While a lot of fans have been focusing on LeBron James and what his plans are for the future, another superstar is also considering a new NBA destination. It has been reported the Carmelo Anthony will become available for free agency using his early termination player option.
Teams pursuing Carmelo are mainly interested in his scoring abilities. Anthony has a career average of a little over 25 points per game during his 12 seasons in the NBA. Although known for poor defensive effort, he will be signed to instantly increase a team’s offensive production.
If Carmelo does not choose to stay with the New York Knicks, there are a few teams generally noted as landing spots for the scorer.
First, the Chicago Bulls. Chicago already has a solid cast of players. With 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose leading the Bulls, Chicago has finished with the best record in the NBA twice. However, they failed to reach the NBA Finals in both seasons.
The Bulls have simply lacked a player capable of pushing them over the edge and into the championship. With Anthony, the Bulls will not have to rely on Rose as their primary scoring option. However, Derrick Rose has been riddled with injury and has not played a full season since 2010-2011. Injury concerns regarding Rose may turn Anthony to another suitor.
Down in Houston, the Rockets have made many big signings the past couple years. Most recently, James Harden signed with the Rockets in 2012 and Dwight Howard signed in 2013.
The Rockets finished the 2013-2014 season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference before losing to the Portland Trailblazers in the opening round of the playoffs. Houston has failed to advance past the first round the past two years.
Together, Howard and Harden scored around 53 of Houston’s points in each game of the 2014 playoffs. Harden and Howard simply need another player to depend on. Anthony once again would step in as a scorer to bolster the offense.
Lastly, Carmelo has been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are in need of a new face in preparation for Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Anthony could be the player the Lakers use as the cornerstone for the future.
The Lakers do have the money to sign Anthony, but Houston and Chicago have already built playoff contenders. Plus, last season’s struggles, which was due in part to an injured Bryant, may turn Carmelo away from the West Coast.
Of these three teams, Carmelo is most likely going to sign with the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls have great defenders in Rose as well as NBA Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah. Anthony would most likely need to put in a little more effort on the defensive end, but will be comfortable knowing who is helping him.
The Bulls also play in the weak Eastern Conference, so reaching the NBA Finals would be easier. With Anthony on the floor, Chicago would mainly want him to put the ball in the basket.