As far as I’m concerned, Carmelo Anthony will be leaving the New York Knicks next season. He is averaging 28.2 poings, 3.0 assists, and 8.6 rebounds per game this year, with nothing to show for it. The Knicks are a disappointing 21-36, and after predictions of playoff hopes at the beginning of the season, the Knicks appear to be falling well short of that goal. Melo has advanced past the first round of the NBA Playoffs just twice in his 11-year NBA career, advancing as far as the Western Conference Finals with the Denver Nuggets in 2009. To sum it up, it’s been proven that he just can’t be the main guy to lead a franchise and take them to the promised land on his own.
What’s the reason for this with a player as talented as Carmelo Anthony? He does put up impressive stats, but he is not a true facilitator. He puts up a ton of shots, but does not get many assists. As the main guy, you have to do both inorder to lead your team to victory. Either that or you need to be surrounded by exceptional talent, something that Carmelo has never had in his entire career.
The style of offense that Carmelo Anthony prefers to run is one with a lot of standing and jump shots, but minimal ball and player movement. Basically, if the shots aren’t falling, the Knicks are in trouble. He practically has to carry the scoring load to keep them in games. He had 44 points and nine rebounds, but lost to a Dirk Nowitzki buzzer beater in the game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. Forty-four points couldn’t get it done against the Mavericks, which tells me he cannot get it done alone, and he cannot be the only threat.
So here are my top landings for Carmelo Anthony next season if he were to leave the Big Apple in free agency:
1. Miami Heat: Yep, I just dropped a bomb on you. Aside from The Gap Band reference, this would be a HUGE and possible acquisition for the Heat next season, if LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Melo all take $14 million next season. Assuming the Big 3 are all in Miami, this would be a great fit for Anthony. Why? Because it takes off the pressure for him to be the main guy when he has three other star players who can score just as well. In addition, LeBron James can be the main facilitator, and Anthony can focus on scoring with the game coming to him, not forcing the game upon himself. Thirdly, it’s a beautiful, always sunny place that’s easy to live in, and Carmelo would finally be on a true title contender. LeBron came because he couldn’t do it on his own in Cleveland. With the trend of superstars teaming up, it’s hard nowadays to be the only superstar and win the NBA Championship. Melo going to Miami would create even more of a dominant force there, as well as put a couple of titles on his Future Hall-of-Fame résumé.
2. Chicago Bulls: The Windy City would be a perfect fit for Anthony next season, especially with a healthy Derrick Rose. The Bulls are already playing great basketball without Rose. With a starting lineup consisting of Melo, D-Rose, Noah, Boozer, and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls would have a scary good team in the pitiful Eastern Conference. Anthony also wouldn’t have as much of a scoring load with Derrick Rose and role players like Boozer, Noah, and Butler filling in. The Bulls, like the Phoenix Suns, don’t have a superstar playing for them right now (other than the injured Derrick Rose), but like the Suns they play good team basketball, something Carmelo can be a part of. Who knows? Maybe they could even attract Kevin Love in 2015 with this acquisition, too.
3. Toronto Raptors: This is my “way out in left field” prediction, that probably none of the readers of this article think could ever happen. And you’re right, it’s a minimal shot, Toronto being a small market and not having the advantages Miami and Chicago have in luring Carmelo Anthony. They also feature Masai Ujiri, the GM who traded Melo from Denver to the Knicks. I could have put a team like Phoenix or Portland here, which would be great fits. But the problem is the Western Conference is too good right now, and the Eastern Conference is not. It’s just obvious that any free agent superstar would have a better shot contending for a title in the East, being that the road to the NBA Finals is easier to get to there.
This young Toronto Raptors team is currently in third place in the Eastern Conference, and they are on the rise, even without Melo. Back that up with a great fan base, and Toronto suddenly becomes a great destination for him. Pair him up with an all-star in Demar Derozan, who has proven to be comfortable at either the SF or SG position, a snub all-star in Kyle Lowry, young talent in Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas, and a guy like Terrence Ross who can come of the bench and succeed, and this Raptors team is now a title contender with the likes of Indiana and Miami. Lowry penetrating creates opportunities for Derozan, and Carmelo alone creates opportunities for others (if he looks to both shoot and pass), so the sky’s the limit for this dream team in Toronto. It is a long shot, but still a neat possibility and great fit for Carmelo Anthony.
Wherever Melo lands next season, I believe it won’t be back in the Big Apple. Well I believe that New York should have traded him while they could, what’s done is done. While the Knicks still have him, fans should ignore the losses and enjoy having him around and putting up buckets for as long as they can.
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