Carmelo Anthony wants an NBA Championship ring, and he wants one yesterday! However, it’s starting to become clear that the New York Knicks aren’t the team he will do that with.
After missing out on the Playoffs last season, despite ‘Melo finishing second in scoring (27.4), the free scoring forward has the option to pack his bags and waive goodbye to New York City for pastures new.
According to reports, the two that appear to be the most enticing, yet realistic destinations are Chicago and Houston with the Bulls or the Rockets.
But which team is better?
Houston already has James Harden running the show and in his first season with Dwight Howard, finished with the fourth best record in the Western Conference. That was thanks to their high powered offense which ranked second in the entire league in points per game with an impressive 107.7 points per outing.
However they were porous on the other end, allowing 103.1 points per game, to finish in the bottom 10 despite having a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner roaming the paint. Ultimately, their defense is what cost them during the Playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers because they simply could not stop them scoring.
Granted it might be a cliché but defense truly does win championships. And that is exactly what Chicago possess – great defense.
Joakim Noah took this season’s Defensive Player of Year Award and led the NBA in defensive win shares with 6.7. Swingman Jimmy Butler is also a strong favourite to make it into the NBA’s All Defensive First team, while Taj Gibson was in the hunt for the NBA’s Sixth Man award thanks to, you guessed it, his outstanding defense.
Then again, what good is defense if you can’t put the ball in the basket yourself? After all, the game is all about putting the ball into the net and Chicago was the worst at doing so, scoring just 93.7ppg.
That is due to the fact that the star player, the 2011 Most Valuable Player, Derrick Rose was out for the near enough the whole year with yet another knee injury, which raises another red flag.
At his peak, D Rose was arguably the best point guard in the business. His athleticism and speed, matched only by Russell Westbrook at the point guard position, and his scoring ability was second to one. However, it’s unknown what shape he’ll be in, upon returning to the court.
Will he be an elite point guard once again, or will he be a shell of his former self and be the modern day Grant Hill of the NBA?
Furthermore, Anthony may have to take a pay cut if he wishes to play in the Windy City.
Per Basketball Insider’s Nate Duncan: If the Bulls cannot trade for Anthony, then getting to the point where they can offer Anthony his full $22 million starting salary via cap room is not worth the cost. They would have to trade away Taj Gibson to clear that kind of space, but would then have only the two-year, $2.7m Cap Room Exception and the league minimum at their disposal to fill in the roster around Rose, Butler, Anthony and Noah.
The only way this move works is if Anthony either takes a sizeable pay cut or Chicago trades an extremely valuable player in Gibson, which Joakim Noah said is a “no-no.”
And yet, after all injury red flags and potential pay cuts, maybe Chicago is Carmelo’s best destination. After all, he isn’t an elite defender and a line-up featuring himself and James Harden would be a defensive calamity.
Plus, Derrick Rose at 75 percent is still pretty darn good.
Although, with that said, he could yet stay put in New York.
Perhaps he could heed Phil Jackson’s advice and wait a year to see how things shape up. And maybe in 2015, he and Kevin Love could decide to join forces. Maybe even in the L.A. Lakers’ purple and gold.
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