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While the league-wide assumption is that LeBron James will re-sign with the Miami HEAT, along with Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, other teams are still lining up to try and convince James to join with their team instead.
The Phoenix Suns have been acquiring and developing young, talented players for the last few seasons and are now reportedly ready to make big time acquisitions in free agency to add star power to their roster. The Suns will reportedly make a pitch to James and Carmelo Anthony to team up in Phoenix, alongside restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.
Many may dismiss this as a long-shot, but there are reasons for LeBron and Carmelo to pay attention to the Suns’ management during their pitch. First, the Suns have the cap space to bring in both LeBron and Carmelo (or other free agents, like Bosh), without having to tear down the entire roster. Next, Bledsoe, a friend of LeBron’s, is a rising star, and will likely be retained. Also, head coach Jeff Hornacek proved last season to be one of the rising coaches in the league, getting career year production out of several Suns players. In addition, LeBron could play with Carmelo, who is one of the best pure scorers in the league, and is showing no signs of slowing down, unlike Wade, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, and rested for many games this past year.
The HEAT are still the favorite, but Phoenix does offer a unique situation that should not be ignored.
The last time LeBron James was a free agent, Rose made it clear that he would not actively recruit him to join forces with him in Chicago. Years later, and after two major knee surgeries, Rose is still not inclined to recruit a star player to sign with the Bulls.
For months now Carmelo Anthony has been linked to the Chicago Bulls. In fact, reports surfaced during last season’s All-Star Weekend that Bulls center Joakim Noah was recruiting ‘Melo to join the Bulls after the season. Rose is a fan of Carmelo, as he was with LeBron in 2010 back when he was a free agent, but Rose just does not seem interested in having to convince other players that Chicago is the place for them.
Marc Stein of ESPN reports that Carmelo is going to meet with the Bulls before anyone else on Tuesday. The fact that he will meet with the Bulls first may indicate that Chicago is one of his favored destinations. A Big Three of Rose, Carmelo, and Noah would be formidable, especially in the Eastern Conference.
Other teams Carmelo intends to meet with include the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
Recent reports name the Hawks as one of several teams with cap-space that is looking to sign a star free agent, namely LeBron James. While signing LeBron would be a homerun, it seems the Hawks are prepared for LeBron to sign elsewhere and will look to Deng at that point.
Deng was acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, but never seemed to be a great fit. At age 29, Deng is still a very productive player on both ends of the court. He has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but is still one of the best small forwards on the market this offseason. After LeBron and Carmelo, other notable forwards to be free agents include Gordon Hayward, and Chandler Parsons, both of whom are restricted free agents, and may cost more than Deng.
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