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Report: If Carmelo Anthony leaves New York, he is leaning toward Chicago

Jan 25, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks Getty Images

In the end, I still believe that Carmelo Anthony will be a New York Knick next season. When he surveys all his options, he will choose Manhattan, he will choose to go down as a Knicks’ legend.

But ‘Melo is going to look at his options closely. His amazing 62-point performance aside, the 16-27 Knicks’ struggles are clearly wearing on him — it doesn’t help the Knicks are largely locked into this same roster next season. The idea that ‘Melo could leave as a free agent this summer has shifted from “no way he leaves” to “he has to consider his options.”

Anthony knows those options and if he bolts he’s thinking about Chicago not Los Angeles, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

The losing, the decaying roster, has inspired ‘Melo to consider closely the possibilities of free agency this summer. Within the past several weeks, a longtime confidant of Carmelo Anthony confesses, something changed. Never did he believe there was a chance Anthony would leave the New York Knicks – never the Madison Square Garden stage, never the $129 million contract extension.

Only now, the gloom of the Knicks’ season – the uncertainty of the franchise’s future – left that man to believe it’s possible Anthony could leave New York in free agency.

“Chicago is much more in play for him than L.A.,” the source said.

While the Lakers will have the cap space and likely would have a conversation with Anthony, the interest on their end isn’t as strong as some rumors suggest. They understand that a Kobe Bryant/’Melo team, with not much around that pair (they will be over the cap and not able to spend much on role players) is not going far in a deep West, nor is it building for the long term. That doesn’t even touch on the fact they would need to change coaches again. Expect the Lakers to be more aggressive in 2015 and beyond when they can go after players such as Kevin Love.

The Bulls are a more interesting fit. Chicago will have the cap space to sign Anthony after the Luol Deng trade and if they amnesty Carlos Boozer as expected (plus make a couple other small moves).

If you are going to win a title with Anthony on your team you need a strong point guard who can make sure the workload is shared and Anthony doesn’t become a black hole. The Bulls have Derrick Rose. Your team also needs a strong team commitment to defense and a big who can erase mistakes, because while Anthony has tried harder on defense the last couple seasons he’s still not good. The Bulls are the prototype of team defense. You need to be able to play Anthony at the four, which Chicago could do. ‘Melo would be an interesting fit in Chi-town.

I’m still not sold that the Tom Thibodeau/Anthony marriage would go well. I’m not sold the Rose/Anthony marriage goes all that well. I’m certainly not sold Anthony wants to leave being the guy at the center of the New York spotlight. I’m not sure he wants to leave that max guaranteed year of salary on the table (the Knicks can offer five years, the Bulls just four).

But it sounds like Anthony is going to seriously consider that option.

  1. jbeagles23 - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    I’m starting to beleive melo will end up joining lebron next year

    • Miami305 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Come to Miami Melo! We could use you!

  2. hijackthemic - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    “…he will choose to go down as a Knicks’ legend.”

    Five more years of struggling to just make the playoffs? Tell me again about the Legend of Carmelo.

    • cajunfury - Jan 26, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Not necessarily. The Knicks will have decent cap space next year.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Actually in 2015, not next summer. Even if Anthony bolted town the Knicks would be over the cap next year.

  3. iangas33 - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Even if he chooses to go to Chicago, it wouldn’t be based on the the always injured professional bench rider that is D-Rose

  4. charnk - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    OMG! that would be sweet!

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