Will Kevin Durant Leave the Warriors?
The Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant will be a free agent next summer. Will he stay or will he leave the Warriors?
With his departure from OKC not far away, the speculation of where Carmelo Anthony lands has already started. There are some obvious choices of course, but also some more hidden gems in the rough. Let's look at where Melo might land.
Can you imagine a Carmelo Anthony return to Denver? Yes, he didn't leave on good terms but Denver had nothing but love for Melo when he was there. The desire for a heartfelt reunion aside, there is an actual basketball reasons for Carmelo returning to Denver. The Nuggets have a rather large hole in their 3 spot and rookie Michael Porter Jr has a very questionable back. If Denver was really going to plug their small forward position with say Will Barton, they're going to have a rough season. Melo would get good looks from Jokic, Murray, Harris, and even Millsap…assuming Anthony could remember how to be an elite catch and shoot player.
I put Golden State in because I can really. The fit is horrible, the defense would suffer, and Golden State would have to give him the veterans minimum. With that all being said, Carmelo could just be looking for a ring at this stage of his career and there's no better train to jump on than the Warriors at that rate. I highly doubt this happens because I don't think Steve Kerr could handle a Draymond Green - DeMarcus Cousins - Carmelo Anthony locker room on top of the very questionable fit.
Houston lost their starting small forward in Trevor Ariza, so it makes sense to replace him with another elite catch and shoot player in Carmelo. The fit for Melo in Houston makes a lot of sense, with only some minor hiccups of course. Obviously there's the friendship between Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, part of the infamous “banana boat” crew who have wanted to all play together for awhile now. On the basketball fit, the Rockets were 2nd in catch and shoot threes last year and Melo could regain his stroke in Houston by just making it rain from downtown. The downsides here are obvious and the biggest elephant in the room is Rockets coach Mike D'antoni, a guy Carmelo doesn't exactly like. The other downside is that Houston would suffer even more on defense as Carmelo Anthony isn't even half the defender Trevor Ariza is.
Remember the other big name on that banana boat is Lebron James, who just so happened to sign with the Los Angels Lakers. The big attraction here is obviously playing with Lebron James and being in a huge media market, but that's where the fit dies off quickly. James is most likely going to eat the largest chunk of minutes at small forward and unless traded, Kyle Kuzma is the starting 4 without question. Carmelo would have to make even more sacrifices on the court to make any type of fit in LA work for him and the team.