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LeBron on ‘Melo’s free agency: “You got to do whatever makes you happy”

Jan 10, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

To me this feels like the “Bart’s Inner Child” Simpsons episode where everyone in town starts emulating Bart.

In the role of self-help guru Brad Goodman we have LeBron James, who himself went through an over-hyped free agency period a few years back. You may remember that. It was a PR disaster but LeBron bounced back from it because he won on the court (this is America where winners write the history).

In the role of people seeking advice we have Carmelo Anthony (he’s not really seeking LeBron’s advice but reporters asked LeBron about it). In the Simpsons’ episode Goodman encouraged the entire town of Springfield to “do what they feel” and “be like the boy” Bart Simpson. That worked out about as well as you’d expect.

So what was LeBron’s advice for ‘Melo, who hits the market this summer? Do what you feel. Basically. That’s what he said, as Newsday reported.

“You got to do whatever makes you happy,” James said before Thursday night’s Knicks-Heat game at the Garden. “When you’re happy, the game of basketball is going to be fun for you. Strive to be great every day and live with whatever else happens. So we’ll see.”

So should ‘Melo consider leaving some money on the table?

“I recommend it to me,” James said. “It doesn’t work for everybody. The way I live my life don’t work for everybody. All I care about is winning. I came to Miami to win. Money didn’t make me happy. Winning made me happy, and it still does. That’s what matters to me.”

LeBron still makes a lot of money, for the record. His salary from the Heat is dwarfed by endorsement deals (which grew after he won titles).

The problem for the Knicks, or anyone picking up Anthony, is really this: At his max salary his next contract would start at $22.5 million and go up from there (only Kobe Bryant would make more). While ‘Melo can score you plenty of points, if the team wants to win with him as a key piece they will need a high quality ball handling guard who can get other guys easy buckets and create shots (essentially forcing Anthony to just be part of the offense, not all of it), plus you need some quality defenders around him. You can’t all get that from the free agent market with how much of the cap space Anthony would take up.

It’s not that you can’t win with ‘Melo, it’s that you can’t with him making that much money.

But LeBron is right, ‘Melo needs to do whatever makes him happy. Do what you feel.

  1. aboogy123456 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    I think you can win with Carmelo making that much. Melo is a guy that the offense can run through every single time, and it will free up the other players so you don’t really have to have an elite point guard. I think if Melo and Kobe paired up, ideally the lakers would want to surround them with role players who can shoot well and play defense, and those guys aren’t that expensive. They don’t need a great point guard, just someone like norris cole who would not be a weak link on defense, but still have the ability to hit open shots when they double melo.

    • zerole00 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      The big question is who would they win against. If they’re playing against a team like the Heat, whose equally or better skilled players took less money, or a young (thereby cheaper) team like OKC there’s no way they can match the talent with the same salary cap. The math just doesn’t work out.

      • aboogy123456 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:17 PM

        That’s a great point but I think if you have the choice to build around melo for $22 mil or just say no, I would be excited to build around melo. The heat have lebron, but I think you can say the same thing about wade and bosh, that you can’t have a team with them gettting $19 million each, and maybe if a team can dominate them down low they have a chance. For OKC, they do have a cheaper team, but teams like the lakers are willing to go over the salary cap, and I think the Thunder are flawed anyway because they have no inside game.

        It’s too early to tell what would happen if the lakers get melo, because nobody knows what the rest of the roster would look like, what draft pick they get, and what would happen with Pau, but I think it gives them a great place to start.

      • zerole00 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        Why would you be excited? Despite commanding a max contract and the main focus of a team’s offense he has shown no leadership skills (unlike LBJ). He’s a good scorer but he’s not efficient (unlike Durant). His defensive skills aren’t very good (unlike Hibbert) More importantly, he doesn’t make the rest of his team better (unlike CP3).

      • aboogy123456 - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Are you kidding he doesn’t make his team better? No matter where he is on the court, carmelo commands a double team, which creates open shots for other guys, and carmelo does a great job finding them. Just because he doesn’t get a ton of assists doesn’t mean he’s not helping his teammates.

        He also is much more versatile than durant because he can play both inside and outside, so he’s easy to fit into any offense. I think the story about how Melo is inefficient is incorrect. Basketball is the ultimate team sport, so it’s much easier to be efficient when there’s talent around you.

      • aboogy123456 - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:20 PM

        No matter where he is on the court, carmelo commands a double team, which creates open shots for other guys, and carmelo does a great job finding them. Just because he doesn’t get a ton of assists doesn’t mean he’s not helping his teammates. He also is much more versatile than durant because he can play both inside and outside, so he’s easy to fit into any offense. I think the story about how Melo is inefficient is incorrect. Basketball is the ultimate team sport, so it’s much easier to be efficient when there’s talent around you.

  2. ranfan12 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    So in short he’s telling him to go somewhere where your chances of winning are higher right?

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 10, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      So he’s not going to the Bobcats

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        Or L.A.

  3. 950003cups - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    LeBron hath spoketh!

    Actually when someone gives the answer of “whatever you think is right for you”, you’ve been duped in to an answer that has “STFU” all over it. He brushed off the dumb question! That’s what he really was doing.

    LeBron has been very careful with his words since the “when you wake up” scene.

    The media should’ve just rubbed it in that he got jacked by one of the worst teams in the league. That would’ve got you a more direct answer.

    Or you can lob softballs at him. Next time ask him what shoe JR Smith should tie next time he feel he wants to lose 50k. Left or right shoe? Perhaps both at the same time?

  4. jcmeyer10 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Knicks got worked by Melo.

    • zerole00 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      Actually the Knicks got worked by the Knicks owner. Dolan could have just waited half a season and signed Melo in free agency but no, he wanted to mortgage their future and trade a bunch of first round picks for him.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:59 PM

        I hear that but Melo forced the trade so he could sign a max contract for an extra year and 25 or so million dollars. That trade gutted the team and thus any chance to pick and choose the talent to surround Melo and there was some talent that went back to Denver.

        So Melo worked em for an extra 25 million and the Knicks worked themselves by giving in.

  5. anthony0011 - Jan 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I can’t see melo going to a big market team, he would be great in a young atmosphere where he is the biggest name in the locker room, such as the kings or a team along those lines, with much upside and young talent

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      He only wants to be in a big market.

  6. beagle11 - Jan 10, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Masai and Walsh were in a chess match negotiating a deal, Dolan rode his short bus to the table with checkers in hand and pissed his pants. Almost a week before the deadline mind you.

  7. pike573 - Jan 10, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    It’s easy for LeBron to say he doesn’t care about money when he made $60m last year.

  8. knoxxlive - Jan 13, 2014 at 3:43 AM

    Philly, they’re getting cutting ties with Thad , and with MCW locked in his rookie contract and getting better EACH GAME they got ET at the 2 that would be a great fit , just get a couple big men and some bench players and your right in the mix! You already got a cheap team with solid players !

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