitor has entered the fold. According to a Yahoo Sports report a few days ago, as well as a similar report from ESPN’s Bill Simmons, Carmelo Anthony could be leaning towards heading to the Lakers. He would, of course, have to take a pay cut from his five-year offer from New York, however the Lakers have plenty of money to offer him the four-year $95 million max he can get with other teams. The Bulls and Rockets can't offer that much without gutting their teams.
Even though LA doesn’t have much of a team right now, the Lakers make a lot of sense for Melo. He gets to play with Kobe Bryant and maybe even turn Kobe into the second fiddle, something he hasn’t felt in over a decade. Leaving out the drama and intrigue that would bring back to the Lakers, I could see it working out. If the Lakers signed Melo to a max deal, they would still have to get creative with their roster, however a quick salary dump or buyout of Steve Nash would free up some space to go after some guys to bolster the roster this very season. The Knicks cannot offer him contention in 2014-2015, but the Lakers might be able to offer getting back to the playoffs.
Even though I don’t think it’s the best move to make, (staying in New York still looks like a slightly better option) going to Los Angeles makes since. The team has always retooled their rosters quickly, and even though he might be in a rebuilding year regardless of whether he goes to LA or stays in NY, the Lakers are definitely a lot less cap strung, especially if Kobe is healthy heading into the season.
If somehow the Lakers were able to snag Carmelo and waive Nash somehow, they would still have about $12-13 million to spend this offseason to round out the roster, and then even more if they went into the luxury tax again. However, we have seen these Lakers experiments blow up in the past, so would signing Melo to a max deal be the Dwight Howard saga but about $95 million worse?
I believe that potential outcome firmly lies in the hands of Kobe. If these recent injury woes to Bryant have humbled him enough to cede some control of the Lakers to another superstar, I think it may workout. Carmelo and Kobe’s games would mesh well together, and even though the offense would probably still be run through Kobe, I see both of them as first options. Signing Anthony to a max deal might not be enough to bring a championship to LA, and it might not even be enough to make the Lakers a playoff team next season, however it would be interesting to see if they could somehow quickly build a contender around the two superstars.
As I stated above however, in the end, I think Carmelo is leaning towards staying in the Big Apple. He wouldn’t have to share in the spotlight, and right now the Knicks may be in a slightly better situation after the 2014-2015 season. Once Andrea Bargnani and Amare Stoudemire come off the books, the Knicks could bring in one of the many superstars who are set to be free agents one year from now. Oh, and did I mention he would get another $30 million?
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