LeBron 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.