Carmelo Anthony is expected to be waived by the Chicago Bulls, making him a free agent. Here are teams that should consider giving him a chance.
Carmelo Anthony is a candidate for future NBA Hall-of-Fame, as he has over the course of his 16-year NBA career averaged 24.0 points per game while being a 10-time All-Star and making six All-NBA teams.
Although he will not be remembered for his defense or leading his teams to deep playoff runs, he will go down as one of the purest scorers of his era.
Drafted third overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, he spent seven and a half seasons being the star player before being traded to the New York Knicks. He then played in his prime and was the star for the Knicks for six and a half seasons, making the NBA All-Star team every season while there.
During his first 14 seasons, Melo only made it deep into the playoffs twice, once with the Nuggets and once with the Knicks, but neither time was able to make it to the NBA Finals. Heading into his 15th season, Melo was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder had just acquired Paul George in a trade just months prior to trading for Anthony. The trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony looked primed to be a true threat in the Western Conference.
It took a while for Melo to adjust to being the third scoring option on a team for the first time in his career, and statistically had his worst season. He was criticized for his lack of defensive effort and refused to come off the bench. It just seemed like a misfit.
With one year and $27.9 million left on Melo’s contract, an agreement was made between the Atlanta Hawks and the Thunder to send Melo to Atlanta to be bought out, making him a free agent to sign with whoever he likes. Shortly after, Carmelo Anthony signed a minimum contract with the Houston Rockets and agreed to come off the bench.
After just 10 games in Houston, the Rockets decided that the chance they took on Carmelo Anthony was not working out, and he was removed from the rotation as they searched for a trade partner. Months went by, and no suitors for Melo came forward.Finally, on Jan. 21, the Rockets were able to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have no intentions of using Melo on their roster, but rather will waive him, once again making him a free agent.
Assuming the Bulls do waive him and he clears waivers, what teams should look at making him an offer?
The Brooklyn Nets are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference, and one of only six teams in that entire conference with a winning record. The Nets have not made the playoffs since the 2014-15 season, and barring something strange happening, should find themselves back this season in the weaker East.
Caris LeVert was having an exceptional season before getting injured darkly in the season, and it is uncertain whether he will return this season. Whether he does return or not, as of right now the Nets are 15th in the NBA in points per game. If there is anything Melo can help with, it is scoring.
If there is one position in which the Nets lack depth, it is power forward, which is Anthony’s position. A bench unit including Sixth Man of the Year candidate Spencer Dinwiddie and Carmelo Anthony could be one of the better scoring bench units in the NBA.
Melo could also prove valuable for this Nets team in the playoffs, when the game slows down and scoring in the half-court is more obvious. Brooklyn has one open roster spot, so it could acquire him without having to make any roster changes.
Fans across the league are discussing Carmelo Anthony finally playing with his off-the-court friend LeBron James this season. What about Carmelo playing with his friend Dwayne Wade? The Miami Heat are another team that struggles to score points on a nightly basis, currently fifth-to-last in the NBA.
Last season in OKC, Anthony still averaged 16.2 points per game in what was considered a down year. That would be good for second-leading scorer on this Heat team, behind only Josh Richardson. Miami is a team that lacks star power, and has a scoring-by-committee approach. They do not have a single 20 points per game scorer, and it shows with their offensive struggles this season.
Miami is also the worst free throw shooting team in the entire NBA, at 68.5 percent. Melo is a career 81.1 percent shooter from the line, and could help Miami in that category as well.
Wade struggled to be productive on the star-studded Cleveland Cavaliers, just as Anthony struggled on the star-powered Thunder and Rockets. Wade has found himself being productive once again on this young, balanced Heat team, and is actually their third-leading scorer. Could Melo thrive in this way as well?
The Heat already have an open roster spot, so they could sign Anthony without having to make any roster changes.
The Detroit Pistons are the very worst 3-point shooting team in the entire NBA at 33.2 percent from deep. Anthony, a career 34.7 percent 3-point shooter, could help their cause. The Pistons are also 25th in the NBA in points per game, which also goes to show they could use Melo.
If there is one team that needs to take a risk on a scorer, it’s Detroit. Anthony would be a nice piece off the bench behind Blake Griffin, and would be someone who would have the opportunity to be a volume shooter off the bench. Henry Ellenson currently plays behind Griffin, and only averages 6.0 points per game.
Detroit could be a perfect fit for Anthony. The Pistons already have two stars in Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, meaning Melo wouldn’t have the pressure of being their top contributor. He could play alongside both as well, considering they are both great defenders and could help mask his defensive woes. The Pistons currently have a full 15-man roster, so they would have to make some sort of roster move to make this acquisition happen.
The Pistons also have had the worst percent attendance at their home games two of the last three seasons. Bringing a guy like Melo into the locker room would at least get Pistons fans excited to come to games again.
Although the Charlotte Hornets have a couple of young, potential future stars, Kemba Walker does not have a proven second scorer on the current roster. With Walker being a free agent this summer, and the Hornets needing to do everything they can to keep him from walking for nothing, Melo could help them make the playoffs, and even be competitive once making it.
Outside of Kemba Walker, who takes the majority of the scoring load, the Hornets only have three players who average double-digit scoring numbers. Their second-leading scorer is currently Jeremy Lamb, who averages 15.1 points per game. The way the roaster is currently constructed, Melo could potentially start for this Hornets team once he settles in. Melo is a guy that needs the ball in his hands to make an impact, and he could certainly have that luxury in Charlotte.
Even with a losing record, the Hornets are still No. 7 in the East, and on track to make the playoffs. The Hornets already have an open roster spot, and could acquire him without having to shake up their roster.
The Portland Trail Blazers are the only team on this list in the West. With how tight that conference playoff race is, teams may not be as willing to bring in a guy like Melo, who could initially take some time to jell with the team and temporarily offset chemistry.
It seems like every year, the Blazers make it to the playoffs, but never have the knockout punch they need to get deep into the playoffs. In fact, they have been swept in the first round, two seasons in a row.
Portland has two solid power forwards already in Al-Farouq Aminu and Zach Collins, but neither provides the scoring punch that Melo is still able to offer, even at this stage in his career. Although it is a risk for Portland to add Carmelo Anthony to their roster, it needs to do something to shake up their roster for this year’s playoff run.
The summer that Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum pushed hard to get Melo to Portland. Better late than never? The Trail Blazers currently have a full 15-man roster, so they would have to make some sort of roster move to make this acquisition happen.
Will any of these teams, or another team not listed like the Los Angeles Lakers, be willing to give Carmelo Anthony a chance to play in the NBA again? If so, it will more than likely be closer to the trade deadline, when teams finalize their roaster going into the back half of the season. Teams may also wait to see what the buyout market looks like, as they may be able to acquire solid players through buyouts.
By Kayode Hammed: (Twitter: @kayodemed)