Carmelo Anthony, the NBA’s No. 2 scorer last season, will opt out of his contract with the New York Knicks, making him a free agent and likely signaling the end of his tenure in the league’s biggest market.
The arrival of Phil Jackson as team president did not persuade Anthony from exploring his options, and there are many teams interested, if only a few with the cap space and resources to sign him.
Why would he leave the Knicks? Well, they did not make the playoffs last year and they have limited flexibility to bring in significant help until the 2015-16 season. That, apparently, is not soon enough for Anthony.
The likely landing place for one of the league’s prolific scorers seems to be Chicago, despite all the chatter about joining Miami and its Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Heat would need to generate significant cap space and that seems unlikely unless the aforementioned trio of stars restructure their substantial contracts. Anthony also isn’t what Miami needs (rim protector and point guard).
The Bulls have some contracts to shed to accommodate Anthony, too. Most notably, Carlos Boozer and possibly Taj Gibson and/or Mike Dunleavy would have to go. Anthony’s ability to score would elevate a solid team like Chicago, which has trouble putting up points.
The addition of Anthony would be especially critical if Derrick Rose, recovering from knee surgery, takes a while to round into form. A team of a healthy Rose, Anthony, Gibson and all-star Joakim Noah would make the Bulls formidable.
Of course, there remains a chance, however faint, that Anthony would re-sign with the Knicks after fielding other offers.