Carmelo Anthony knows he won’t be playing in the NBA for much longer – he definitely doesn’t share LeBron James’ goal in playing with his son – But the ten-time All-Star still has a bit of staying power in the tank.
Last season with the Lakers, Anthony proved to be a solid scorer off the bench, averaging 13.3 points in 69 games. He also showed that he could score efficiently, achieving a new career level in Real Shooting Ratio (57.9).
However, nearly a month after the start of free agency, Anthony is still unsigned. The 38-year-old may end up re-signing with Los Angeles once the dust has completely settled, but is this his best option?
Let’s say Anthony won’t suddenly share a shocking announcement of retirement before the start of the 2022-23 season and will cross a few relegation points.
MORE: Anthony is among the best free agents still available
Arranging landing sites Carmelo Anthony
case for: Have a reunion party! The Nuggets picked Anthony with the No. 3 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, and he quickly became one of the premier offensive weapons in the league. Anthony’s return full circle in his career would be a great story.
The suit against: Aside from the fact that Anthony had a fairly casual exit from Denver, this isn’t a great basketball game. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. will control the ball, not to mention necessary touches to players such as Bruce Brown, Kentavius Caldwell Pope, Aaron Gordon and Bones Hyland. The nuggets need no further insult.
case for: Miami wasn’t a bad offensive team last season, but the Heat sometimes faltered at this end. (Things got really ugly in the Eastern Conference Finals.) Anthony can help in that area, especially when Jimmy Butler heads to the bench. Anthony also played with Butler and Kyle Lowry during the 2016 Summer Olympics, so that should be some familiarity.
The suit against: Miami already has shooters with defensive problems. Anthony will only add to this problem. Plus, it looks like The Heat has set their eyes on a bigger target. (And indeed, does Anthony want to delve into the heat conditioning program at this point in his career?)
case for: Who wouldn’t want to play for champions? Anthony will have the cleanest appearance of his career playing alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Golden State will appreciate a veteran like Anthony, both on the floor and in the locker room.
The suit against: This could be an important season for the Young Warriors. Golden State has been open about its desire to develop the next generation as the title race continues. Would Anthony be open to taking on a leadership role and scoring limited minutes?
case for: It was easy to mock the Suns after they were blown away in Game Seven of the Western Conference semi-finals, but Phoenix was by far the most dominant team of the regular season. Anthony would have a legitimate chance of winning a title with this team. He will also be able to play with Chris Paul, one of his closest friends in the NBA.
The suit against: Similar to Nuggets, Suns have just a lot of touches available. Paul and Devin Booker run the crime. Deandre Ayton is expected to make the leap after signing a huge contract. Michal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are still developing their games. Phoenix has reason to feel good about its standing in the West.
case for: Unlike the other positions on this list, there would be no confusion about the role of Anthony. He’s already shown what he can do as part of the Lakers’ rotation. It doesn’t look like Los Angeles did significant upgrades during the holiday season, so there should be minutes available. Oh, and LeBron is still around. This helps.
The suit against: If the Lakers enter next season with their current roster, they will not be good enough to win the championship. There isn’t a lot of talent outside of James and Anthony Davis, and nothing to Russell Westbrook…sorry. If Anthony’s first goal is to win a title before he retires, he should pursue other options.