Report: Suns looking to emerge as destination for LeBron, Carmelo

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Could James and Anthony join up in the desert?
Could LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony join up in the desert? (USATSI)

More Offseason Analysis: Coaching changes, news | Free Agency | Draft

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are the two big prizes of the 2014 summer of free agency. There are some teams looking to pry James away from the Miami Heat, promising a better future and the ability to separate himself from such a convincing NBA Finals loss from this past postseason. There are some teams looking to convince Anthony he can leave the ruins of a Knicks franchise for a real chance to win a championship during the rest of his prime. And there are a couple teams bold enough to try to sign both players this summer.

Add the Phoenix Suns to that list of bold teams. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Suns are looking to add themselves to the short list of destinations capable and willing to go get both All-Star forwards to team up the long-time friends. The Suns have plenty of assets and flexibility to get the job done if Anthony and James are interested in playing for Phoenix.

Armed with an offer that no else in the NBA can make – a chance to partner with Carmelo Anthony on an instant championship contender – the Phoenix Suns are planning an aggressive pursuit of LeBron James on Tuesday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Suns officials understand the bid will be something of a long shot, but are determined to get a meeting with James to convince him how the possibilities of two full max contracts, a roster stocked with talented, young players and the chance to pick the superstar free-agent partner of his choice ought to make Phoenix one of his most appealing suitors.

Phoenix is determined to emerge as a legitimate destination for James and Anthony, who have privately shared an affinity for playing with each other in the NBA. Salary-cap structures make it prohibitive for teams elsewhere to fit these two stars together without completely gutting a roster, but Phoenix's general manager Ryan McDonough has constructed a far different reality to sell them in potential meetings next week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

If the salary cap truly ends up around $62.3 million as has been projected, the Suns would have roughly $19.5 million in cap space to play with, assuming they re-sign Eric Bledsoe to a max deal, renounce the rights to their remaining free agents, and sign T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis to their rookie deals while Bogdan Bogdanovic stays in Europe to develop. That's clearly not enough to grab James and Anthony with max deals of their own. That number jumps to around $34 million in cap space if they don't bring back Bledsoe, of whom LeBron James is a fan.

Gerald Green, Alex Len, the Morris twins and Archie Goodwin could all be moved in trades that don't bring back contracts in an effort to move that salary cap room to $33.7 million while re-signing Bledsoe to a max contract this summer. The Suns have the flexibility to make it all work if James and Anthony are willing to take a little less to play alongside each other, but convincing James is the hardest part of this entire ordeal.

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