Carmelo Anthony Leaning Towards Leaving Knicks for Rockets or Bulls

As the days move on, it appears less and less likely that Carmelo will be wearing a New York Knicks uniform next season.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Carmelo Anthony is leaning towards leaving the New York Knicks so he can join a team in championship contention. The report states that Carmelo is waiting for the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets to clear the necessary cap space to sign Anthony in free agency. The Bulls have remained a viable destination for Anthony for months, but Houston has recently emerged as a serious contender for the All-Star’s services.

With Carmelo Anthony turning 30 a few weeks ago, his clock is ticking to win a championship. This past season, Anthony averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds, having arguably his best season of his 12-year career. Even with his performance, the Knicks missed the playoffs in a laughably weak Eastern Conference. Carmelo Anthony is the star in place in New York, but the roster surrounding him won’t be bringing home any Larry O’Brien trophies. The Knicks have a barren roster and no draft picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, which makes it seem destined that the star would want to chase a championship in another city.

Anthony plans to opt out of the final year of his current contract with the Knicks, which would have paid him $23 million next season. The Rockets and Bulls would have to move various pieces in order to clear the cap space to acquire Carmelo Anthony. Most notably, Houston would have to shed the contracts of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. Houston could engage New York in a sign-and-trade scenario with Lin and Asik being in the final year of their current contracts. Chicago would have to unload the contracts of Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer, and another play to create the space for Carmelo Anthony.

Even though both teams would have to make several roster moves for Anthony, it’s obvious that playing in the notably weak Eastern Conference would mean an easier path to the NBA Finals for the star forward. However, everything with the Bulls rests on the shoulders (or knees) of former MVP Derrick Rose. Even though the Rockets play in the loaded Western Conference, teaming up with James Harden and Dwight Howard would make Houston an automatic favorite in the West.

Whatever the future holds for Carmelo Anthony, it appears less likely that it will be in New York.

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