Updates from Saturday, July 12
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports that Carmelo Anthony may have made a decision:
Marc Berman of the New York Post provides comments from Phil Jackson:
Ken Berger confirms Anthony has chosen his destination:
SportsCenter reports other teams have been informed of the decision:
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News further confirms the report:
Wojnarowski reported potential contract details as well:
Carmelo Anthony will sign a five-year, $120 million-plus contract to return to the New York Knicks, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
Anthony considered the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets before deciding to re-sign. He notified the other teams on Saturday that he's returning to New York.
Anthony might still take less than the maximum $129 million the Knicks can give him, a source said.
Updates from Friday, July 11
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reports that Carmelo Anthony has narrowed his choices to two teams (via SportsCenter):
Marc Stein of Yahoo Sports has the latest on Carmelo:
Updates from Thursday, July 10
Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling provides an update on Carmelo Anthony's potential destination:
Ken Berger of CBS Sports has the latest on the Chicago Bulls' potential run at Anthony:
Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald previously reported Anthony's return to the Knicks may not be a done deal:
Phil Jackson spoke about Anthony and the chances that he'll make a decision Thursday (via Al Iannazone of Newsday, the Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post and Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal):
Updates from Wednesday, July 9
Carmelo Anthony's agent spoke to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com about his client's free agency:
Earlier, Frank Isola of the Daily News (New York) reported on Anthony's thought-process:
Carmelo Anthony is prepared to spend the prime years of his career in New York, the Daily News has learned.
A person close to Anthony told The News on Wednesday that barring a last minute change of heart Anthony will re-sign with the Knicks after "agonizing over this" for the past week.
"He will have something for everybody on Thursday," said the friend who was with Anthony before Anthony's scheduled workout with Kevin Durant and Kevin Love in Los Angeles on Wednesday. "He is really torn because this is the biggest decision of his career. But he wants to get it done in New York. He told me he believes in Phil."
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report passed along what he was hearing about Anthony's decision:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports also had more insight on Anthony:
Earlier, Wojnarowski reported on Anthony and Derek Fisher:
Marc Berman of the New York Post also reported that Anthony's "dream" is to remain in New York while playing alongside LeBron James:
According to a friend of Anthony's, Melo has held out faint hope Knicks president Phil Jackson can pull a miracle and clear out the necessary salary-cap space to get it done, but he is running out of time. Anthony's decision could come in the next couple of days.
It would require Jackson to ship out Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani's expiring contracts, and for Anthony and James to take less than the max. Iman Shumpert might have to be dealt, and the rights to Jeremy Tyler renounced.
One report said Jackson conceivably can move $40 million under the cap with a flurry of moves — as long as he doesn't take back salary.
"He really wants LeBron to come to New York," the source said. "That's his dream right now. Phil is trying to get it done."
ESPN.com's Ian Begley and Ramona Shelburne report that Anthony's decision will likely come after James':
A number of rival teams increasingly believe that New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony plans to hold off on announcing any decision about his future until LeBron James reveals where he'll be playing next season, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that Anthony, whose decision was widely expected before a resolution to James' situation when free agency began, has kept the Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and other suitors waiting at least in part to see where James goes and whether there would be any option to join his close friend.
Updates from Tuesday, July 8
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck provides his take on the swirling rumors that Carmelo Anthony is looking to team up with LeBron James this summer:
Marc Stein of ESPN reports the New York Knicks are waiting anxiously for Anthony's decision:
Marc Berman of the New York Post adds to Stein's report regarding Anthony's interest in teaming up with LeBron James:
The Knicks expected Carmelo Anthony’s decision by Monday, but heard only crickets. A growing belief within the organization is Anthony is waiting to make sure there is no possible way of hooking up with LeBron James in Miami or Los Angeles.
While Anthony monitors the South Beach drama, James is expected to meet with Heat president Pat Riley. The Post has reported the Big 4 scenario was virtually impossible, but if power forward Chris Bosh is wowed by the money in Texas, either Dallas or Houston, that could open a spot for a new Big 3 of James, Anthony and Dwyane Wade splitting the remaining cap space.
However, that scenario became trickier with Miami agreeing to terms with Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger on Monday, though not impossible. If Wade takes a significant paycut, Riley can be creative in fitting James and his buddy Anthony under the salary cap.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that Anthony is split between a trio of potential landing spots:
According to a friend close to the Knicks’ All-Star forward, Anthony is still debating his next move, with the Knicks, Lakers and Bulls all regarded as the most likely landing spots. Anthony has not ruled out the Rockets and Mavericks but those clubs are not considered realistic possibilities for Anthony, who last week received a max offer — five years, $129 million — from Jackson despite the team president hinting for weeks that he wouldn’t offer the max.
Fox Sports' Sam Amico reports that the Lakers think Pau Gasol will re-sign if they land Carmelo Anthony:
Updates from Monday, July 7
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the New York Knicks are unfazed by the Los Angeles Lakers' push to sign Carmelo Anthony:
The Lakers may have emerged as strong contenders in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, but sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard on Sunday that the Knicks “remain confident” in their chances of re-signing Anthony.
Broussard also reported on Dallas' hopes of landing Anthony:
Dallas, believing it likely will lose out on both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, will attempt to sign Chandler Parsons away from the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks also have Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza in their sights, sources said.
Updates from Sunday, July 6
Part of Carmelo Anthony's visit with the Los Angeles Lakers included some quality time shooting hoops with Kobe Bryant. Josh Rebholz, UCLA's senior associate athletic director for external relations, responded to rumors that Anthony and Bryant were playing a pickup game together on the Bruins' campus via his Twitter account:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports also reported on the pickup game at UCLA:
Marc Stein of ESPN reported on the teams most likely to land Carmelo Anthony in free agency:
Earlier, Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal reported on the talks between Anthony and the New York Knicks:
According to a person familiar with the situation, Anthony felt as if he got mixed signals from the New York Knicks during his meeting with the team on Thursday. While Anthony and his camp were told that he could have a maximum contract if he wanted it, a source said, team president Phil Jackson continued to preach the virtues of taking less than the maximum—a message that left Anthony questioning whether the max offer was sincere.
Updates from Saturday, July 5
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the latest on the Los Angeles Lakers' pursuit of Carmelo Anthony:
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard had more on the Lakers' front:
The Lakers' pitch -- of teaming Anthony with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and prized rookie Julius Randle on a team with no long-term salary obligations -- made what one source described as a "strong impression" on Anthony and has made his decision over the holiday weekend "tough," according to another source close to the situation.
Gasol has emerged as a key selling point for the Lakers. While the Spaniard has been listening to pitches from championship contenders who lack much financial flexibility, such as Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Miami and Chicago, sources believe he would quickly re-sign with the Lakers if they are able to land Anthony or James.
Grantland's Bill Simmons reveals the teams perceived to be remaining in the battle for Anthony's services:
While the Lakers may be in the running to land 'Melo, they're not out in front, according to Wojnarowski (via Fox Sports Live):
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports more on Carmelo and the New York Knicks:
Anthony is expected to accept the Knicks’ five-year, $129 million contract offer, and a decision could be made within the next 48 hours. The one holdup could be (LeBron) James, who is also an unrestricted free agent and is being courted by several teams, including the Cavaliers and the Lakers. Anthony met with the Lakers on Thursday in Los Angeles and afterward Lakers officials flew to Cleveland to meet with James’ agent, Rich Paul.
ESPN's Marc Stein adds more surprising news:
Ken Berger of CBS Sports provides a timeframe for Anthony's decision:
Updates from Friday, July 4
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting update from the Lakers camp:
The Lakers went Hollywood in their 2½-hour meeting Thursday with free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony. Big time.
Executives from Anschutz Entertainment Group and Time Warner Cable pitched him on the size and scope of the Los Angeles market. Movie producer Joel Silver put together a four-minute “trailer” of Anthony’s life, narrated by Tobey Maguire.
Sam Amick of USA Today reveals who the Knicks view as the biggest threat to keeping Carmelo Anthony in New York:
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the Knicks are confident about their standing in the sweepstakes and consider the Bulls the only real threat among the many suitors. A decision is expected from Anthony by Monday, though the ever-present fluidity of free agency means there is no definitive timeline. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the negotiations.
Two days removed from the high of their well-received pitch to Anthony in Chicago, the Bulls continued to grasp the long odds regarding acquiring Anthony, who also met with Knicks President Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher later Thursday in Los Angeles.
A Yahoo Sports report stated Anthony also planned to reach out to Gasol to discuss him joining the Knicks, another in a growing set of signs that Anthony may re-up in New York. Joakim Noah, intimately involved in the Bulls' pitch to Anthony, has told several people he believes Anthony will re-sign with the Knicks.
ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that a prominent Bulls star wasn't involved in the pitch to Anthony:
It turns out that Derrick Rose was not a part of the Chicago Bulls' pitch to Carmelo Anthony, after all.
Rose, Chicago's star point guard, just happened to be in the middle of his daily workout routine when Bulls officials brought Anthony into the United Center on Tuesday afternoon, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Rose actually was surprised to see Anthony, one source said. He had no idea what time the Knicks' free agent would be visiting the Bulls.
Rose broke up his workout to approach Anthony and said a brief hello, but that was the extent of his participation in the Bulls' recruitment.
Broussard mentioned Rose's thoughts on not being included:
But the Bulls' front office never asked Rose to join in.
"Derrick wasn't bothered that he wasn't a part of it," a source said. "He was just kind of shocked, like 'Man, I didn't get the memo.'"
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has more on Carmelo's meeting with the Knicks:
All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony probed New York Knicks management on the franchise's plan to restore a contending roster and left his final free-agency meeting largely aligned with president Phil Jackson's vision, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Anthony had direct questions for Jackson and coach Derek Fisher during a Thursday meeting in Los Angeles, and Anthony's increased confidence with the Knicks' direction – which includes a maximum contract offer of five years and $129 million – has strengthened the franchise's chances of re-signing Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
As one official involved in the recruiting process told Yahoo, "He just wants to feel like he's not all alone on the court."
In the meeting that included general manager Steve Mills, Jackson dispelled doubts that he was indifferent about Anthony staying with the Knicks, sources said. New York officials have made it clear to Anthony that they need him on the roster to have a chance to attract star players in free agency, sources said. After a week of franchises fawning over him during recruiting trips to Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony needed to hear that enthusiasm out of the Knicks' top management – and of course needed that max contract extension made available to him.
Privately, Anthony has told people that he plans to take the holiday weekend to make a decision.
Marc Berman of the New York Post has more on Anthony going back to New York:
But The Post has learned there’s a distinct possibility Anthony will still decide to take a little less than the max.
One scenario would be Anthony starting at the max $22.4 million, but taking a 7.5 percent pay reduction in Year 2, as allowed by the collective bargaining agreement. That reduced salary for the 2015-16 season would give the Knicks a little more cap space next summer.
“I don’t think the money ever was the most important part,’’ the source said. “I think his concern was, could they make the team better this season? He is comfortable in the outer years, but needed to be convinced about the upcoming year.’’
That’s why Anthony is trying to take an active role in recruiting free agent Pau Gasol, though the Knicks only have their $3.3 million mini mid-level exception. Gasol has been heavily courted by the Heat, Thunder and Bulls. One scenario would be convincing Gasol to sign for one year, then allowing him to share in the 2015 cap space with his brother, center Marc Gasol, who will be a free agent.
Updates from Thursday, July 3
ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported that the Lakers plan to offer Carmelo Anthony a contract:
ESPN's Chris Broussard reports the Knicks will match:
ESPN's Ian Begley breaks down the numbers involved:
USA Today's Sam Amick details how the Lakers proceeded with their meeting with 'Melo and if Kobe Bryant would meet with the free agent on his own:
Lakers executives Jim Buss, Jeanie Buss and Mitch Kupchak were expected to be there. There was no word on whether an empty chair would be part of the program to represent the coaching vacancy that they intentionally have left unfilled because of moments like this.
A person with knowledge of the meeting said Bryant couldn't make it but Lakers legend James Worthy was also expected to be part of the program. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the process.
Yet here's the thing about this Lakers pitch that is considered far-fetched by the rival teams also courting Anthony: He can talk to Bryant any time he wants. Anthony — whose gold medals won with Bryant in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics are the crown jewels of his professional career — has an offseason home in Los Angeles and may very well wind up chewing on his life-changing decision in Bryant's favorite city over the weekend.
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times details how long the meeting lasted:
David McMenamin and Shelburne of ESPN.com had more info on the meeting and when Bryant planned to speak with Melo:
Anthony was flanked by agent Leon Rose and business manager Bay Frazier as the group was greeted in the parking lot by former Lakers great James Worthy and then escorted into the building.
Kobe Bryant was not able to make it back from a family vacation in Europe in time for the meeting, according to sources. Bryant intends to meet with Anthony later Thursday evening, after Anthony's scheduled meeting with theNew York Knicks following his session with the Lakers, sources said.
The Lakers' presentation was led by team president Jeanie Buss, executive vice president of player personnel (and Jeanie's brother) Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. It also included Lakers chief marketing officer Tim Harris and executives from Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers' television network.
NBA.com's Jeff Caplan has an update from Mark Cuban on Dallas' meeting with Carmelo Anthony:
Chris Broussard of ESPN reported on Anthony's plans after his meeting with the Lakers:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News also reported on Anthony's talks with the Knicks:
'Melo reportedly reached out to another superstar about teaming up in the Big Apple, according to Wojnarowski:
Hours before his final meeting with New York Knicks officials, free agent Carmelo Anthony reached out to obtain free agent Pau Gasol's phone number and discuss with him the possibility of playing together at Madison Square Garden, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks had exuded an increasing confidence they can hold off the free-agent courtships of Chicago and Houston and were further encouraged with Anthony's desire to talk to Gasol about New York, sources said.
Updates from Wednesday, July 2
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times has the latest on Anthony and the Lakers:
The Lakers think they have a substantially better chance of landing high-profile scorer Carmelo Anthony than two-time champion LeBron James, The Times has learned.
They believe they can pry Anthony away from a New York return even though he can make more money with the Knicks.
They weren't certain they would be granted a sit-down with James, and even if they did, the belief around the league was that James would return to Miami if the Heat improved the nucleus of a team that lost in the NBA Finals to San Antonio.
Ian Begley of ESPN New York adds more on Anthony's free-agency search:
The Chicago Bulls got the first visit with free agent Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday. But the New York Knicks expect to get the last.
The Knicks expect to meet with Anthony after he concludes visits with the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers this week, sources say.
The date and location of the Knicks meeting are unclear at this point.
Begley also noted that the Houston Rockets will be meeting with Anthony, and that Houston's big stars are very interested in landing the talented forward:
Howard, according to sources, is eager to pitch Anthony on the Rockets. Sources say Howard was trying to track down Anthony’s cell phone number to contact him directly to make a pitch over the phone. It is unclear if the two connected, but Howard is believed to be enamored with the idea of playing alongside Anthony.
“He really wants to sell him on Houston,” a source with knowledge of Howard’s thinking said. “He wants Carmelo there badly.”
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported on what Howard informed Houston's Fox affiliate that he told Melo in Wednesday's meeting:
At the end of the day, we all want to win a championship. That’s why I came here. He would be a big part of that. This is his time. This is his moment to make the best decision for Carmelo. Not for me. Not for anybody else but Carmelo.
I just told him whatever decision he makes is going to be for him. Ask God to give you the right insight, take your time and make your decision. Whatever he decides is going to be the right decision for him.
ESPN's Marc Stein later provided an update on Anthony's meeting with the Mavericks:
Updates from Tuesday, July 1
ESPN LA's Ramona Shelburne reports on a major-market team that will be courting Carmelo Anthony later this week:
ESPN's Ian Begley reports that one team doesn't feel good about its chances of landing Carmelo:
As the Bulls prepared for their Tuesday meeting with Carmelo Anthony, some members of the team’s hierarchy were pessimistic about Chicago’s chances of landing Anthony.
“They’re worried that he’s headed back to New York,” a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said of early Tuesday morning. “They’re more pessimistic than optimistic.”
The source wasn’t speaking for the entire Chicago front office, just a small segment. So there is reason to believe that not all members of the team’s hierarchy shared this opinion.
Also, the Tuesday meeting between Anthony and the Bulls may change this perception among Chicago decision-makers.
Nick Friedell of ESPN and Steve Lippo of WGN shared images of Chicago's pitch to Anthony:
Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy reported on Derrick Rose's involvement in recruiting 'Melo:
While Rose had went on the record saying that he wasn’t going recruit Anthony to Chicago, he was very involved in the team’s courtship of the superstar free agent, according to sources close to the situation. While at the facility, sources say that Rose went through a private workout to show Anthony that he’s healthy and ready to compete at a high level next season.
After meeting at the facility and discussing the team’s pitch, the group went to dinner at the Peninsula Hotel in downtown Chicago. Anthony, Noah, Rose, Gibson, Thibodeau, Jerry Reinsdorf, Gar Forman and Scottie Pippen were all in attendance at the dinner, according to sources.
The Bulls left the meeting and dinner feeling very confident that Anthony is seriously considering signing with Chicago, according to sources close to the situation.
ESPN's Marc Stein noted one team's approach to landing the talented forward:
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports also passed along Houston's pitch to Anthony:
Updates from Sunday, June 29
ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted out some major news regarding Carmelo Anthony's initial destinations to discuss his future when free agency begins:
Armed with an offer that no else in the NBA can make – a chance to partner with Carmelo Anthony on an instant championship contender – the Phoenix Suns are planning an aggressive pursuit of LeBron James on Tuesday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Phoenix is determined to emerge as a legitimate destination for James and Anthony, who have privately shared an affinity for playing with each other in the NBA. Salary-cap structures make it prohibitive for teams elsewhere to fit these two stars together without completely gutting a roster, but Phoenix's general manager Ryan McDonough has constructed a far different reality to sell them in potential meetings next week, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Marc Berman of the New York Post previously provided a synopsis of an unnamed Knicks player discussion Anthony's status:
According to one Knicks player Carmelo Anthony spoke to recently, he gave no indication he was planning an exit strategy from New York.
The source told The Post this week one reason Anthony wants to remain in New York is he has enjoyed being in a big media market, as opposed to being in Denver.
Updates from Saturday, June 28
Marc Stein of ESPN.com provides an update on the Knicks' plans to retain Carmelo Anthony:
Sources told ESPN.com that Knicks officials, while not willing to trumpet it publicly with free agency fast approaching, are quietly confident about their odds of retaining Anthony thanks in part to the idea that new team president Phil Jackson and the high-scoring forward have "connected" to some degree.
Furthermore, one source close to the process told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside Anthony on the Knicks' front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.
Updates from Friday, June 27
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times provides Mitch Kupchak's view on a potential run at free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony:
Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears has news on a potential timetable for Anthony's decision:
A source said there is currently no frontrunner for Anthony's services, and he is expected to meet with the Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers,Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. There was no mention of the Miami Heat. Anthony hopes to visit the aforementioned teams in their respective cities during the opening days of free agency. At the moment, no other teams are expected to get a meeting.
The source said Anthony loves New York and playing for the Knicks, but there are still questions surrounding the franchise.
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck also weighed in on which team is in the best position to sign Anthony:
Updates from Thursday, June 26
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News provides Phil Jackson's thoughts on Kobe Bryant's recruitment of Carmelo Anthony:
Al Iannazzone of Newsday has more from Jackson:
Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com reports Jabari Parker would love to see Carmelo Anthony in Chicago:
Tyson Chandler has also said that he will try and recruit Anthony to the Mavericks after his trade to Dallas, via Dwain Price of The Star-Telegram:
Phil Jackson refused to comment on the possibility of a sign-and-trade involving Anthony, via Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal:
Updates from Tuesday, June 24
Now that Carmelo Anthony is a free agent, he has plenty of options to mull. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein report on the teams he will visit:
Carmelo Anthony has yet to publicly reveal the process by which he plans to entertain other teams in free agency now that he has opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks, but the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams that expect to have the opportunity to make their pitch to him starting July 1, according to sources close to the situation.
Teams can't formally contact free agents until 12:01 a.m. ET July 1, but sources told ESPN.com that the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat are two more teams that could join the race for Anthony, depending on how things play out before, during and after Thursday's NBA draft.
Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has more on Anthony's potential interviews:
Anthony's former coach, Jim Boeheim, spoke about the star player and the potential for Tom Thibodeau coaching him, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“I’ve talked to Tom about Melo, his name has come up,’’ Boeheim told The Post Tuesday. “I think Tom is very excited about the possibility of getting Carmelo. He likes him. He likes how he plays. He feels he’s coachable. I think Tom Thibodeau is one of the better coaches in the NBA. Carmelo would be happy playing for him. It would be a good fit – the coach-player relationship.’’
Boeheim has spoken to Anthony in the past about his free agency but not recently. He believes Anthony’s priority is having the best chance to win a title and hopes that place is New York, but it may not be.
“I talked to some of his guys, spent time with him in the past about it,’’ Boeheim said. “Everybody has to understand with LeBron opting out [Tuesday], these guys are business guys. They have to look for the best situation for them. That’s all they’re doing. There’s so much put on winning championships. Every player has to try to find the best situation for them. Problem is, it’s not that easy to do.’’
Updates from Sunday, June 22
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News gave insight into Anthony's thought process as he edges closer to making a decision on his future:
The Bulls’ push to acquire New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is heating up heading into NBA draft week, and perhaps no one wants his services more than coach Tom Thibodeau.
According to one of Anthony’s former coaches, Thibodeau has reached out to him and to several other coaches who have worked with Anthony with numerous calls.
'I even told Tom that there may be days he will want to blow his own head off when it comes to Melo’s defense, but he keeps saying he knows he can make it work,’ the coach said. ‘It’s not that Carmelo can’t play defense, it’s just how often. And he knows every trick in the book on getting around that.’
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com provided more insight into Anthony's thought process as he weighs his options:
New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is doing his homework on the city of Chicago as the deadline to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract approaches.
According to league sources, Anthony has talked to at least one high-profile person who lives in Chicago about what it's like to be famous in the Windy City. ...
... Anthony's research regarding Chicago -- and Thibodeau's reported background check on Anthony -- is the latest indication that there is strong mutual interest between the former NBA scoring champion and the Bulls.
Marc Berman of the New York Post reports how the Bulls' interest in Arron Afflalo could impact Anthony:
The Knicks’ chances of keeping Carmelo Anthony could increase if the Bulls land Orlando’s Arron Afflalo in a trade. ...
... If the Bulls do land Afflalo, it might make it impossible financially to pursue Anthony as well. Yahoo! Sports reported Afflalo is on the trading block.
Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News previously reported Anthony has been receiving calls from a member of the Chicago Bulls:
Carmelo Anthony has been getting quite a few recruiting calls from Joakim Noah over the past week, but according to people close to the Knicks star, he hasn’t returned one of them.
We’re guessing Anthony might call Noah back after he officially opts out of his contract with the Knicks, no later than Monday. Maybe he leaks it out that he was talking to Noah, too. It’s easy to see why. Anthony wants to be recruited by the Bulls on July 1 so that he can get Jim Dolan to intercede on his behalf and tell Phil Jackson he needs to bring Anthony back, at any cost. ...
... Noah will be disappointed if it turns out that Anthony uses the Bulls merely to get Dolan to up the Knicks’ offer. But one of his teammates won’t be crushed. Derrick Rose hasn’t called Anthony once and isn’t expected to do any recruiting when the Bulls make their run at the Knicks’ top scorer in free agency.
According to sources close to Kevin Love, Rose’s preference is for the Bulls to work out a deal as soon as possible for Minnesota’s All-Star forward because he sees Love as more of a team player than Anthony.
Updates from Saturday, June 21
Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal has the latest on Anthony:
The team's star forward, Carmelo Anthony, has until Monday to decide if he wants to opt out of his contract and test the free-agent market, something he has long indicated that he wants to do. Once he makes that choice, the Knicks—and all of the NBA—will have a much clearer sense of whether Anthony has played his last home game in New York.
"If he makes the choice to opt out, I think he's gone," said one person familiar with the matter.
That's because Anthony, for as much as he has talked about potentially taking a pay cut to help the Knicks build a winner around him, would actually be hindering the team by becoming a free agent. Despite the possibility that he could opt out and then re-sign for less money, there really is no immediate benefit in that for the Knicks, who are hopelessly over the league's salary cap anyway until 2015.
Updates from Friday, June 20
SNY's Adam Zagoria reports the Bulls are the leaders in the Carmelo sweepstakes:
The Chicago Bulls are the most likely landing spot for Carmelo Anthony, a league source told SNY.TV and The Knicks Blog.
Assuming he follows through with his plan to opt-out by Monday’s deadline, Anthony could either sign with the Bulls for less money than he is due to make with the Knicks ($129 million over five years) or be moved to Chicago in a sign-and-trade deal.
“He is looking to leave if one of the teams he likes can get a deal done with New York,” the source said. “He knows New York is not good enough the way they are currently constructed. Melo wants to win now. He will move if he feels that team can win.”
Updates from Thursday, June 19
Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com provides a statement from Anthony discussing his recent meeting with Phil Jackson, Steve Mills and Derek Fisher:
'It was great meeting with Phil, it went well,' Anthony told two reporters at an event on Wednesday in Manhattan to promote his partnership with 50 Cent and SMS Audio headphones.
On Fisher's hiring, Anthony added: 'I like what Phil is doing.'
A source close to Anthony said late last week that Anthony hadn't changed his mind on free agency and still plans to opt out and become a free agent this summer.
Anthony, according to sources, has until June 23 to inform the Knicks if he plans to opt out of his contract.
Updates from Wednesday, June 11
Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com report that a surprise team has emerged in a potential bidding war for Carmelo:
Sources told ESPN.com that Heat officials and the team's leading players have already started to explore their options for creating sufficient financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony this summer in free agency. ...
... Sources say internal conversations within the Heat organization about pursuing this course have run concurrently with Miami's bid to win a third consecutive championship, with sources adding that James in particular is likely to try to recoup potential salary sacrificed through fresh off-court business opportunities if the Heat's new dream scenario does come to fruition.
Updates from Tuesday, May 27
Marc Berman of the New York Post has the latest on Anthony:
Carmelo Anthony staged a dinner meeting with his entourage Friday night to discuss his free-agent future, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Anthony, his Creative Artists Agency agent Leon Rose, and CAA advisor William Wesley were in the group of six at a well-known haunt on 28th Street called Pergola in a strategy session discussing their options. The source said the group sat in a private back room.
Berman continues with updates on Anthony's preferred destinations:
Anthony’s potential decision to re-sign with the Knicks may be by default. Two of his prime candidates, Houston and Chicago, still have to get far enough under the salary cap to make it worth it for Anthony. The Bulls may have to rid themselves of Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson on a squad that was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Plus, Anthony would be banking on the uncertain future of the oft-injured Derrick Rose.
The Rockets were also knocked out in the first round and need to get rid of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to get under the salary cap. Meanwhile, the Lakers have cap space but sources maintain they aren’t too interested in Anthony as a fit with Kobe Bryant. Nor is Lakers president Jeanie Buss enthralled with stealing Anthony from Jackson, her fiancé.
Dallas is also said to be interested in Anthony but also has to get under the salary cap. The Knicks still remain strong favorites, even if Jackson isn’t off to a sizzling start.
Updates from Saturday, May 3
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the latest:
According to several sources, including a teammate, Noah’s All-Star Weekend “conversation’’ with New York Knicks standout Carmelo Anthony didn’t end in New Orleans. They had discussions via text the rest of the season, including the day after the Bulls were eliminated in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.
“I was kidding Jo that they were boys now,’’ a source said in a phone interview Friday. “ ‘Well, get your boy to come to Chicago.’ ’’
According to Cowley, Noah has denied the rumors:
When asked during the season about his heart-to-heart with Anthony, Noah was his usual coy self.
“What are you talking about? The gossip going on?’’ Noah said. “I feel a lot of gossip. I think we all know that we’re in a good place. We’ve got a healthy group, it’s a healthy environment, and we’re not going to let gossip get in the way of what we’re doing. We’ve gone through so much this year, so it’s not going to be a little gossip that gets out there.
“You want me to address that? I don’t feel like addressing it. I really have nothing to say.’’
Updates from Wednesday, April 23
Al Iannazzone of Newsday provides a synopsis of Phil Jackson discussing Carmelo Anthony's future with the Knicks:
Carmelo Anthony is set to opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free-agent market. While he didn't rule out returning to the New York Knicks for next season and beyond, he made it clear winning will the most important factor in his decision.
Ian Begley of ESPN New York passed along comments from the seven-time All-Star following a season in which the Knicks failed to reach the playoffs. Balancing his desire to stay in New York with wanting to win is clearly the dilemma he'll face over the summer:
I want to come back. But I also want to win. You know, me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level over the course of [the next contract], then I'm willing to stay here and I'm willing to ride or die for New York.
You know, I've never once said I wanted to leave. I always said that I wanted to explore my options, I wanted to see what's out there.
Anthony came to the Knicks during the 2010-11 season in a trade from the Denver Nuggets. Since that point, the Knicks have failed to advance beyond the second round of the postseason and failed to qualify for the playoffs this past season despite playing in the weaker Eastern Conference.
If his decision comes down purely which team gives him the best chance to win while also offering a competitive contract, the Knicks are going to face an uphill battle to bring him back. The ESPN New York report illustrated that by listing some of the interested teams:
The Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams expected to pursue Anthony this summer.
All four of those teams can make a solid title-contending argument if they add Anthony to the equation. The Lakers would probably have the toughest sell, but getting to play in another big city alongside a (presumably) healthy Kobe Bryant would help their case.
Anthony is one of the league's best pure scorers. He's averaged over 25 points for his career and better than 27 points in each of the past two seasons. Criticism has usually surrounded the number of shots he takes, but at least part of that is due to lackluster supporting casts.
If he joins a team with more talent, it's unlikely he'll be jacking up more than 20 shots per contest. It's clear he wants to win a championship and should understand adapting his game will probably be necessary to make that happen, whether it's in New York or elsewhere.
For example, during the United States' run to a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, he averaged a shade over 10 shots per game. No NBA team is going to sport that much talent, of course, but it shows Anthony isn't against allowing other players to enjoy the spotlight if it equates to wins.
Shot selection debate aside, the type of numbers he's putting up place him in rare air. ESPN's Numbers Never Lie noted he joined Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird this season when combining his scoring, rebounding and efficiency from beyond the arc:
If the Knicks lose out on Anthony, it would be a major step in the wrong direction simply due to the fact they would have to go through the process of finding another star to build around. That would cause a delay in bolstering the rest of the roster.
The situation is a major test of new Knicks president Phil Jackson's bargaining power. If he can convince Anthony to stay, it will send a clear message to other free agents and could help attract other stars to make Madison Square Garden their new home.
Jackson said during his opening press conference back in March that he definitely wanted to keep Anthony moving forward, as Al Iannazzone of Newsday pointed out:
One other factor that isn't viewed as a major issue right now but could become one is Anthony's health.
Peter Botte of the New York Daily News reports an MRI on the superstar small forward showed a labrum tear in his right shoulder. He's opted against surgery and will get checked out again next month to check on the progress of his recovery:
The pending free agent was shut down by the going-home Knicks after an MRI on Tuesday revealed he has a small labrum tear in his right shoulder.
Anthony bypassed surgery after he was diagnosed with a torn labrum and rotator cuff in his left shoulder one year ago. The Knicks said he's also not expected to require surgery for this injury and will be reevaluated in a month.
In other words, he's had problems with both shoulders over the past year. As long as everything goes according to plan, it shouldn't cause any of the interested teams to shy away. But if there's a setback, they might have to think twice before giving him a max contract.
The money factor is also in play, even though Anthony insists winning is more important. The ESPN New York report states the Knicks can offer him an extra year and $30 million more than any other team in free agency.
Exactly how much that helps the Knicks is unclear, but it's an advantage. If Jackson proves the team is taking strides toward contending, an extra $30 million would be hard to pass up.
Ultimately, the situation has all the signs of a saga that will likely drag out well into the summer. Anthony sounds content letting the process play itself out as he looks into every option and there's nothing the Knicks can do beyond make their best offer and wait.
If winning a championship is the star's sole purpose moving forward, it's hard to imagine him ending up back to New York. Jackson is capable of getting the franchise back where it needs to be, but it's likely going to take a couple years.
In the end, expect plenty of twists and turns throughout the process before Anthony decides where to sign as a highly coveted free agent.