The hottest free agent ticket this past summer (before LeBron decided to opt out) was Carmelo Anthony.
The New York Knicks ultimately retained Anthony, which is never mentioned without noting the extra $27 million incentive, but he did make his rounds to several teams. The Chicago Bulls had their visit with Carmelo, as did the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. The Miami Heat were even rumored to be considering making room for Anthony in South Beach to play with his buddy LeBron.
Melo visited the Houston Rockets as well, and he recalls Dwight Howard’s adamant efforts to land him this past summer.
We had some great dialogue back and forth,’’ Anthony said of his discussions with Howard. “I talked to him. We talked about some things. Ultimately it came down to what I really felt and really wanted at that moment. We had some contact and conversations. He tried. He tried extremely hard. It didn’t have anything to do with Dwight or James [Harden]. It came down to my own personal decision.’’
The 4-10 Knicks will face the 10-3 Rockets tonight, and as the Knicks start the season struggling, you can’t help but wonder if Carmelo really thinks it was prudent to forego joining Harden and Howard in Houston,
Of course I know they’re playing very well,’’ Anthony said. “[But] it’s not something I say to myself: ‘I regret doing this, regret doing that.’ I can’t do that. It’s not my nature as a person. I would never sit down and ask myself: ‘What if?’ ’’
I hope that’s true, for Melo’s sake. Another piece to this is the Phil Jackson factor. Faith in Phil had to play a part, along with his innate love for New York City, in Anthony’s decision to remain a Knick. But if the Zen Master can’t attract more talent, I fear that the regret train might come right back up Carmelo’s alley in the next few years.