The NBA playoffs kicked off over the weekend.
For 16 of the league’s teams, the real fun is just getting started. But for the 14 teams sitting at home and watching like the rest of us, it’s time to start thinking about what they can do to avoid missing out on the postseason party next year.
Rumors are already swirling on where one of the league’s biggest stars – Carmelo Anthony -- will be playing next year. In his end of season press conference, Melo said he is not necessarily committed to returning to New York for another season.
“At this point in my career, I’m not concerned about the money,” he said, likely in response to a reporter noting that the Knicks can pay him more money than any other team on the market.
With the arrival of Phil Jackson in New York, many executives around the league expect Melo to return to the Big Apple. But if Jackson wants Anthony to hang around, it sounds like he’ll have to do a good job convincing him that the Knicks are close to being contenders.
“I want to come back, but I also want to win,” Anthony said. “I don’t know if I can afford another season of losing.”
If, hypothetically speaking, Anthony bounced from New York, one team expected to show interest in him is the Lakers. The Lakers have been purposefully frugal over the last few seasons with hopes of landing a top free agent this offseason. With Kobe Bryant in the twilight of his career, it’s not unfathomable to think the Lakers might look to pass the franchise torch on to Melo.
And what about Pau Gasol? It seems like he’s been on the trading block for about three years straight now. Though he’s no longer under contract with the Lakers, he admitted recently that his affinity for the franchise remains as strong as ever.
“I have to be picky,” Gasol said about his potential landing spots, adding that he’ll have to work to “put my [pro-Laker] feelings aside.”
One thing is certain here: If Gasol does indeed want to return to LA, he won’t sniff the $19.3 million he made playing for the team this past season. He might be back if he’s willing to take a pay cut, but he’ll likely be able to make a bit more money elsewhere.
As always at this time of the year, everything is speculation. Let the rumors begin.
In the meantime, go Wizards.