Apr 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots a free throw against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Knicks beat the Raptors 108-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Three teams have emerged as possible NBA destinations for Carmelo Anthony. What do they have to offer the 30-year old All-Star?
New York Knicks: The most money and championship pedigree of Phil Jackson
From the very beginning of NBA free agency the New York Knicks expressed deep confidence that they would retain Carmelo Anthony. The source of that came from their ability to offer him the most money, first and foremost. A maximum contract would total $129 million across five years, something no other team can match. At the same time it’s impossible to ignore the presence of new team president Phil Jackson. His remarkable success across a Hall of Fame career in winning 11 championships has to appeal to any play. Anthony is no exception, and the fact that Jackson has expressed desire to have him back was a good sign as well.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol along with max contract
Of the three primary suitors for Anthony, the Los Angeles Lakers emerged late in the game. They were his last free agency stop and didn’t waste their opportunity. According to sources the Lakers immediately offered Melo a max contract of four years and $96 million. Also included in that package was the chance to play with Kobe Bryant who understands how to win championships better than anybody and also the firm belief that if Anthony comes to Los Angeles that veteran forward Pau Gasol would return as well. It’s alluring on paper for sure, but it’s also a risk considering Bryant and Gasol are both well into their mid-30s.
Chicago Bulls: Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose with instant title contention
There is no question that of the three NBA destinations open to him, Carmelo Anthony would have the most immediate chance to win a championship with the Chicago Bulls. He would play under a proven head coach in Tom Thibodeau whose defensive system is one of the best in pro basketball. On the court Anthony would have star point guard Derrick Rose, Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah and rising talent Taj Gibson on the floor with him. Add in the fact that unit would be facing the pitiful Eastern Conference and it’s easy to like Chicago as a destination for multiple title shots. The only drawback is salary cap constraints. The Bulls can free up enough money to pay Anthony a four-year $70 million deal, considerably less than the Knicks or Lakers.