Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the most reliable sources for breaking NBA news, has reported that NBA sources indicate that Carmelo Anthony is planning to opt out of his contract with the New York Knicks, and the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets are the leading candidates to land Melo in free agency.
Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher flew to Los Angeles to meet with Anthony last night and try to persuade him to stay in New York, but apparently the meeting didn't do much to sway Melo.
As re-signing with the Knicks continues to fade as his priority, Chicago and Houston have emerged as the clear frontrunners to acquire Anthony, league sources told Yahoo Sports.Anthony's meeting with Knicks officials on Friday night had little impact on his state of mind, league sources said, because there remain too many uncertainties about how quickly president Phil Jackson can reshape the team into a championship contender.Chicago and Houston front-office executives are working diligently on contingencies to clear the space to sign Anthony outright – or engage sign-and-trade scenarios with New York, sources said.
"His heart is in New York," one source familiar with Anthony's thinking told Yahoo Sports, "but he wants a chance to win now."
How does this impact the Celtics? Other than losing hope of the "new big 3" pipe dream, the Houston Rockets would need to shed the contracts of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin in order to sign Melo. Asik has been mentioned quite a bit as a target for Boston, so this could potentially aid in acquiring him if trade talks resume. However, Lin's contract could be a problem if the Rockets want to do a package deal with both players, as he is likely of no interest to the Celtics.
Bill Simmons saw this coming last month, and offered a possible scenario where the Celtics would acquire both Asik's and Lin's contracts and also be able to obtain Kevin Love:
The most logical offer: Both 2014 picks, both 2015 picks, Sullinger, Bogans and Bass’s expiring for Love. That’s four first-rounders (including the no. 6 pick). If they pulled it off, they’d have to move quickly on Houston’s Asik, even if it meant taking Jeremy Lin’s contract as the price for Asik — conceivably, they could absorb Asik with the aforementioned trade exception and absorb Lin’s deal with their cap space — which helps Houston because they need to dump the Lin/Asik contracts to pursue Carmelo.
While many Celtics fans got excited at the possibility that Boston might be able to lure Carmelo Anthony, realistically it is not likely to happen. But Carmelo to Houston could possibly allow the Celtics to acquire Asik, as we are in dire need of a center.
Danielle Hobeika 6/14/2014 03:52:00 PM Tweet