Carmelo Anthony has been traded from the Houston Rockets to the Chicago Bulls where he will likely be released and become a free agent. With more than half the NBA regular season in the books, teams are doing what they can to gear up for the playoffs and Carmelo, even though he’s a shell of himself at this point, could be a nice addition if he’s able to take some sips from the fountain of youth.
As bad as Melo has been the last couple of years, here are five teams that could use his services.
Los Angeles Lakers - Reports are already leaking that the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in Carmelo, but they don’t want to release a guaranteed contract to pick him up. The Lakers were linked to Carmelo before he went to Houston, as there’s the LeBron James connection. This could still very well happen and is probably the most likely destination considering LeBron usually gets what he wants and he certainly will push for a member of the Banana Boat crew. The addition would make the Lakers that much more interesting with their odd roster filled with castaways.
Philadelphia 76ers - If the Philadelphia 76ers are going to truly make a push for a berth to the NBA Finals this season, they need to add some outside shooting. It’s been established that Carmelo isn’t the same player he was even a few years ago, but he’s still one of the best scorers of the last 15 years and is capable of providing flashes of his old self. Melo did top 20 points three times with the Rockets in 10 games and made at least two threes four times. Make or miss, Carmelo at least opens the court up and provides breathing room for others. JJ Redick can’t be the only outside shooter the 76ers enter the playoffs with.
Brooklyn Nets - Carmelo seemed most happy when he was with the New York Knicks, and since there’s no chance of a reunion, he could find a stop in Brooklyn worthwhile. The Brooklyn Nets have been one of the biggest surprises in the league and are a current playoff team in the East. The problem is the Nets are extremely young, as DeMarre Carroll and Jared Dudley are the only active players over 30 years old. Melo would give the Nets a splash of experience and leadership, while possibly chipping in to a team that’s already top-10 in three-point percentage. Carmelo is from New York and could find this move most comfortable, while playing for a playoff contender, unlike his previous visit.
Portland Trail Blazers - The Portland Trail Blazers had interest in Carmelo a couple of years ago. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are on record trying to recruit him to Rip City. The bottom line is the Trail Blazers aren’t going anywhere if they can’t land another scorer to take pressure off their star backcourt. Lillard and McCollum are one of the top tandems in the league, but the rest of the roster is filled with overpaid role players who are highly inconsistent. Jusuf Nurkic can’t be the only other double-digit scorer on this roster if Portland is going to be taken seriously in the West. Carmelo isn’t efficient, but this move shows that the Trail Blazers are at least trying to shake things up. Anything beats the status quo.
Denver Nuggets - How about Carmelo finishing things where they started? He’d be on one of the better teams in the league, would have less pressure to produce and could have the most fan support here than anywhere else. Carmelo is just an addition for any other team, but the Denver Nuggets are the team that drafted him and the place he spent his first eight seasons. It’s different when you go back home, just ask Dwyane Wade. While some fans may not like the way he forced his way to New York, this could be a cool story that everyone could get behind, especially if he produces come playoff time. Some say Carmelo should retire or take his carer overseas. In terms of a storybook ending to things, a reunion with Denver would be it.