Here’s a brief look at the factors facing Anthony as he nears his decision.
Money: The Knicks have offered Anthony a max contract worth $129 million over five years. Phil Jackson told reporters in Las Vegas that he has five different offers to Anthony. Some of those offers presumably include options for Anthony to accept less than maximum money.
The Bulls can offer Anthony a four-year, $73 million deal. Chicago can offer Anthony more if it acquires him in a sign-and-trade. Anthony would have to tell the Knicks that he is not going to return to New York before they would consider a sign-and-trade. The most Anthony can sign for in a sign-and-trade is a four-year, $96 million deal, that might strip Chicago of valuable assets.
The Rosters: The Knicks are coming off of a season in which they won just 37 games. They upgraded at point guard with Jose Calderon. Anthony is said to be in favor of the move but is it enough to convince him to re-sign? If Anthony signs a maximum contract, the Knicks could still have approximately $20 million in cap space to pursue free agents in the summer of 2015. The Knicks also have a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, which gives Jackson a chance to build around Anthony.
Carmelo has stated that he wants to put himself in position to contend for an NBA championship. So it’s easy to see why he would be enamored with Chicago’s roster. If he ends up in Chicago, Carmelo could be among a starting five of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler.
Rose's health, though, is unknown. The 25-year-old has played in just 49 games over the past three years because of injury.
Coaches: Tom Thibodeau is widely considered one of the top coaches in the NBA. He specializes at coaching defense, an area in which Anthony is most often criticized. Thibodeau could either hide Anthony’s flaws on that end of the floor or scheme well enough to cover them up.
Derek Fisher is a first-year head coach who will be closely aligned with Jackson. Anthony has said that he’s in favor of Jackson hiring Fisher. But there is an inherent risk in joining a team with a first-year head coach.
If the Bulls ink Gasol as a free agent, it would cut into the cap space they have to offer Anthony. If they receive him in a sign-and-trade, it would take away some pieces they have to offer the Knicks in a sign-and-trade for Anthony. So a Gasol signing seems to make it more difficult for Chicago to obtain Anthony, but it wouldn’t totally eliminate the Bulls from contention.
The Knicks appear to be on the outside looking in when it comes to Gasol. Jackson tried to trade Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani's contracts in trades to create cap space with the hope of making a more competitive offer for Gasol, but it seems the Knicks are long-shots in the Gasol pursuit at this point.
Question: If you were Carmelo, would you go with the Knicks or the Bulls?
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