There are a half-dozen or so beat writers whom NBA TV host Jared Greenberg considers gospel. These are the big guys, the national guys, the ones you and I both know, the ones we read on a regular basis, the ones we follow on Twitter, the ones we really respect.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is one of those guys, and according to him, the Miami Heat intend to make a play for Carmelo Anthony this offseason. To land Anthony, the Heat’s Big Three – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – would all have to opt out of their contracts before the beginning of free agency and then take pay cuts. Miami may also have to ask Udonis Haslem to decline his $4.6 million player option.
A lot of dominoes would have to fall, but is a Big Four a possibility? Is this report legitimate?
In a word, probably. In two words, almost certainly.
“I always believe that when there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Greenberg said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “Very rarely in this business does anybody with any sort of credibility make up a story out of thin air (because they’re) just trying to gain traction or get attention for themselves as a writer, radio or TV person. So I don’t believe (this is coming) out of nowhere.”
“But what I do believe,” Greenberg continued, “is we’re going to hear a lot more of these rumors throughout the course of the summer and then all the way into next year because we don’t know necessarily what’s going to happen this summer with the guys. Most of them are going to be unrestricted free agents next summer with the bigger names.”
Anthony, 30, averaged 27.4 points per game this past season and has averaged at least 25 points in five of the last six seasons.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson not only wants Anthony to stay, but he also wants him to take a hometown discount. Even with a discount, the Knicks could still offer Anthony far more money than Miami, but they cannot offer him a star-studded roster with a championship pedigree.
Most importantly, they cannot offer James – a player with whom Anthony has a close relationship.
But make no mistake: If Anthony opts out, there will be no shortage of suitors.
“The one thing that I heard that I think comes with some good stock is that Carmelo Anthony was one of – if not the best – performers on the Olympic team a couple of years ago and apparently really got along with some of the guys,” Greenberg said. “And I think that a lot of those guys are now looking for a No. 2 or a No. 1 guy to come join them wherever they are. Whether that’s Kobe (Bryant) in L.A., whether that’s Derrick Rose in Chicago, whether that’s LeBron and Wade and Bosh in Miami, you’re going to hear (from) these guys who have a relationship with Melo.”
“(But I don’t think) there is a pre-arranged plan like there may have been a couple of years ago with the Big Three coming together in Miami.”