Report: Dwight Howard Privately Advising Carmelo Anthony on Upcoming Free Agency

Ben Leibowitz@BenLeboCorrespondent IIIFebruary 25, 2014

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Houston Rockets All-Star center Dwight Howard knows a thing or two about NBA free agency, and he’s reportedly using that knowledge to counsel New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

In an interview with USA Today's Sam Amick, D12 said he has discussed free agency with 'Melo on "several occasions" and maintains that Anthony's primary focus is on winning.

He has been in the league for a long time. He hasn't made it to the Finals and at this point in his career he wants to win. You can see it every night when he plays. I know he has to take a lot of shots and all that stuff, but he just wants to win.

I can't say (what he'll do). That's on him. He's got to decide. (But) he can't be what everybody else wants. In this situation, you've got to take your heart out of it…So I'd just say for him, take his heart out of it and think with his head and think about business.

Howard left approximately $30 million and an extra contract year on the table last summer in favor of signing with Houston. That turned out to be a great decision from an objective basketball perspective, because the Los Angeles Lakers have experienced a nightmarish, injury-riddled campaign.

Lakerland has the fifth-worst record in the league at 19-38, while the Rockets sport the third-best record in the Western Conference at 38-18.

Anthony, meanwhile, is in the midst of a dreadful season in New York. The Knicks are 21-36, 5.5 games behind the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks.

Feb 21, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after stepping out of bounds with less then a minute to go in regulation with the game tied as the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 129-121 in double overtime a
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The losing has started to weigh heavily on Anthony, as he said his optimism is “definitely being tested,” per Newsday’s Al Iannazzone. 'Melo is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time in his 11-year career.

At the end of the day, only Anthony has the power to decide his fate. If winning is his No. 1 priority, though, the dysfunctional Knicks may not be the best spot for him this summer.

With that said, Anthony did say that he's willing to take a pay cut if it leads to the Knicks building a contender around him. Per the New York Post's Marc Berman:

Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I’d do it. I told people all the time, if it takes me taking a paycut, I’ll be the first one on Mr. Dolan’s steps saying: 'Take my money and let’s build something strong over here.'

The 29-year-old All-Star has continued to play extremely well this season, averaging 28.2 points, a career-high 8.6 rebounds and three assists per game. Despite his dominance, New York hasn't been able to find any type of consistency.

Amick wrote the following of the Knicks' ugly situation:

With less than two months left in the regular season, the Knicks' ongoing pitch to keep Anthony couldn't be going much worse. After failing to upgrade their roster in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 20 trade deadline, they have lost nine of their last 11 games and entered Tuesday a whopping six games out of playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

He added that Mike Woodson's position on the coaching hot seat and Raymond Felton's recent arrest aren't helping matters.

While the Knicks are tied to numerous bad contracts, they would have plenty of options in 2015 when those of Amar'e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler are all set to expire.

Howard made an unprecedented move by putting winning over money in 2013. Perhaps Anthony will do the same this summer either by taking a pay cut in New York or leaving for a different situation.