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Lastly, there's the gem of this year's free-agent class: New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. By now, you should know what 'Melo brings to the table. He's one of the game's best pure scorers and can immediately change the outlook of a franchise just by his mere presence.
With smaller lineups becoming more prominent in today's NBA, Anthony's value is even higher because he has the size and post game to be an excellent small-ball power forward. Anthony can also put in work on the glass, as evidenced by his career-high 8.1 rebounds per game this season.
The catch with 'Melo is that only a select few will be able to vie for his services. If he were available on eBay, his handlers would put up a disclaimer asking for only serious bidders. As he gets set to turn 30 next month, Anthony is only going to entertain offers from teams with a legit chance at a ring (sorry, Lakers fans).
The Knicks will have the inside track because of 'Melo's love for the Big Apple and the fact that they can offer more money. They also have the presence of "The Zen Master," Phil Jackson, as the carrot they can wave in front of Anthony's face.
The other two teams that have been mentioned are the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls. Houston would need to do a little maneuvering with the cap to be able to afford Anthony. There's also the issue that the Rockets already have two solid forwards in Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones.
As for Chicago, it is the team that makes the most sense if championships are truly 'Melo's sole concern. The Bulls have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah and the inevitable return of former MVP Derrick Rose.
Beyond that, they have a great coach in Tom Thibodeau and a solid supporting cast that includes Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Anthony would give them a proven scorer (especially in crunch time) who can take pressure off Rose as he eases his way back from his second consecutive knee injury.
The Bulls could probably fit Anthony under the cap by amnestying Carlos Boozer, but they also have the resources to facilitate a sign-and-trade with New York.
The smart money is on 'Melo staying in MSG, but as we saw with Dwight Howard last year, the chance at a title means more to some people than large sums of money. Even with Jackson at the helm, the Knicks aren't as close to being contenders as the others competing to sign 'Melo.