The Carmelo Anthony NBA Butterfly Effect
By Erik Lambert
Mar 10, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) grabs a rebound during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
He may only be one man, but Carmelo Anthony could have a heck of an impact on the NBA landscape once his decision is made.
If he signs with the Chicago Bulls
Rumors kickstarted again recently when credible sources indicated the Chicago Bulls aren’t going down in the Anthony sweepstakes without a fight. The forward is apparently still seriously considering them as a destination given their championship prospects. So here’s what will likely happen if he departs for Chi-Town.
Pau Gasol goes to the San Antonio Spurs
With the Bulls no longer an option and Phil Jackson not having Anthony as a bargaining chip, veteran power forward Pau Gasol will narrow his list of possible team. Since L.A. is not in any condition to compete and the Oklahoma City Thunder don’t have the money, by default he will see the San Antonio Spurs as his best fit. The world champions can pay him a fair amount and are in good position for a run at a repeat since they were able to keep their entire roster intact.
LeBron James goes to Cleveland Cavaliers
One thing that hasn’t really been stipulated is how Carmelo Anthony will impact LeBron James. If the All-Star scorer joins the Bulls, it might compel James to seek out the best possible situation he can find. The Cleveland Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving, a max contract and apparently a legitimate package in place to trade for Kevin Love. That core would give the King enough ammunition to take on a Bulls roster of Anthony, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
Chris Bosh heads to Houston Rockets
With that event coming to pass, the exit of James from Miami virtually guarantees that former Big Three teammate Chris Bosh will follow suit, accepting a max contract offer from the Houston Rockets. He will return to his hometown team and perhaps forge another intriguing trio with Dwight Howard and James Harden.
If he signs with the New York Knicks
This is the scenario that everybody was so convinced of a day or two ago. The New York Knicks have the most money to offer and have Phil Jackson in charge. That seemed like enough to woo Carmelo Anthony in returning. Should that come to pass it will create significantly different results throughout the NBA.
Chicago lands Gasol
Pau Gasol will be among the first to feel the effect. With Anthony not going to the Bulls, that will mean the 34-year old becomes their primary target. Gasol has a fan in Derrick Rose and the big man offers a scoring presence in the post and another body who can pass the ball. Aside from that the Bulls can offer Gasol more money than any other team considered a contender for his services.
LeBron returns to Miami
Another thing to consider is that by not forming a powerful core in Chicago and instead opting for brief irrelevance in New York, Anthony will open the door for LeBron James to return to Miami. Without the imminent threat of Chicago, he will have at least a few more opportunities at championships in that Eastern Conference, especially after the additions made by Pat Riley.
Rockets retain Chandler Parsons
Lastly, the return of James to Miami will certainly be the drawing power necessary for Chris Bosh to do the same. Having missed out on their shot to get him away from South Beach, the Houston Rockets will quickly spend whatever money they have to in order to retain the rights to unrestricted free agent Chandler Parsons, who was made a strong offer by Dallas.