San Antonio Spurs News

Whom Does Carmelo Anthony Delay Favor?

By Erik Lambert

Mar 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 93-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody expected a decision from Carmelo Anthony by now.  They didn’t get it.  So what does the delay mean for his suitors?

Phil Jackson or Mitch Kupchak would have answers if money was key

The past few days of NBA free agency seemed like a picture that was clarifying.  Most everybody had become convinced that Carmelo Anthony was either heading west to join the Los Angeles Lakers or staying home with the New York Knicks.  Why?  The simplest reason any player goes anywhere.  They can offer the most money.  Los Angeles put up a four-year deal for $96 million with the chance to play with Kobe Bryant and maybe Pau Gasol.  New York can offer even more at $129 million for five years and the vision 11-time champion Phil Jackson has for the team.

It would be hard to argue against such a decision.  Anthony is well within his right as a free agent to pursue the most lucrative deal possible.  However, if that were the case then it shouldn’t have taken this long for the 30-year old All-Star to make his choice.  New York and Los Angeles are the two biggest media markets in the county, can offer the most money in a contract and also prominent endorsement opportunities for both he and his wife.  There is just one small problem.  Neither of them are realistically close to championship contention.

Delay favors Chicago Bulls based on their NBA title visions

That is why despite constant salvos suggesting they were behind in the race, the Chicago Bulls remain very much a factor.  With Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson in the fold they have a roster teaming with young, experienced stars who are ready for a championship run if they can just get a little help on offense, which explains their interest in Carmelo Anthony in the first place.  The fact he hasn’t made a decision hint that their proposal last week had an effect, that maybe winning really is more important than money to him at this stage of his career.

One key theory surrounding the delay is that it could mean talks are underway for a sign-and-trade deal between the Knicks and Bulls.  In such a situation New York gets back some assets for losing Carmelo while in return Chicago can afford to pay him more money than they would if they just straight signed him in free agency.  It’s a deal that would be favorable for both teams if Anthony indeed made a verbal commitment to join the Bulls and is the best explanation for the extended silence outside of simple indecision.

The wait continues.