Heading into the NBA free agency period in July, all eyes were on superstars Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Both players were seriously considering changing teams in free agency potentially creating a power shift in the NBA.
Carmelo was the first of the two star forwards to make his decision. Anthony visited multiple teams to hear sales pitches, including the Los Angeles Lakers, but ultimately chose to return to the New York Knicks.
Soon after Carmelo agreed to re-sign with the Knicks, LeBron shocked the world by deciding to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers only four years after their ugly divorce back in 2010.
Apparently, Carmelo seems convinced his choice to return home heavily impacted LeBron’s decision to head back to Cleveland. Anthony spoke with NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan about the business of basketball and said the following about LeBron, via Adweek.com:
Strahan: [On being a pro athlete in New York] Not only on the court, but off the court, you’re the leader. Everything you do is more scrutinized. You have to be more careful than anybody else. And watching LeBron [James] go back to Cleveland, did that affect your decision on staying in New York, and did you learn anything from watching LeBron go back home?
Anthony: No. Honestly, I think it was the other way around. I think he saw when I came back home to New York and saw the response and saw the reaction and saw how at peace I was when I came back home. … I’m pretty sure he looked at that moment and saw that that was a very special moment, and he had the opportunity to go back home himself and regain that love.
At this point in time, it appears LeBron may have made the right choice. After LeBron agreed to sign, the Cavaliers immediately got to work on trying to acquire perennial All-Star Kevin Love. Eventually, Dan Gilbert and company pulled the trigger on the deal to bring in forward to play alongside LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
The Cavaliers could be the team to beat heading into next season with LeBron being part of a younger and potentially more talented trio back in Cleveland. Carmelo, on the other hand, has an uphill battle ahead of him in New York, but does have Phil Jackson calling the shots and a motivated Derek Fisher leading the way on the sidelines.