The Melo Saga: Where will Carmelo Anthony play next season?


By Spencer Brown

It was such an anti-climatic end to the New York Knicks’ season. 

We are technically still about a week away from the conclusion of the NBA season and the beginning of the playoffs, but, with the Atlanta Hawks’ 98-85 victory Saturday night against the Miami Heat, Atlanta clinched the eighth and final playoff berth, effectively ending the Knicks’ season.

It also possibly signals the end of Carmelo Anthony’s tenure in New York.

Anthony will miss the playoffs for the first time in his career. Not a good sign for New York considering the superstar is a free agent this summer.

What should Carmelo Anthony do? That’s the question many people associated with the game of basketball have an opinion on.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Allow me to indulge.

Carmelo Anthony should run as far from New York as he possibly can, assuming a championship is what he is really after.

A championship may well come to New York. Anything is possible considering the limitations put in place by the collective bargaining agreement that is supposed to limit the creation of super teams.

It is just not likely in the next few years, and that’s key as Anthony enters the back end of his career.    

The Knicks are strapped against the cap for at least one more year. It doesn’t sound bad, in theory, for the long-term prospects of returning the Knicks to glory: Struggle through one more season, and then the Knicks can dominate the free agent market.

That is, of course, if there is much of a market to choose from. The tandem in Miami could possibly opt out of their contracts this summer and secure new deals. Just about every other superstar is locked into a multi-year deal. The exception is Kevin Love. But is he enough to sell Anthony on dreams of winning a championship in New York.

There is the possibility of building the team through the draft. Unfortunately, the lottery pick the Knicks would have gotten this year was awarded to the Denver Nuggets in the Anthony trade to New York.

Trades could also play a factor in rebuilding the franchise. The jury is still out on Phil Jackson’s influence and how he will perform as an executive.

Anthony will have to weigh the risk against the reward of remaining with the Knicks.

Or he could join the Chicago Bulls.

I am a Chicago Bulls fan. I am a Chicago native. Neither have factored into this opinion.

The truth is, considering the amount of money he wants, combined with the team best equipped to compete right away, the Bulls are the most viable option.

According to media reports throughout the season, the Bulls will use their amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer and clear up a chunk of cap space.

Joakim Noah, though he will not win, is going to receive MVP consideration this year. Noah staked his claim as one of the best big men in the league this year. Derrick Rose, a former MVP, is supposed to be fully healthy. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson are great complementary players. The Bulls have made strides and showed the willingness to strengthen the roster. Tom Thibodeau is the model of consistency as a coach. The Bulls defense, without question, is one of the best in the NBA.

The weak spot that plagued the Bulls for the past few years is that dynamic wing player who can get his own shot late in the shot clock outside of Derrick Rose. It doesn’t get much more dynamic than Carmelo Anthony.  

One of the early frontrunners in the expected Anthony sweepstakes is the Los Angeles Lakers. If Mike D’Antoni remains the coach, it seems to be a long shot. D’Antoni and Anthony did not have the best relationship in New York. There is no telling when Kobe Bryant will return to the court. There is also the inevitability of the gauntlet in the Western Conference, easily the tougher of the two conferences.

Anthony has a lot to consider. He very well could remain in New York. Tim Hardaway, Jr., has a promising future. If J.R. Smith can remain composed, he is a deadly shooter. Raymond Felton is a capable back up point guard.

Anthony says his No. 1 priority is the Knicks. Let’s see if that story is the same come July 1, 2014, the start of free agency.

Spencer is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected].