Uncertainty reigns for ‘Melo, LeBron


VIDEO: ‘Melo has to choose between the Knicks and Lakers

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Smoke, mirrors, rumor, innuendo and uncertainty have ruled the day since free agency began for the biggest names on the market.

With Carmelo Anthony mulling over max offers from at least two teams (the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks) and LeBron James sorting through possible face-to-face presentations from hand-picked finalists, all we know for sure one week into this process is that no one knows for certain if the incumbent teams will hold on to their prized superstars.

The Lakers have given Anthony something to think about and have positioned themselves as the main threat to the Knicks. Rumblings that James is seriously considering a return to his Cleveland roots with the Cavaliers is a narrative that is simply too juicy to ignore, no matter if those rumblings are legitimate or not.

Complicating matters for guys like Heat boss Pat Riley and his Knicks counterpart Phil Jackson is the lack of activity on the part of these superstars one way or another.

Riley cannot move on anything without knowing for sure what LeBron, the linchpin of the Heat’s revitalization blueprint, plans to do. And that leaves Chris Bosh vulnerable to the sales pitch of a team like the Houston Rockets, who have reportedly put themselves in a position to play the role of spoiler with their Plan B options if they miss out on Carmelo (who visited the Rockets on his national recruiting tour last week) and LeBron.

With Omer Asik traded and Dwight Howard in need of an elite power forward to play alongside him, the Rockets have turned their attention to trying to pry Bosh away from the Heat while there is continued uncertainty about what LeBron will do. It makes perfect sense for the Rockets — divide and conquer while strengthening their own ranks with yet another All-Star piece .

The dots connect ultimately back to both Carmelo and LeBron in almost every theoretical scenario.

What if the Heat’s Big Three of LeBron, Bosh and Dwyane Wade went into the process thinking they’d work in concert and allow Riley and the Heat the time needed to work out the details, only to have things change dramatically when it became clear that their individual salary demands and future plans don’t coincide with what the Heat had in mind?

What if the Knicks’ ace in the hole with ‘Melo — that max offer of $129 million that they could offer that no one else could — isn’t enough to keep the face of that franchise in the fold?

That proposed Big Four pipe dream Riley spoke of the week before free agency began appears to be just that for Heat fans, an absolute pipe dream. If the machinations of the past few days aren’t just the hype that comes along with the process for superstars in free agency, keeping the Big Three together could wind up being the real pipe dream.

The fact is, as much as these decisions are about the superstar conglomerates necessary to compete for championships, these superstars are making individual financial decisions that could alter the landscape of the league.

If Carmelo decides to join Kobe Bryant in L.A., and the Lakers put any semblance of a decent supporting cast around them, the Lakers suddenly become a factor again in the rugged Western Conference. And keep in mind, the Lakers and Knicks are the only teams capable of offering Carmelo max money (four years and $97 million in L.A. and five years, $129 million from the Knicks) without making any other roster moves.

If LeBron decides to bolt from Miami and take his talents back to say Cleveland, then he lends instant powerhouse credibility to the mismatching parts (starting with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins) assembled in the wake of his departure via free agency four years ago.

This growing notion that Anthony is choosing between the Lakers and Knicks means that the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Rockets, Phoenix Suns and anyone else positioning themselves as a suitor for the biggest name(s) on the free-agent market would be wise to move on to their alternate plans.

Finding elite role players willing to sacrifice their monster paydays for the greater good in Miami proved more difficult than probably even Riley imagined, given the uncertainty surrounding James, whose commitment might have sped up the process for Riley and the Heat in regards to their pursuit of guys like Kyle Lowry and Marcin Gortat.

They have both agreed to terms on lucrative deals to remain with their respective teams, the Toronto Raptors for Lowry and Washington Wizards for Gortat.

And therein lies the true consequence of kissing and then rolling the free agent dice in today’s NBA.

You can wait for the smoke to clear from the first crazy week of the process and then see where you stand with the impact players, a reasonably sound plan for those operating from a position of power. Then again, as we’ve learned from the smoke, mirrors and innuendo of this weekend alone, it only produces uncertainty until either Carmelo or LeBron makes a decision … or at least gives us a hint as to what they plan to do.

35 Comments

  1. NBA Fan says:

    Please stop listening to the incessant talk by the players and agents. They are like politicians — they will say anything, change their minds, and forget what they promised. Focus on what they actually DO. Fortunately, we’ll find out soon what they DO, so we can move on to more interesting things.

  2. David Sharp says:

    Carmelo Anthony is a perfect fit with the Lakers especially if kobe takes more of a point guard role.Along side Pau gasol and 7th overall pick Julius Randle.

  3. 136MiamiBIG3 says:

    4 straight NBA Finals appearances (4 straight division championships) and 2 NBA titles won in BIG 3 ERA! The BIG 3 are good where they are just tweak the supporting player lineup. Wade and Bosch willing to take a pay cut (for the 2nd time!) for the sake of winning….That has to mean something to LBJ?! Miami strong…………I say he stays!

    • Brad T says:

      Well lets not get too excited about the “2″ titles, it is more like 1 and 1/2

    • James says:

      I agree if they stay the talent will come jump aboard. Keep fighting. So what they had two bad finals were they werent playing A game eventually they will play A game all the time.

  4. lakers says:

    Anthony stays with Knicks….LBJ SIGNS 1 YR DEAL with Heat and joins Melo in NY next year with phil …or Bosh signs with rockets and Anthony to Miami with LBJ…

  5. JoAnn says:

    Switch out Anthony and James. Carmelo to Heat and LeBron to Knicks. Plain and simple.

  6. Bill says:

    Really? Joining an old Kobe and an older Steve Nash in a Phil Jackson-less Lakers, and that’s supposed to give him a better chance of winning than with the higher paying Knicks? Waht

  7. matt says:

    Stop being dumb lbj n melo joining Kobe with the Lakers to Hell with the other teams. Reporters say James to Cleveland because James is trying not to let everyone know the truth. Championship

  8. TheKush says:

    I don’t know about Melo but I’d choose the Money in New York! $129 MILLION if I walked away from that just to dribble a basketball I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night!

  9. celtics fan says:

    Are all the other teams (such as the Celtics) unable to clear enough space to get involved with discussions with Melody and LBJ? Getting tired of all the hoopla surrounding these two and Bosh and Wade. Sign with someone and let’s move on.

  10. onterryio says:

    The team needs to be restructure and players that didn’t show up in the championship game needs to go, if I was lebron I would make it hard for them, he was great during the playoffs and always put up his numbers were was the other players M.I.A.

  11. Zac says:

    LeBron will join Cleveland… Browns, not Cavs

  12. underdog says:

    I think Melo is in a no man’s land. Anywhere he goes it will be the wrong decision. And I don’t really think that LAL is a choice for Melo here, he will not win there and his family will have to move very far. The choice is just between CHI or NYK. CHI is the best fit and they will be instant contenders if he goes there but then he would have to sacrifice about 60M!!! It’s just like you payed for your legacy and the cost is 60M!!!, So the best choice for Melo will be to re-sign with the Knicks but not the max. Sacrifice 4-5 M a year so Phil can do his thing in 2015. That would be his best decision basketball-wise, money-wise, and family-wise.

  13. J4CK Nicholson says:

    Hopefully:

    - Melo, Stephenson, Sessions and Beasely to Lakers.
    - Lakers to re-sign Hill, Young, Johnson, Henry and Marshall.
    - Pau to Spurs.
    - Nash be traded or waived.
    - LeBron to Cleveland (Imagine how 3 #1 picks will co-exist)
    - Bosh to OKC or Rockets.

    • Bstarr NBA Holland says:

      Uhm you are wrong on 1 thing:

      - LeBron to Cleveland (Imagine how 3 #1 picks will co-exist)

      That would mean 4 # 1 picks in 1 team (LBJ, Kyri, Bennett, Wiggins) not 3

      All eyes on the Cavs in that case lol what a scenario!

  14. G Amsterdam says:

    they don’t play like the older generation for the love of the game .
    Just like Z for 3 says $$$$ seems to be the main focus.
    To get a high salary doesn’t make you the best player.
    To be a champion sometimes you need to put yourself in the background if that helps the team to become a championship team .
    But know some players just think about $$$$$ where’s the love for the game!!!!

  15. Carlo says:

    Although trading and FA hiring is interesting… I’m getting VERY tired by all this blahblah about LBJ and ‘Melo which doesn’t bring to anything real.
    I know you’re paid to produce one article a day but enough is enough.
    Either provide us with real info about any other player not name ‘Melo or LBJ, or just close for holidays and see you next fall.

    Anyway, as it was demonstrated, the “real thing” will be during next PO’s, 11 months from today.

    • harrythehawk says:

      I agree w you Carlo. The end result could most likely be that both LeBron James and Carmello Anthony stay with their respective teams. All this hoopla for zilch.

  16. slipstik says:

    lowry = raptors, gortat = wizards, pau = lakers, that leaves denG to heat, lebron to cavs.

  17. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    [The Return to Cleveland]

  18. skargr says:

    I can only imagine Lebron’s first game back in the Q… it will be a fantastic moment. If Lebron wins just 1 championship in Cleveland, it will be equivalent to 5 championships elsewhere. Lebron is already within the top five greats, BUT his legacy will be mentioned in a very different context.

  19. Roxanna says:

    Melo is a New Yorker, loving his New York fame, lights and team. Lets not forget that $129 Mill going in his bank ; Melo stays.
    LeBron wants a change, and is beating himself for the championship loss this year; LeBrons going to Cleveland.
    Kobe… Well, Kobe is Kobe.Keeps going.

  20. Bulls fan says:

    so glad to hear that Bulls are unlikely to get Melo. It would have been a disaster, the bench would be nonexistent and losing either Gibson, Mirotic or Butler to get Melo would have been a waste. Secure Mirotic and resign D.J. Go bulls.

  21. bubuh says:

    Lebron is joining the cavs I think

    • TURSETTE says:

      JORDAN is also making a comeback

      • He already has, for another gold digging Latina Chica. The 1st one Juanita, got 150 million , even though -to quote Rick Ross-she wasn’t in a gym shooting-.
        The recent Cubana,34 year old side piece acquisition, , will get double that, after she too move on,like Diaw, to bigger, and better things.

  22. Jay says:

    You don’t need to read the article, I’ll sum it up for you. Melo and LBJs choosing… ‘WE DON’T KNOW’

  23. Z for 3 says:

    If Melo was in it for the championships, he would go to chicago. if not chicago, dallas. but $$$ seems to be the #1 priority

    • Ahhh enough, for Chicago, or Dallas will never win a championship this century.

      • Peter says:

        Have to disagree. Think Melo has a really good chance with Chicago. Great coach, and they have Rose and other good players as well. Also, the East is less competitive.

    • Julesjulius says:

      Exactly! That’s what I said. The best team for him to contend for a championship will be dallas. He’s already said money ain’t an issue for him. Dallas was the only team to battle well with the spurs.