Over the past few days the NBA rumor mill has been buzzing with talk about Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony joining Kobe Bryant in Los Angelas following the 2013-2014 NBA season to form the leagues next super team. While that may sound intriguing if you’re a Lakers fan, there are several reasons why you should all but disregard this latest talk as just that – talk.
New York basketball fans are no strangers to NBA off season rumors. Remember when Lebron was a lock to come to the Knicks? How about Chris Paul? Oh yeah and don’t forget that Dwight Howard was all but a guarantee to be joining the Brooklyn Nets last year – that is before he was shipped off to LA instead. So often these rumors are misinformation by agents, sources close to players, or simply not true. In the case of Carmelo potentially opting out of his contract next off season to join the Los Angelas Lakers I believe they are just that – not true.
Let’s take a look at the top reasons why Carmelo Anthony winding up in Purple and Gold seems extremely far fetched:
Today’s NBA is big business, and for that reason fans perception cannot be understated. Just a few years ago Dwight Howard was one of the most likable young stars in the NBA. You couldn’t turn on your TV without seeing Howard pitching Big Macs, cars, or soft drinks.
Today, not so much.
After an ugly exit from Orlando, and an even dicier one from LA, Howard has gone from lovable to loathsome, with most NBA fans and critics bashing the Rockets newest star at every opportunity. The same applies to Lebron James, who although he has seen a big turnaround in public perception since winning the last two NBA titles, will never get back to being the universally loved player he was before he bolted Cleveland for the pristine beaches of South Florida.
Not that Carmelo needs to look to Dwight or Lebron for guidance, seeing as the Knicks superstar has already been through this himself. When Carmelo all but forced his way to New York from Denver his reputation took a big hit, which he has yet to fully recover from.
Already one of the leagues most polarizing players, it’s hard for me to believe that Anthony would put himself, his family, and his brand through that type of scrutiny again. Especially when you consider that he would not be leaving Milwaukee or Cleveland for LA, he would be leaving New York City. There is no doubt that Carmelo would ultimately be looked upon as a man who quit on his team from everyone outside of Lakerland. Whether you route for the Lakers or the Knicks, thinking that Carmelo would be willing to do this type of damage to his reputation, is a tough sell.
2. Money, money, money, money……Money!
Facts are facts – The New York Knicks can offer Carmelo Anthony more money than the Los Angelas Lakers. Now for a player in his mid-twenties this may not be as important, but for Anthony, who will be approaching 31 when the summer of 2014 free agent frenzy begins, getting one last full max deal will be a priority.
3. State of the Franchise
The Media personalities who have been clinging to these rumors point to one simple fact – The Lakers are an attractive destination who will have a ton of cap space in 2014.
This is true.
The fact that continues to be neglected by many is that the New York Knicks are in a similar situation. It is no secret that the primary reason the Knicks have had a difficult time building around Carmelo Anthony is because of the Amare Stoudemire contract.
Well guess what? After next season Amare’s $23.4 million becomes an expiring contract, that the Knicks can and will be able to move to another team looking to clear room for the future. The same applies to Andrea Bargnani’s $12 million salary, and Tyson Chandler’s $14.5 million. Will the Knicks move all those expiring contracts- probably not, but they will certainly move at least one, and most likely two, which will easily open them up to bring in another max player/s around Carmelo.
When considering the fan perception mentioned earlier, ask yourself which of these two options seems to make more sense for Carmelo Anthony?
1. Remaining the centerpiece of a Knicks team that will basically allow Carmelo to play GM next summer?
2. Go join a 37 year old Kobe Bryant, who would not enjoy conceding shots, and have fans crush you for the rest of your career?
Doesn’t seem like much of a debate does it?
Trust me when I tell you that Carmelo Anthony knows this, and the New York Knicks know this.