The NBA Playoffs have begun, unfortunately for New York Knicks fans, which means the Carmelo Anthony watch has begun.
One thing the Knicks have going for them is the fact that they can offer more money and an extra year than any other team and if money is a factor in ‘Melo’s decision and quite frankly, even though Anthony has been linked to teams such as the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets, on paper it looked very difficult for any serious suitor for Anthony to even off him a max deal.
That could change though.
The NBA has informed teams that next season’s salary cap will increase by close to $5 million, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
While that doesn’t help the Knicks out at all, as even if Anthony walks they will be over the cap, it does increase the chances that the Bulls and Rockets become serious players for Anthony.
What Anthony must decide is what is more important, money or a realistic shot to win.
If he elects to re-sign with the Knicks, it’s about the money. The Knicks can’t offer him a chance to win in the short term and the 11-year vet has openly said that is his top priority. If he does stay in the Big Apple, you can’t fault a guy for not wanting to walk away from an extra $30 million.
But there’s that whole winning thing.
It would be hard for Anthony to not want to take a look at the Rockets as a ‘Melo, James Harden and Dwight Howard Big Three would be the most dominant trio in the league. Houston can make a run at Anthony as they currently will have about $71.9 million on their books for 2014-15.
However they could deal both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, something they feel confident that they can do and could offer Anthony a first year salary of around $20 million (the Knicks can offer a first-year salary of $22,458,401)
It will take some work, but it is something the Rockets can do if they are serious about Anthony.
The same goes for the Bulls.
The Bulls currently have $63.8 million on their books for 2014-15, but their path to sign Anthony is much easier than that of the Rockets. All they have to do is amnesty Carlos Boozer‘s $16.8 million deal and move a player such as Mike Dunleavy Jr. and they will also be able to offer ‘Melo a first-year salary in the $20 million range.
If Derrick Rose is healthy, and that is a huge if, a Rose, Anthony, Joakim Noah trio would be very tough to matchup against. There’s also the Tom Thibodeau factor as I have documented on numerous occasions the fondness Anthony has for Thibodeau.
However the extra $5 million on the cap also now makes a sign-and-trade for Anthony a real possibility as both the Rockets and Bulls will now be under the salary apron, meaning a sign and trade for ‘Melo could be possible.
The thought of the Knicks taking the floor without ‘Melo next season is a very real one and the increase in the salary cap doesn’t do much to help their cause.