Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James had all of basketball in the palm of their hands in this summer’s free agency. Among all the rumors of them joining forces and phony images of Bron and Melo in your team’s jersey; both decided to surprise us by taking different paths with the same reasoning and results. Anthony started last season saying he wanted to test free agency but when faced with the opportunity to leave he chose to stay. Melo stated that he wanted to win something soon as his 11 year career has only seen him past the first round twice. That is why I thought the Chicago Bulls or the Atlanta Hawks would be a no-brainer. Obviously one of those options were wishful thinking but as usual Anthony decided it would be best to follow the money. Who could blame him? There were approximately 54 reasons why Melo chose to stay home and all of them included another million to walk away from, that just can’t happen. Sure you can say that the moves Phil “Zen Master” Jackson has made thus far are very impressive given the amount of time he has been in command but he can’t expect to win the East next year. Truth is, Melo is all about his brand and them bands. Obviously he is pulling in way more than that. Still, playing under Zen might put him in a winning situation quickly.
I know it hurts Miami, but you have to commend the man for making the decision to go back home and save his city from another abysmal season. Lebron James decided to blow up the whole “Big Three” thing and left Pat Riley in the smouldering flames of the Heat. Riley challenged the Heat to stay together but he should have known that when James is overwhelmed he splits. Cleveland isn’t a bad fit for who King James is now as a basketball player and I thought this along with the letter explaining his decision marked a change in his return; until the contract details became public. Then I realized the other factor at play.
James also followed the money, but in the bigger picture. James said he is ready to commit long term to the Cavs but only gave them a 2 year deal with a player option on the 2nd year. He holds all the power with this move over owner Dan Gilbert who disrespected the King in a letter Cleveland kept on their website until days before his return. Not only does he still make over 20 million a year but he keeps the option of making even more on a longer term deal after those initial two years.
The CBA really caps what players the caliber of James and Anthony can make by giving teams a ceiling of what they can pay one player. This rule will be challenged; which will no doubt change the max a player can be paid down the road. That can give James a chance at bigger money when he resigns with the Cavaliers for that long term lucrative deal. He knew the Heat wouldn’t give him a short term deal like this but a Cleveland team desperate for forgiveness would. Nice play Bron Bron. If it doesn’t work out he can leave at any time so you better take care of your majesty this time around Cleveland.
As usual it is all about the money.