Sam SpiegelmanAlready rumors are swirling in regards to the futures of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom can opt of their current deals to become free agents after the 2013-14 season.
Both James and Anthony have been rumored to be targets of the Los Angeles Lakers, a team that must look to the next chapter without one Kobe Bryant.
Recently, Anthony told ESPN.com he could not commit to the New York Knicks beyond this current season. But would an Anthony departure open the door for James to come to the Big Apple?
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, James will “strongly consider” signing with the Knicks when he becomes a free agent in two years.
Yes, Knicks fans, let the watching and waiting begin.
After this season, Melo will likely opt out of his contract so he can secure a four- or five-year extension. For financial reasons, it certainly makes sense.
But while he’s potentially a target (we assume a backup plan) for LA, Hoopsworld suggests the Knicks will allow Anthony to play GM and assemble a crew he’d like to vie for championships with.
“On the Anthony front, there is a chance he looks at greener pastures in 2014, but sources close to the process say the Knicks have already let Anthony know that their books will basically clear in 2015 so he can pick his teammates much like Wade did in Miami.
“With the New York market behind him and the almost unlimited checkbook of the Knicks, Anthony will have a lot of options in 2015 and while teams like the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers might be tempting in 2014, Anthony has a lot of influence in New York and they are willing to let him build his own team in NYC in 2015.”
Should Melo stay, it ends the notion of LeBron joining the Knicks. For basketball reasons alone, it would be hard to envision both superstars sharing a court together, let alone the limelight of New York City.
But what if Melo opts to test the market and take the lucrative extension and try and lead a different crew to an NBA title? Is LeBron a viable target?
The Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers (and of course, the Miami Heat) are the likely front-runners for James. The Lakers should have all of their contracts coming off the books in 2015, while the Cavs appear to be assembling a roster that James could compete with back in his hometown.
And of course, if James wants to avoid his “The Decision” debacle again, staying in Miami seems to be the logical choice.
Despite what Smith reports on the LeBron front now, the Knicks don’t appear to be any higher than fourth on the list. Fans shouldn’t get their hopes up like they did the first time around, and instead should put their faith in Melo re-upping and perhaps restructuring the team.
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