Team: New York Knicks
Per-Game Stats: 28.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 24.8 PER
Let's assume the New York Knicks don't win a championship next year (they won't). There's a postseason flameout and the New York media/fanbase that was once so quick to embrace Carmelo Anthony quickly turns on him.
Melo is the scapegoat, much like LeBron James was after losing a championship during his first season in Miami. The subject of constant vitriol and enduring questions like "Why can't Melo carry a team to a title?" that conveniently ignore the shortcomings of his supporting cast, Anthony chooses to use his early-termination option.
It's no secret that Anthony loves the spotlight, but no one can take too much negative attention. So, where do you go if you're seeking a comparable spotlight to the one produced by Madison Square Garden and "The City That Never Sleeps"?
Los Angeles, of course.
The Lakers present Melo with a perfect fit, assuming he's willing to leave his hometown behind and take less money. As B/R's Dan Favale points out on Twitter, he'd be losing a lot of cash.
Anthony could be a star in one of the league's biggest markets (again), and he'd get to play alongside Kobe Bryant. The two are friends, and who could forget this quote that was delivered to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy back in 2011:
Another player that Jordan has directly influenced is Carmelo Anthony, who also came up during the question and answer session. Bryant said that the Lakers were never close to acquiring Anthony at last year’s trade deadline, but that he would have been thrilled with the move. In fact, Bryant was asked which current player he’d most like to team up with and he chose Anthony.
“I would actually like to play with Melo.” Bryant said. “Championships are won on the inside and I’m always thinking about winning the title. I would love to play with Melo because I would know that I have an inside presence. That’s really been the biggest strength with our Lakers team. We have a lot of guys who can play in the post, and that’s how you win championships. I can post, Lamar [Odom] can post, Ron [Artest] can post, Pau [Gasol] can post and Andrew [Bynum] can post. Teams are usually lucky if they have one guy that can control the block. But yeah, I would love to play with Melo.”
There's no beating around the bush from the Mamba, who makes his desire quite clear. And after Anthony won a scoring title, one would have to imagine the desire for future partnership has only grown stronger.