LeBron James reportedly ‘interested’ in playing with Carmelo Anthony

LeBron-James-Carmelo-AnthonyLeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are close friends. That famous photo of the two superstars playing high school ball against each other shows how far back they go, but is there any way they could ever be teammates? Apparently that is something that interests LeBron.

Sam Amick of USA Today, who reported earlier this week that the Los Angeles Lakers are delaying their coaching search to appeal to free agents like LeBron and ‘Melo, noted that James is still “interested” in playing with Anthony at some point in his career.

Yet according to two people with knowledge of the situation, Anthony’s part in this fluid free agency situation is worth monitoring as James is known to be interested in eventually playing with his close friend. Anthony also has a player option on his deal for next season (worth $23.5 million), and his connection to James has teams like the Lakers, Knicks and even the Heat wondering whether he may be able to join the four-time NBA MVP. The people requested anonymity because of sensitive nature of free agency talk.

Unless an offseason rule change allows for two basketballs to be on the court at the same time during games, there’s no way LeBron, ‘Melo and Kobe Bryant are going to be teammates. Forget the salary cap implications. That just doesn’t make sense and is not going to happen.

LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all opt out of their contracts after this season, so there is room for the Heat to do some number shifting if they decided they wanted to make a run at Anthony. Still, it seems unlikely.

The most *likely* scenario (which isn’t likely at all) is that LeBron winds up with the New York Knicks if he leaves Miami. He could stick with his current contract for next season and sign with New York when Amar’e Stoudemire and a few others are cleared off the books in 2015, but it would be a shock if that came to fruition. Yes, even with Phil Jackson pulling the strings.

Bottom line — why would LeBron leave Pat Riley? Since joining the Heat, Riley has provided James with the supporting cast he needs to reach the NBA Finals each season. There’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to do that. LeBron has already won two championships in Miami and could have a third within weeks. He’s carving out his own legacy just like Kobe has with the Lakers and Michael Joordan did with the Bulls. Leaving would make no sense.

H/T Eye on Basketball

Carmelo Anthony reportedly meets with his crew to discuss free agent future

Carmelo Anthony KnicksCarmelo Anthony has not given a definite answer on whether he will opt out of his current contract with the New York Knicks, but we would all be shocked if he didn’t. Even if he decided to remain in New York, opting out would allow Anthony to sign a new deal with more years and more money. Who wouldn’t want that?

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Carmelo met with his agent, advisor and some other members of his entourage on Friday night to discuss his future as a free agent. Some would say the Knicks have an advantage in talks with Carmelo, as they can offer five years and around $130 million while other teams can offer a four-year, $96 million deal. But will New York make a max offer?

Phil Jackson indicated earlier this offseason that the team will need Anthony to take less than he is entitled to in order to give the Knicks flexibility to add other pieces. Carmelo also said he would take a pay cut to help New York sign other free agents, but that was before Jackson missed out on his top coaching target in Steve Kerr. Anthony might be worried about Jackson’s ability to recruit top free agents if he couldn’t even get his protege on board.

As Berman noted, the Knicks may still have the advantage on Anthony by default. The Houston Rockets — one potential destination for Carmelo — would need to move both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to make room for ‘Melo. The Chicago Bulls would have to get rid of Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. That type of roster maneuvering would be extremely difficult.

I’m sure part of Carmelo wants to finish what he started in New York and prove he can bring a championship to his hometown. The other part of him just wants to win a championship in general. Does he trust that Jackson will be able to bring in the right head coach and fill out the roster with championship-caliber players? We’ll find out soon enough.

H/T SI Wire

Report: Phil Jackson tells Carmelo Anthony he fully expects to hire Steve Kerr

Steve KerrDespite rumors that Steve Kerr is interested in earning a head coaching position with an NBA team on the West Coast, all indications are that he is still on track to become the next coach of the New York Knicks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Phil Jackson told Carmelo Anthony over dinner earlier this week that he fully expects to hire Kerr.

Jackson had dinner with Anthony in a private room at the Tribeca Steakhouse in New York. He reportedly confirmed to Anthony, who is expected to opt out of his current contract, that he will attempt to re-sign him via free agency. Jackson also told Anthony he expects Kerr to be an extension of himself on the sidelines, which makes sense since Kerr played under Jackson for five seasons and won three NBA championships.

As further evidence that the Knicks are still likely to sign Kerr, the New York Post reported on Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers are not currently pursuing the TNT NBA analyst. The reason? They believe Kerr is already too far along in talks with Jackson and the Knicks.

Kerr lives in San Diego and has a daughter who attends college in California. Some believe he would prefer to coach closer to home, but there are simply too many signs connecting him to the Knicks. It would be extremely surprising if he ended up elsewhere.

H/T Rotoworld

Oscar Robertson tells Spike Lee that Carmelo Anthony should leave Knicks

Carmelo-Anthony-Knicks-DefenseCarmelo Anthony is set to opt out of his current contract with the New York Knicks and become a free agent. While the recent hiring of Phil Jackson has brought hope to a franchise in shambles, it may not be enough to convince Carmelo to stay. According to Oscar Robertson, Anthony shouldn’t consider sticking around anyway.

On Thursday, Robertson told Spike Lee (of all people) on SiriusXM NBA Radio that Anthony would be crazy to re-sign with New York.

“I would leave today. Let me tell you why,” Robertson said, as transcribed by Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk. “Wherever that kid has gone, when he was at Denver, they had a team that fooled around with the ball, then all of the sudden when they needed a basket, threw it to Carmelo. Then, when he shot the ball, they said he shot too much. Then when he didn’t shoot they said he didn’t shoot enough.

“No matter what he does in New York they’re going to criticize him, the people are going to criticize him, because you got guys on that team (the Knicks) that cannot play. You got guys that are hurt all the time…”

Spike was quick to point out that the reason the Knicks hired Jackson was to clean up the mess they have created. Robertson doesn’t care.

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Carmelo Anthony wants Phil Jackson to bring in second superstar

Carmelo Anthony KnicksCarmelo Anthony was frustrated with the way the New York Knicks’ season went and called the 37-45 record that resulted in the team missing the playoffs a “failure.” He has the opportunity to become a free agent this summer and wants to return to the Knicks, but he also wants to win.

Before committing to the Knicks longterm, ‘Melo is challenging new team president Phil Jackson to acquire another superstar.

‘Melo has a $23.7 million option next season but is expected to opt out in order to sign his last big free agent contract. The Knicks can pay him $129 million over five years, which is more than any other team can pay him.

“I’m not at a point in my career where I want to rebuild,” Anthony said at the team facility Thursday.

He said he is willing to sacrifice money to bring in talented players because he is so hungry to win his first championship.

ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor says ‘Melo specifically wants another superstar on the team, and he says it’s on Jackson to bring in Kevin Durant or LeBron James by 2016. I think that’s an absolutely ridiculous notion and something that will never happen, so that premise is just silly. Their more likely options will come in 2015 when LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo are on the market. By then, it remains to be seen how much of a star the soon-to-be 30-year-old ‘Melo will be anyway.

Carmelo Anthony’s inbox is blowing up now that Knicks are eliminated

Carmelo AnthonyThe New York Knicks were officially eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff picture on Saturday night, which surprised hardly anyone given the way they have played for the better part of the season. Solid play in the month of March gave the team a chance, but Carmelo Anthony and company came up short. As a result, Anthony’s future is as uncertain as ever.

Anthony has no reason to not opt out of his current deal. Even if he ultimately decides to remain in New York, he can still get more money and years by signing a new contract. Now if only people would stop harassing him via text message, ‘Melo might be able to do some thinking.

I don’t know why Derrick Rose is talking crap, because he could very well be Anthony’s teammate next season. And Kobe’s team is one of the worst in the Western Conference at the moment, so he’d be lucky if ‘Melo joined him. The nerve on some people…

Carmelo Anthony got frustrated with Mike Woodson: ‘Lets play the f—ing game, man’

Carmelo-Anthony-Mike-WoodsonDon’t look now, but the New York Knicks have somehow strung together a series of wins. They beat the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night to pick up their seventh straight victory. Despite that, Carmelo Anthony reminded us late in the fourth quarter that superstar players have a tendency to get annoyed over nothing.

With the Knicks leading by seven points and just 19.5 second remaining, Anthony apparently wanted to go home. Mike Woodson was doing his job by reminding his players that they have no timeouts left and going over the situation when cameras caught a moment of defiance from Carmelo.

“Let’s just play the f—ing game, man,” a visibly frustrated Anthony said before putting his hand in the huddle to try to break up the discussion.

While you could argue that stuff like this happens all the time and it was no big deal, the reaction seemed pretty uncalled for. This is the same Woodson who admitted earlier this season that he forgot to call a timeout at the end of a game during a losing streak, so you can’t blame him for trying to be thorough. Anthony should respect that.

Meanwhile, the Knicks are 28-40 and just four games being the Atlanta Hawks for the 8th seed in the East. With 14 games remaining, they still have a shot at making the playoffs. What happens to Woodson if they go on a run? Phil Jackson will just have to cross that bridge if he comes to it.

Video via The Big Lead