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Potential Landing Spots for Melo

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Just a few days ago, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that league execs had informed him that Carmelo Anthony‘s NBA playing days could well be over. After an incredibly brief stint with the Houston Rockets, the 10-time all-star has been unable to find work in the Association. Many on Twitter have had their fun with Melo, in these tryin’ times:

But we’re not here to make jokes about Carmelo. We’re here to talk about where he could land. As we’ve all seen, his production has fallen off the cliff in the past few years. Pretty much since his first full year in New York, he hasn’t been the same dominant scorer. What he is now is a ball-stopper on offense with poor shooting efficiency (40% shooter from the field the last two seasons and just 68% from the line in just 10 games this year). Additionally, he will severely harm your team’s defense. There are 29 teams other than the Rockets that could possibly sign him. So we’re going to break this down into different tiers of teams to see who could possibly make the risk.

1. The “It’s a waste of time to even consider this as an option” Tier

These are the really good teams in the league that would gain literally nothing by picking up Carmelo and would in all likelihood be destroying their title chances in signing him. Those teams are:

  • Golden State Warriors
  • Boston Celtics
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Milwaukee Bucks

2. The 2013-2014 Warriors Tier

This tier of teams is a group of teams that have a really good thing going and could be just one or two pieces shy of being in title contention (that piece isn’t Melo). These teams for the most part have a lot of positivity around them, a young core, and a quality coach. Carmelo going to one of these teams could be cancerous and could completely upend any positive movement that they had going for them. The following five teams fall into this tier:

  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Los Angeles Lakers*

*I put this asterisk here because the Lakers largely don’t completely fall into this category but they do at the same time. They’re anchored by LeBron, and by default really good at basketball. LeBron is also a basketball genius, and even though he and Melo are friends, he knows better than to bring Carmelo to town. Also, being a LeBron team they are always within striking distance of a title so they do sort of fall into this category. Also also, I made the rules here so I can put any team I want into this category.

3. The “We don’t know what we are but we still don’t want him” Tier

The title of this tier is pretty self-explanatory. These are teams in basketball purgatory, but know that signing Melo would put them in a place where they are both unwatchable and not very good. Additionally, he wouldn’t make them good enough to win games or bad enough to get a top pick.

  • Detroit Pistons
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Memphis Grizzlies*
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • San Antonio Spurs**

*Even though the Grizz have been pretty good this year, their track is still unclear. They have a weird mix of veterans and youth, making it hard to tell if they should blow it up, go for broke, or just relocate to Seattle. (They should relocate to Seattle.)

**I never thought San Antonio would be on this part of a list, but here we are. They’re hovering around .500 and aren’t quite in championship range but also not in tanking range, especially with Pop at the helm. Such a weird season for them thus far.

4. The Sandlot Kids

These are groups of ragtag young teams that are either winning games despite being too young or are really young and exciting but also terrible. When you have a team like this, there’s no way you want to add Carmelo, because he could teach everyone horrible behavior– plaguing your team for years to come.

  • Dallas Mavericks*
  • Orlando Magic
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • New York Knicks
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Utah Jazz
  • Phoenix Suns

*Admittedly, the Mavericks aren’t really young but when you have two young guards like DSJ and Doncic why would you even consider bringing in an offensive blackhole like Carmelo?

5. The “Been there done that” Tier

This tier is just for the Thunder because they’re the only team outside of the Rockets that can legit say they just got over this guy.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder

6. The “Really bad team that doesn’t have any illusion of grandeur” Tier

These are teams that are just awful and are undoubtedly trying to tank but they know that picking up Carmelo would accomplish literally nothing.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Atlanta Hawks

7. The “We don’t have a roster spot and we actually sort of like our team” Tier

These two teams have a pretty good roster that is actually capable of making the playoffs, but also doesn’t really have a roster spot available. Adding one Carmelo Anthony could really torpedo the momentum that these teams have begun to generate.

  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Minnesota Timberwolves

8. The “WE MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING” Tier

We may have finally found two potential landing spots! I personally would say the odds of someone signing Melo are at about 30%, so I’m definitely not holding out hope. But here are the two teams, and the cases for them:

  • Miami Heat: This season has not gone as planned for the Heat. Last year, Spo led a group of feisty players to 6th place in the East and place in the playoffs by getting the best out of all of his guys. This year, it seems like everyone has taken a bit of a step back. They also don’t have much cap flexibility or assets to make a big trade. Enter Carmelo. The Heat are just outside the playoff picture, so they could sign Melo on the hopes that he gives them enough production to another 6-seed, which would hold over the fan base until they make their next big deal. The worst case is that they crater and end up with a higher draft pick.
  • Washington Wizards: The Wizards are a straight up nightmare. John Wall and Bradley Beal are both incredibly talented, but both entered camp out of shape. It just seems like no one on that team likes playing together. They have known cancer in Dwight Howard out with injury, the biggest chunk of fool’s gold ever in Jeff Green, and a terrible coach in Scott Brooks. Yet, they find themselves just outside the playoffs. Their locker room is already a nightmare, so they don’t have to worry about Melo blowing that up. So much like the case in Miami, the Wizards may take a flier on Carmelo in the hopes that he boosts them into the playoffs.

Any other options?

His other two options are ones that he will not want to hear. So, Melo, you should stop reading this now. He can either retire, or go play in China for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls. The Golden Bulls offered Melo a three-year, $25 million deal last year and may do the same this year in the hopes that he helps marketing! But, Melo shouldn’t hold on to that hope. If I were a betting man, I’d say his days of pro hoops are done, barring something catastrophic on an NBA team.

As always feel free to comment, share, or tweet me @TheRucasJohnson

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About Luke Johnson

I'm not the commissioner of the NBA, but I should be. Tweet me @TheRucasJohnson

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