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Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) is pressured by Miami Heat forward Shane Battier (31) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Free Agent Rumors: Dallas Mavericks Favorites to Land Carmelo Anthony?

Day 1 of free agency is notorious for unsubstantiated rumors, smokescreens, and plain old lies. Whether it’s a team tying to appear relevant, a player trying to drive up market price, or a reporter trying to score readership, the news isn’t always reliable.

Recently a few credible (and some not-so-credible) sources have been placing the Mavericks at the top of the list for the Carmelo Anthony Sweepstakes. Obviously, New York is still seen a favorite considering they can offer Anthony roughly $30M more than any other team can.

Never mind the fact that Carmelo opted out of his current deal. He can still sign a 5 year deal with the Knicks guaranteeing $129M. The most anyone else can give is only 4yrs/$96M. That’s a substantial delta between the two, and even if another city appears more desirable, the money can more than make up for it.

Some recent rumors have said Chicago is no longer the frontrunner they once were considered to be. It’s tough to find a reason Chicago wouldn’t be, considering how strong their team is, how young and talented they are, and that Chicago is the 3rd largest media market.

Much of the same with Houston. Houston is a large market with young talent. Harden on the outside and Howard down low should give Anthony freedom to do a bit of everything. The age of the roster ensures Melo will be on a good team for all 4 years of the deal.

Mavericks’ Disadvantages

The Mavericks can’t boast any of these things. They can’t pay the money that New York can. The Mavs may be considered close in talent to the Bulls and Rockets, but two of their top three players are on the downslope of their careers (Dirk Nowitzki & Tyson Chandler).

Feb 21, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9), New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler (6) and small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) scramble for a rebound as time expires in the first overtime as the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 129-121 in double overtime at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Mavericks’ Advantages

Saw what you want about Tyson Chandler, but he really is a clear advantage. Not only did he play with Anthony, but he was indeed a friend and respected teammate. Not all former teammates want to play together again but these guys really do.

Anthony plays defense best with a strong center presence behind him. Contrary to popular belief, Melo is a decent defender and does care about both ends of the floor (not equally, mind you, but he still cares!).

New York knows this and is scrambling to lock up a veteran presence in the middle.

Favorites?

No way. Based on what has been said and the realities of the situation, the Mavericks probably have no better than a 20% chance. It’s still a chance but just not a favorite. Carmelo wants to wait until this weekend to make his decision which will only hurt the Mavericks.

I strongly suspect Melo will take the money in NY and I can’t blame him. It’s a lot of coin in a really fun city to be rich in. I think the Knicks will be working hard to come to terms with a couple big free agents this week. This will prove to Melo the team will be better and give him a noble excuse to take the money and stay where he wanted to all along.

 

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony Dallas Mavericks NBA Trade Rumors

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