© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Is Carmelo Anthony The Right Target For The Miami Heat?

Alex Donno
July 12, 2018 - 11:33 am

"Lazy. Selfish. Overrated. Over the hill. No defense." 

These are just a few of the many unflattering descriptions of Carmelo Anthony that WQAM listeners have sent to me via social media over the past week. With Anthony recently linked to a possible signing with the Miami Heat, fans have been shouting their opinions from various digital mountaintops. 

Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to part ways. They'll use the NBA's stretch provision or a buy out and stretch. Either way, he'll make his full salary from OKC, so whatever salary he signs for with his next club will just be the gravy on top. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder granted Anthony permission this week to meet with interested teams, including the Miami Heat and Houston Rockets. So, Miami is indeed in the mix for Melo. 

I'm probably in the minority, but I would welcome Carmelo to Miami. I'll give you four reasons why. 1) He would add some personality, sizzle and excitment to a team that lacks star power (outside of Dwyane Wade, who still has not committed to a return). 2) The "Heat Culture" set by Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra would be strong enough to keep Melo from becoming a distraction or a 'cancer' in the locker room. 3) Carmelo is a gifted scorer and could give the Heat an option to hit big shots late in games. Certainly, we hope this is something Dion Waiters will do next season, but Carmelo has proven this ability over the course of a longer career. 4) You'd be signing this player on a one year deal and it won't cost you much. Therefore, he's not going to burden your salary cap over the next two summers and thus keep Pat Riley from signing a whale in 2019 or 2020. 

I won't pretend Carmelo adds anything on the defensive end of the floor. He doesn't. You can definitely file that into the 'cons' column, but I don't think it outweighs the pros. 

The strongest argument I've heard against signing Melo is the idea that he'll be taking valuable minutes away from young players who might actually be part of this team's future. It's fair to bring this up. Adding Melo into the rotation means subtracting minutes from others, namely James Johnson and Justise Winslow. 

However, I can tell you with a fair amount of confidence that neither James Johnson or Justise Winslow represent valuable pieces on a contending team. Not now and not in the future.

I could understand if a team like the Boston Celtics would be hesitant to sign Carmelo, and thus take minutes away from their dynamic core. In Miami's case, Melo would be stunting the growth of players who may not be part of this team's future, anyway. 

The Miami Heat are not a contender in the East with Carmelo or without Carmelo. He's not the player he was three or four years ago. The question you should ask yourself isn't "why sign Carmelo," but "why NOT sign Carmelo?" Do the potential risks outweigh the intrigue he could bring?

On Wednesday, Hochman and Crowder were joined by Thunder beat writers Brady Trantham and Erik Horne, who covered Anthony last season. 

"If I'm Pat Riley, I pull the trigger on Carmelo," said Trantham. "He is not a team cancer by any means. He gets that label a lot."

Horne chose the word "entertaining" when asked to describe Anthony's time with the Thunder. "If you guys got Carmelo, you’d be entertained on and off the court. He is fun to be around. I think he did wonders for Russell Westbrook.”

Horne discussed Melo's upcoming choice between the Houston Rockets or the Miami Heat. “I think he’d be with the better coaching staff in Miami, but with the better players in Houston. It’s a win-win for Melo.”

Heat fans, would you consider it a win for Pat Riley if Carmelo takes his talents to South Beach?