Where will Carmelo Anthony land?
After what transpired this summer, with LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire changing addresses, it looks like Carmelo Anthony wants to get in on the fun. As ESPN's Ric Bucher reported on Monday, Anthony is ready to split with the Denver Nuggets, whether by trade or free agency. And if he doesn't sign an extension in the meantime, Melo will be the star of the 2011 free agent class.
Where will he end up? We posed that question to our 93 NBA experts.
Here are the results:
New York (60 votes)
You know how desperate Knicks fans are for Carmelo Anthony after LeBron spurned them? Remember Melo's sucker-punch-and-run on Mardy Collins at the Garden during the 2006-07 season? Fuhgeddaboudit!
Such is life after another losing season; after LeBron rejected them for the rival Heat; after Amare Stoudemire name-dropped Melo's name when he agreed to come to New York; and after Chris Paul's speech at Melo's wedding reportedly reinforced the idea that a Knicks "big three" was more than just a rumor.
Well, here's more good news for the hungriest fan base in the NBA: A whopping 64.5 percent of our panelists think Melo will be wearing orange and blue next season (and this survey was taken before Monday's news that he plans to part ways with the Nuggets). What's more, 26 members of our panel think CP3 will be his point guard. Sure, New York will have to do some roster maneuvering to make all of this happen. But as we saw with the Heat this summer, anything is possible if the players want it to happen.
CP3 aside, a Melo-Knicks union makes sense on many levels. He and his wife are both natives of New York. (Carmelo moved to Baltimore when he was 8.) He played college ball at Syracuse and loves MSG. And, from a purely basketball standpoint, can you imagine a scoring machine like Melo in Mike D'Antoni's high-powered offense? He would become the Knicks' most dynamic wing player since Bernard King, to whom Anthony is often compared, and the Knicks could instantly become contenders.
One fly in the ointment: Will the Knicks have to trade for Anthony, or can they wait until he hits free agency? The answer to that question says a lot about the makeup of the supporting cast and the team's ability to obtain a player of Paul's stature.
In any case, so far this is only a forecast, not fact. The summer of 2011 is a long way away, and things can change faster than Melo backpedaling down the court.
Denver (27 votes)
Even with all of the rumors flying around that Melo might jump ship, 29 percent of our panel thinks he'll eventually stay in Denver, where he's played his entire career and made the playoffs in all seven seasons.
The main reason, of course, is money. The Nuggets have had a three-year, $65 million extension on the table for weeks, and many believe that, ultimately, he won't be able to pass up that payday with the new collective bargaining agreement expected to come down hard on player contracts. Then again, Melo might be able to make a lot of that up in endorsement money in a larger market.
In July, a Nuggets official told Chris Broussard, "There is no way we are trading Carmelo Anthony. We're 100 percent certain of that." But if the Nuggets think he'll walk, they might have to talk. With an aging core, a shortage of young talent in the pipeline, and the uncertainty of George Karl's coaching future, perhaps it's time for the Nuggets to reload by moving Melo.
New Jersey (5 votes)
After striking out during the Summer of LeBron, the Nets will have better luck during the Summer of Carmelo, according to a handful of our panelists. New Jersey's young core of Devin Harris, Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors has loads of potential, and, as you'll notice, an acute need for a scoring wing. Add Melo to the mix and Mikhail Prokhorov may not sound so ludicrous with his championship-in-five-years prediction.
And there could hardly be a more ideal player to help the Nets take their talents to Brooklyn, the borough of Melo's birth.
Chicago (1 vote)
If Carmelo wants to create a big three to rival Miami's new trio, why not join the Bulls, who already boast All-Stars Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer? And that's not to mention potential All-Star center Joakim Noah. While the Nuggets aren't keen on the idea of dealing their star, the Bulls might make a persuasive pitch that starts with another talented small forward in Luol Deng.
Matt Wong is an NBA editor for ESPN.com.