New York Knicks superstar forward Carmelo Anthony will be deciding this week if he wants to opt out of the final year of his contract to test the free-agent market, according to a June 20 report from the Wall Street Journal. Anthony, 30, is due to make over $23 million this year from the Knicks, but he is thinking about opting out to see if he could bank even more from another team.
Has Anthony played his final home game in the Big Apple? NBA fans will be finding out on June 23, when Anthony is expected to announce his plans for the season ahead. Its no safe bet that he'll stay with the Knicks, so here's a look at five teams that could land him:
1) Miami Heat: After losing to the San Antonio Spurs this year in the NBA Finals, it's clear the Heat need to re-tool their roster. Even with the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade expected to return to Miami next season, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen will probably not be back.
The Heat would give Anthony a great opportunity to win his first NBA title, but the chances of him taking his talents to South Beach are slim because Miami's top superstars would need to renegotiate their contracts to clear the cap space to sign him.
2) Los Angeles Lakers: The fact that the Lakers are expected to be well under the $63.2 million salary-cap threshold absolutely gives them a leg up on the competition when it comes to signing Anthony. While the other teams in the mix will need to get creative to find the cap space needed to sign him, Los Angeles won't have a problem dropping the big bucks to secure his services.
Why should the Lakers sign him? The simple answer is that he might be the best player available this off-season, and that they need a superstar to help take some of the workload off Kobe Bryant's shoulders. Bryant, 35, likely only has a couple seasons left in Los Angeles, and he'll need to pair up with another high-level talent such as Anthony to earn his sixth NBA championship. Anthony might find Los Angeles to be the most appealing option for him because it's likely they would give him a major say in who their next coach will be.
3) Chicago Bulls: Chicago center Joakim Noah has apparently taken it upon himself to do some recruiting to sway Anthony to join the Bulls. Noah, Anthony and a healthy Derrick Rose would make for an incredible Big Three in Chicago, but it's a long-shot that it'll happen because Tom Thibodeau is a defensive-minded coach. Anthony is one of the all-time greats when it comes to shooting, but he never cared much to evolve his game on defense. He's going to want to go somewhere with a coach that places the emphasis on offense.
4) Dallas Mavericks: Why Dallas? It's all about winning a championship. Anthony has never tasted sweet victory in the NBA Finals, so joining a perennial contender such as Dallas might inch him closer to that experience. Dallas absolutely has the key pieces to build a solid team around Anthony, with Monta Ellis playing like an all-star and Dirk Nowitzki still a major force in the paint. Best of all, the Mavericks have roughly $30 million in cap space to sign him.
5) Houston Rockets: Dwight Howard, James Harden and the Houston Rockets have grand plans to add another superstar to their roster over the offseason, and what they really need to turn into a title contender is a hot-shooting forward. Enter Anthony, a superb three-point shooter who could instantly propel the Rockets from fourth in the league in offensive efficiency to perhaps the top spot. Besides a winning culture, Anthony could potentially be swayed to Houston because Texas doesn't charge income tax. That might not sound like a big deal, but it certainly is when considering Anthony is a big spender who will be raking in well over $20 million this year.