The relationship between Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder is in shambles. Both the team and player wish to move on from each other, which means Carmelo Anthony is going to need a new team next season. There are teams that want the 10x all-star, but each comes with their own pros and cons.
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles primarily allows Carmelo to play with beloved friend LeBron James who just got to LA himself. He gets to play in a huge market where he had a lot of success (New York beforehand) and gets all the perks that come with it. Also, his fit with the Lakers would be practically seamless. Magic Johnson and company added guys like Rajon Rondo, Javale McGee, and Lance Stephenson; all guys not really known for their ability to shoot. Adding Carmelo Anthony would immediately place him in a spot where he can be the #1 knockdown shooter. Add in the fact that he will probably for once in his career with LeBron by his side; this may be the place for Melo.
The major con with the Los Angeles Lakers is that if Carmelo is the only big addition they make the rest of the offseason, they probably will not win anything. LeBron and Melo together may turn out to be pretty good, there's no way that it could beat the Golden State. The Warriors would still be better than any Lakers team that doesn’t have at least one or two other superstars outside of James and Anthony. So if winning is a huge deal for Anthony, LA is not the place to be if those deals don't get done. If he wants a big enough contract than it will most certainly hinder any progress towards getting those guys. Also, if Anthony were to join up with the Lakers, there is no guarantee Melo would get a starting spot. Especially after his poor play at the backend of last season and in the playoffs. It’s unbelievable to think of Melo as a starter in this league, but that’s what he wants. Additionally, he probably isn’t going to get a lot of money that he may want.
Carmelo also has another pretty good friend in Houston that he can pair up with. Chris Paul’s brand new extension this offseason gives Melo another buddy he can pal around with during the season. Of all the places to go into the NBA, aside from Golden State, this is where he probably has the best chance to win. CP3; along with guys like James Harden (you might’ve heard of him), Clint Capela, and Eric Gordon already made the Rockets the best offensive team in NBA history a single season ago. He could immediately fill in the void left by Trevor Ariza (although he won’t be as good defensively) who left the team in free agency, and they can replace the not-so-great Ryan Anderson along with his expiring contract. And maybe he gets motivated to play better in areas other than offense, only helping a somewhat already very good team.
Chemistry issues are the main issue here. Not too long ago the Rockets conducted the Dwight Howard experiment back when Howard was still considered a pretty good player. The personality differences absolutely destroyed the locker room back then, and that 2015-2016 team went up in flames. If they were to add Anthony it could ruin the team they have together right now the same way it did a few years ago. There is significant bad history between Carmelo and current head coach Mike D’Antoni, stemming from when the two both were in New York. That did not turn out well for both the player, team, and coach. Doing that one more time could spell the end of the Rockets contention. Also, will adding ANOTHER ball dominant player work? It worked well when Harden and Paul came together at first, but it feels as if this is a little different because Melo is nowhere on the same level as Chris Paul (both now and then).
Golden State Warriors
I promise this isn’t about trying to destroy the Warriors. I believe that if Carmelo were to join up with the Warriors he will get the one thing that he is chasing- a NBA Championship. Forget about the excessive amount of ball dominant veterans, they WILL make it work. There was thought to be an adjustment period when Kevin Durant first started playing with Steph, Klay, and Co; but there really wasn’t one. The addition of DeMarcus Cousins only makes the Warriors even more fearsome. Melo could win that elusive title here like just about everybody else in the league.
In Golden State Carmelo is not going to get the minutes, starting role, and money that he thinks he deserves. It’s been reported that he wants a starting role and starters money. He’s not going to get that here with the insane amount of talent that the Warriors already possess. His personality he brings along with him has the chance to burn up a locker room which has been reported to be an issue throughout last season. Why in the world would they let Melo ruin what they have if his production can be earned by what they already have in-house. They lost the season series to the Oklahoma City Thunder, got swept by the Rockets, and were vulnerable to teams with a quick attack. Carmelo’s skill set doesn’t fix an area of need and can be done by someone else on a smaller deal; so will it be worth it to bring him in?
Imagine the story of Carmelo Anthony returning to the team that drafted him back to playoff contention in the West. I’m not saying that they’re going to morph into a Warriors-beating team but they are already fun to watch. Add in Melo to the vacant SF position after the Wilson Chandler trade for a season or two on a ludicrous contract while the young team matures, and just let him chuck up threes. It will make great basketball and maybe gives you the couple of wins needed to push into a playoff spot that they just nearly missed in the regular season finale. The Nuggets are an extremely young and unseasoned team outside of Paul Millsap. Plugging in Melo gives them a go-to guy who can teach the young ones how to score effectively. The defensive versatility throughout that lineup will more than make up for Melo’s dreadful defense. He gets everything he stated he desires with a solid fit, I don't think he can ask for any better.
No matter what, the Denver Nuggets are not winning anything anytime soon. The top teams in the West just are too good for this young, undeveloped group of players to beat. This option provides Melo to be his own star, have starter’s minutes, and receive big money while his career winds down at the expense of winning anything. It also doesn't help the Melo has never won a ring discussion. As much as it may be, it could also be disastrous for Denver's development. Melo has a big ego, and if he doesn't get the touches he desires, he could tear the great locker room they already have apart and set the franchise back greatly. I mean the only reason the Nuggets even have this opening at SF was to get rid of a one-dimensional player on a big, undeserved contract in Wilson Chandler. It doesn't really sound all that different from the situation they would be in if they did sign Melo. It could provide more harm than good.