Take a deep breath, basketball fans.
According to a report from Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is the apple of Miami Heat executive Pat Riley‘s eye. And if Anthony were to opt out of his current contract with the Knicks, write Stein and Windhorst,
Heat officials and the team’s leading players have already started to explore their options for creating financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding [Anthony.]
Mad Dog Sports Radio’s Adam Schein called such a move a “distinct possibility” at this point. And despite his Knicks fandom, Schein wouldn’t hold it against Anthony if he headed south.
If Carmelo Anthony took less money and said, “I’m signing with the Miami Heat,” I would give him a standing ovation. Understand I’m a Melo fan, understand I’m a Knicks fan, understand I want nothing more than Carmelo Anthony to opt out and sign a mega-buck deal with the Knicks, and I want him as part of the solution in Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher turning the program with the New York Knicks around. There is nothing I want more. And I firmly believe that in his heart of hearts, Carmelo Anthony wants to stay in New York. I also think he’s sick and tired of losing, and he’s sick and tired of getting his brains beat in by LeBron James. The absolute last thing I would ever criticize Carmelo for is if he took less money to win a championship. And I’ll tell you something else: If LeBron, if Bosh, if Wade, if they all took less money to win another championship, I would give them a ton of credit as well.
Ethan Skolnick, the Heat beat writer for Bleacher Report, told Taylor Zarzour on Bleacher Report Radio that he thinks the odds are against Anthony signing with Miami.
First thing, it’s no surprise to me that Riley would be trying to make this happen. This is what he does. I mean, Pat Riley is not going to rebuild this team through the draft. He doesn’t have the time for it, he doesn’t have the patience for it […] It makes perfect sense that he would try to exploit a loophole in the CBA, which is that, no, you can’t pay players extra off the books, but, if they’re making a ton of money off the books, you can try to convince them to try to get more endorsement deals and make up whatever it is you’re not allowed to pay them. So I get what they’re trying to do, and I’m not surprised by that. Now, does it happen? I put it at about 30 percent. There certainly is a possibility, but there are a lot of guys that are gonna have to make sacrifices here.
I would think that Melo is understanding that winning a championship has gotta be a part of his career, has gotta be a part of his legacy. And Miami would make sense, Chicago would make sense. You know, right now, the star factor in our league, there’s no question the star factor has the prominence of delivering a championship-type of basketball team. I think Melo wants that. I’ve always felt that Melo has been maligned a little bit for whatever people call him, selfish or individualistic, and he can’t win a championship; Melo knows how to win.
Michael Wilbon went a step further on SiriusXM NBA Radio, arguing that with Melo, the Miami Heat would be unbeatable in the Eastern Conference.
If you’re gonna take a pay cut, you wanna think you can be in a position to win while you’re making less money, and the Knicks are not going to be in any kind of position to win for the next couple of years […] If Carmelo has the attitude that he has on the Olympic team and he plays like he does in the summers, where is happy to just kind of fit in and be a different kind of teammate than he has been in New York or in Denver, I don’t see a situation in the East where anybody can even challenge Miami.
For more reaction to offseason NBA rumors, listen to SiriusXM NBA Radio, channel 217, Mad Dog Sports Radio, channel 86, and SiriusXM Sports Zone, channel 92.