Remember the Melo Drama of a couple years ago? It looks like it's back and better than ever. With Carmelo Anthony becoming a free agent at the end of the month and things in New York looking a little bleak with the Knicks, Anthony could be looking for new suitors and championship-ready teams to hopefully join this summer for the next stage of his career. It looks like he's already leaning toward a couple of teams.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Anthony was relatively unfazed by a recent meeting with the Knicks' brass and is leaning toward leaving the Knicks for a much better team. The top two teams from the article are the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets, who both need to clear the necessary cap space first.
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is leaning toward leaving in pursuit of immediate championship contention, and awaits the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets to clear the necessary salary-cap space to sign him in free agency, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
As re-signing with the Knicks continues to fade as his priority, Chicago and Houston have emerged as the clear frontrunners to acquire Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Anthony's meeting with Knicks officials on Friday night had little impact on his state of mind, league sources said, because there remain too many uncertainties about how quickly president Phil Jackson can reshape the team into a championship contender.
The Knicks' horrendous season in 2013-14 -- in which they not only failed to build on the successful 54-win season the year before but managed to miss the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference completely -- was probably eye-opening to Anthony. Even after hiring Phil Jackson to shape the roster and Derek Fisher to coach the team, the roster needs a lot of work and reworking in order to start approaching a championship contention. Anthony turned 30 a couple weeks ago and this will be his last contract in which he's capable of being a major player.
If the salary cap is going to be around $62 million like has been projected over the last couple months, that leaves the Bulls needing to clear roughly $20 million in room in order to sign him. They can take care of a big chunk of that money by using the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer, who is slated to make $16 million next season, according to ShamSports.com. They'd also have to renounce the rights to their current free agents (Kirk Hinrich, D.J. Augustin, Jimmer Fredette, among others) and probably find a home for Mike Dunleavy's $3.3 million contract for next season without taking anything back.
It's quite doable without even turning it into a sign-and-trade, although that would make it easier to work something out.
The Rockets' situation is much more complicated. They have a little over $62 million committed to the salary cap next season, putting them right up against the projected number. They have Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik on expiring deals but would probably have to package a draft pick or two with each player to move them for next to nothing in return. The Rockets would also have to figure out just how necessary it is to keep Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones, and Patrick Beverley in some combination unless Anthony is willing to take less money to keep some depth to the roster.