Carmelo Anthony is taking the holiday weekend to mull his free agency decision. And as has been expected for quite some time, he’ll have to weigh the importance of salary versus contention in doing so. After Anthony concluded his recruitment tour last night, details have emerged on contract offers of the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks.
Despite Phil Jackson’s attempts to manipulate Carmelo into accepting less than a maximum deal to return to New York, the Knicks have ultimately made him that offer. Under terms of the CBA, New York is the only team that can give Anthony a five-year, $129 million contract.
Source: Melo's meeting with the Knicks is over. They reiterated to him that they will offer him a max contract
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 4, 2014
The Lakers also extended Anthony an offer worth the max. However, they’re only capable of paying him an average salary of approximately $24.2 million over four years; the Knicks’ proposal is worth $25.9 million per season, plus that crucial extra year of earnings when Carmelo will be in his mid-30s.
Lakers made it clear to Melo today they'd offer the maximum, 4-yr, $97mil contract they can, if he chose them.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 4, 2014
Dallas’s financial situation has forced them to proceed with a different approach to Anthony. After taking on an additional several million dollars of salary in the Tyson Chandler trade and agreeing to terms with Dirk Nowitzki on a three-year, roughly $30 million contract, the Mavericks have less flexibility than most anticipated they would before the summer began. As a result, their offer to Carmelo pales in comparison to that of the Knicks and Lakers. Anthony would be sacrificing $6-$8 million annually by playing in Dallas as opposed to New York or Los Angeles.
I'm told Mavs' Melo offer starts slightly north of $18M (likely 4 years, $75M). Not sure how math works. Devil might be in Dirk deal details
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 4, 2014
Offers of the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets aren’t as clear.
The Bulls will likely amnesty or at least trade Carlos Boozer to free up space to lure Anthony, but are bringing over Nikola Mirotic from Europe next season, too. The latter situation further complicates an already difficult task of shedding salary to acquiesce Carmelo, especially if Chicago is intent on keeping Taj Gibson in the fold.
This doesn't mean the Bulls pursuit of Carmelo Anthony is over but the cap space required to sign Mirotic restricts options.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 4, 2014
The Rockets continue to aggressively shop Jeremy Lin as a means for more cap space and have already gone that route with Omer Asik. Unless Houston lets Chandler Parsons walk in restricted free agency, though, its offer to Anthony will surely be closer to the range of Dallas’ and Chicago’s as opposed to New York’s and LA’s.
There’s a growing sentiment among teams involved in the proceedings that Anthony won’t be able to turn down the extra security provided by the Knicks’ offer.
Pessimism among some of Melo's suitors, I'm told, is undoubtedly rising about having any hope of getting Melo away from Knicks
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
If Carmelo proves as intent on playing for a winner as he’s said in the past, though, signing with another suitor seems prudent.
We’ll know more after this weekend.
Should Carmelo take the money?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.