Carmelo Anthony‘s free agent tour has concluded for the moment, and after stops in Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles, he’ll reportedly take the holiday weekend to consider his options before making a decision.
It’s been well-documented that Anthony would need to leave more than $30 million on the table to sign a deal somewhere other than New York, assuming that the Knicks would offer him a max contract to re-sign. What wasn’t clear was the exact amount other teams may be willing or able to scrape together in order to entice Anthony to leave — but we now know that at least two clubs are willing to offer him the max contract he’ll likely require.
"Source: Knicks told Melo tonight that he can have max contract. Privately, they have told him this all along. Reiterated it tonight."
The contract offers being reported honestly don’t change much. The Knicks were believed to be willing to pay Anthony the max all along, despite Phil Jackson nudging him to agree to sign for less, and the Lakers would have to come with a full max offer to even be considered given the state of the team, which offers more questions than answers. Remember, there’s no head coach currently in place there, and to say that the roster is in a fair amount of flux would be quite the understatement, given the fact that so few players are under guaranteed contracts for next season or beyond.
The Bulls provide Anthony with the best chance to win now, but won’t be able to clear enough cap space to get to that full max deal that the Lakers have to offer without sacrificing a key pice (like Taj Gibson), which might make Anthony change his mind about coming in the first place.
The Knicks and the Bulls remain the favorites to land Anthony’s services. But if a change of scenery to play in a big market while sacrificing the least amount of money possible to do so is of interest, then the Lakers — and their unique ability to offer a four-year max contract — may at that point be considered a realistic destination.