Where will Carmelo Anthony go?

Posted by Clevis Murray on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 with No comments
By Clevis Murray

Phil Jackson has begun his spring cleaning within the New York Knicks organization by tossing coaches out of the organization akin to how Uncle Phil would toss Jazz and others on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air television show. The firing of head coach Mike Woodson, long-time assistant coach Herb Williams and more is the first major move by Jackson since he became the President of the organization on March 18th and after telling the current team that "changes" will be made and most of them won't return next season, it makes us all question how his moves will impact 7 time All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. 

Anthony is expected to decline his $23.5 million player option for next season and become a free agent. The 2014 free agent class will potentially include the likes of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James but Anthony will be critiqued the most because he is likeliest one of others to leave his current team and with the way things started and ended in the city that never sleeps his departure isn't as far fetched as it seemed back in October/November.  

"He wants to be in a situation where he can start winning, and he is going to look at teams based on that,” a SportingNews source said. “Coaching is only a part of the equation."

Where will ‘Melo go this summer? The 6-foot-8, 235-pound professional scorer born in the Red Hook projects of Brooklyn New York could end up playing in the Windy City in the United Center aka the house that Jordan built. Anthony has also been rumored to end up with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets. All are great teams but the way Anthony plays he is better suited to team up with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah as he is the true missing piece to the puzzle in Chi-Towns championship aspirations. In the event that Anthony does leave the Knicks, he will become more scrutinized than LeBron James when he left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2010 on "The Decision." 

This season Anthony has flirted with the idea of going to Chicago more than any other team this season on countless occasions and has also been rumored to have the Bulls on his short list of teams he's interested in, he also showed admiration for the Bulls coaching staff.

"(The Bulls) have a great coach and system,” Anthony said. “It’s like Gregg Popovich’s system. You can put anyone in the system and it’s going to work. Guys have been in and out of the lineup and they still get it done." 

Chicago Bulls Head coach Tom Thibodeau heard about ‘Melo's comments and would go on to compliment and even recalled a few moments back to 2012 on the Team USA Olympic team, giving Anthony the highest praise a player could get and went into much detail about his game. 

"He can score so many different ways," Thibodeau said. "He can post up. He can catch-and-shoot. He can isolate. He can be the screener in a pick-and-roll. He can be the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll. He gets to the free-throw line. He’s a great offensive rebounder. If you overcommit your help, he probably doesn’t get enough credit for being a very good passer, particularly to the weakside corner. He can hurt you a lot of different ways. He can score the ball very easily. It doesn’t take him much to get going."

Thibodeau also wanted to shutdown the notion that Anthony is a selfish player that can't make plays. 

"It’s interesting because with USA Basketball, they talk about him being a playmaker," he said. "He scores and if a guy is open, he passes the ball. I think oftentimes it’s who he plays with. It’s interesting, a lot of the things that you hear about him, I heard about Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce before they came together and won it. That changes perception. Carmelo has been one of the elite scorers in the league for a long, long time."

Now with those comments having been said, those within the Bulls organization have become “increasingly optimistic” about acquiring 'Melo this season and with the NBA salary cap expected to increase by 7.7% which is an extra $5 million to all teams it makes the possibility of Anthony hearing the raspy voice of Tom Thibodeau on the sidelines a bigger possibility. In order to make a respectable offer to Anthony the front office will need to use the amnesty provision on 2 time All-Star forward Carlos Boozer, who has for some odd reason is disliked in the Chicago community and Bulls fans around the world. Chicago could also make a enticing offer to trade Boozer elsewhere as they have the 16th and 19th picks in this years hyped up draft; Boozer will become a free agent in 2015 as he will have one year left on his deal worth $16.8 million.

In his exit interview, Anthony who will turn 30 on May 29th said he's “not concerned about the money” and in all reality he shouldn't as he has earned $135.9 million just from his salary earnings which is excluding his endorsements. LeBron James and Dwight Howard sacrificed money to win and if he wants to that beautiful Larry O'Brien trophy in June then he must take a salary paycut which in all reality wouldn't hurt since he “wants to win.” 

Just like Phil Jackson said, Anthony had to "carry a big load" for NYK this season, but with the Bulls he wouldn't have to because him, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will form another "Big-3" along with perfect role players in Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin. As we've seen the past two seasons, the Bulls are a great regular season team with their blue dollar nitty gritty defense but come postseason time in a best-of-seven series they struggle to put the ball in the hole and knowing that it would be astute for ‘Melo to sign a possible deal with Chicago. Derrick Rose when healthy makes is what twitter calls them these days a "PointGod" but with his recent ACL and Meniscus injury he's been for from it but his absence has been a blessing in disguise as Chicago arguably has the best role players in the NBA as many have had career years in the past which should lure ‘Melo there.

Earlier in March, there was a reported conversation between Joakim Noah and Carmelo Anthony; but everything needed to be denied due to the possibility of tampering but then against the NBA inconsistently fines teams for that anyways.

Joakim Noah: “Look, you can go to Los Angeles. But if you want to win a ring, if you want your legacy to be about winning, come to Chicago.”

Carmelo Anthony: “Look, I’ve been watching you guys. I admire how hard you play. I admire how hungry you are. Oh, and by the way, my son’s favorite player: Derrick Rose.”

Just to add to that, reports came out that franchise guard Derrick Rose wants ‘Melo in a Bulls uniform and like I said before it makes total sense as they would take pressure off each other as well as compliment each other since both players operate from doing spaces on the floor and do something that the Bulls struggle to which is score at a high rate while playing lock down defense — ‘Melo isn't the best defender as he has a 107 Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and a 27.3 Defensive Win Shares (number of wins contributed due to defense).

A point worth noting is Anthony has never played with a respectable All-Star Point Guard that can score and distribute. Anthony most notably has played with Chauncey Billups back in Denver and also played with Allen Iverson but the difference from then and now is the situation is perfect because the Bulls players play for each other which would make Anthony and Rose the top 1-2 punch in the league with their background dancers behind them.  

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard gave Anthony some words of wisdom for free agency telling him what he should consider.

"He has been in the league for a long time," Howard said. "He hasn't made it to the Finals and at this point in his career he wants to win. You can see it every night when he plays. I know he has to take a lot of shots and all that stuff, but he just wants to win."

"I can't say (what he'll do)," Howard said. "That's on him. He's got to decide. (But) he can't be what everybody else wants. In this situation, you've got to take your heart out of it…So I'd just say for him, take his heart out of it and think with his head and think about business."

LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh left their bad situations to become the missing pieces to now championship teams and Anthony can do just that in a Bulls uniform and create a legacy for him known more than just a scorer.

James spent his first seasons on teams that were thought of to be championship contending teams during the regular season but in all reality weren't becasue James was so good he made his peers look like the best role players but once the playoffs came it was a different story as their true colors were shown. As for Bosh he was in Toronto which was never a championship team but just a traditional playoff team that makes it and gets eliminated in the 1st-round. Both James and Bosh seen the opporunity to team-up with Dwyane Wade in South Beach and the rest is history as the NBA's new dominate "Big-3" has been to the Finals in each of their first three seasons together going 2-1; and are looking to make it four this  postseason.  Both have solidified themselves as champions with a dream-like career and unlike Biggie Smalls, they don't have to wake up and say "It was all a dream" becasue they lived it.

Dwight Howard on the other hand forced his way out of Orlando after making the Finals in 2009 and Eastern Conference Finals in 2010 but after that there was tumultuous ending with the franchise as he had sage known as a "Dwightmare" becasue he wouldn't makeup a decision on where he wanted to play. After a brief stop with the Lakers, Howard signed with Houston to team-up with James Harden and a very young core of role players in H-Town in hopes of fulfilling his championship aspirations now that he feels himself again.

Both Howard and ‘Melo do share something in common, both have seen the blueprints that their peers have laid out and are trying to follow it correctly on their way to the top with some help on the way. If Anthony wants another ring next to his wedding then joining the Chicago Bulls this summer will be the best option for him. He will still be the same player but the difference is he'll have more help with players that know their role and are fine with it as they excel at it and also another joining another superstar in Derrick Rose would be a dream come true. ‘Melo has been flirting with Chicago all season but it's time for him to put his big boy pants on and go in for the kill.