Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears reported that the seven-time All-Star will make a final decision as to his next team within the week:
After contemplating his options this weekend,free agent Carmelo Anthony's decision isn't expected to linger late into the week,a source said— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 7, 2014
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported that Melo could decide as early as Monday:
When will Melo make it official? Obviously it could happen at any time, but Monday has been loosely mentioned as a day for some clarity— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2014
As of 6 PM EST Sunday, ESPN sources say NONE of Melo's suitors (Rockets, Bulls, Mavs or Lakers) have been told they are out of contention— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2014
Everyone is technically still alive ... though there is a rising sense around the league that Melo likely to choose between Knicks & Lakers— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2014
The good news for the four teams still in the running is that nobody's been eliminated, per NBA.com's David Aldridge:
Still waiting for Carmelo decision. Teams involved in sweepstakes have not heard anything yet this morning.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 7, 2014
Obviously, the allure of playing for a franchise like Los Angeles would be tempting for any player, regardless of how bad the Lakers were last year.
In addition, if you put a star as good as Anthony on L.A., then it papers over a lot of the on-court cracks.
Indirectly, Anthony’s decision impacts another significant free agent—Pau Gasol, who was scheduled to meet with Riley in Los Angeles. The Lakers’ hopes of keeping Gasol are centered on first getting Anthony, who would then, hopefully, entice Gasol to stay in L.A. rather than follow Riley back to South Beach, or to San Antonio or Oklahoma City—both of which harbor strong and real hopes they can get Gasol to take a huge pay cut to play for a contender.
That's what the Knicks look to be up against.
Working in New York's favor, of course, is that it can offer Anthony a five-year, $129 million deal, which is one year and $30 million more than anybody else can offer. Much has been said about how this summer's free agents might take less money to play for a contender, but turning down $30 million would be hard for anyone to do.
The Knicks have undoubtedly been a black hole on the court over the last year; however, the franchise's fortunes do look to be changing for the better. New York actually traded into the second round of the draft and proceeded to nail both the Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo picks.
Phil Jackson remains a bit of an unknown in terms of his ability to build a team, but the early signs are promising.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that a meeting between Anthony and the Knicks was promising:
All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony probed New York Knicks management on the franchise's plan to restore a contending roster and left his final free-agency meeting largely aligned with president Phil Jackson's vision, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Wojnarowski quoted a source as saying, "He just wants to feel like he's not all alone on the court."
Where will Carmelo Anthony sign?
For those still wondering why Anthony would consider New York as his No. 1 destination, you only need to look at the degree of difficulty in the respective conferences.
In the Western Conference, nothing can be taken for granted. Sure, Melo would make the Lakers better, but are they really winning the West with him? They'd have to go through the Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.
Home-court advantage in the opening rounds might even be a bridge too far.
New York, on the other hand, offers a little more security. As long as the Knicks get their stuff together, they could easily be a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference, with only the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and maybe the Indiana Pacers as their toughest competition.
More money and possibly a better chance to win games? Doesn't seem all that crazy.