LeBron James said he fantasizes about joining forces with Carmelo Anthony in a glittering Big Four someday, somewhere, perhaps with palm trees and pay cuts. But what about now? And in New York?
Anthony seconded James’ motion, saying he’s all for it, but sounded like this would be a Dream Team scenario for the distant future.
“We still got years in this league,’’ Anthony said Wednesday after the Knicks defeated the Bulls, 115-107, at United Center. “Everybody dreams sometimes.
“Everybody has fantasies. We’d all have to take pay cuts. I’d take one. I think at that time we’d want to go someplace warm. Later — [close to] retirement.’’
It all started with a profile published by Bleacher Report Wednesday, laying out the scenario and examining the bond between James and Anthony dating to high school. James is quoted in the piece saying he can envision joining forces in a superstar clique with Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul.
“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together,” James told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in January. “At least one, maybe one or two seasons — me, Melo, D-Wade, CP — we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that. It would be pretty cool. I’ve definitely had thoughts about it.”
James said on Wednesday night the four joining forces might be unlikely, but didn’t back down from saying it’s on his wish list.
“I don’t know how realistic it would be,” James said after the Cavaliers’ 113-104 win over the Bucks. “It would be cool if it happened.”
James, who visits the Garden Saturday, is navigating turmoil in Cleveland, punctuated by his cryptic tweets while Anthony endures his third straight losing season in New York. Anthony is stuck in the second year of a five-year contract, but James is expected to opt-out again this summer to maximize his market value with the salary cap rising dramatically.
The Knicks have just $18 million in cap space, but that could surge pending contract situations with Jose Calderon (Knicks can use the stretch provision) and Arron Afflalo/Derrick Williams (contract opt-outs).
It was thought an impossibility James would leave Cleveland before he breaks the city’s sports-championship curse. Nothing is certain any longer, especially with a recent report from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith suggesting the Cavaliers better not be taking King James for granted.
None of the foursome are projected free agents until 2018. It was noted all four own homes in the Los Angeles area. However, James in New York can never be discounted — once again getting life during 2015 All-Star Weekend at the Garden when he said: “It’s going to be the best All-Star Game for me as far as a player to be able to be in the Garden. I love my fans back in Cleveland. I loved my fans when I was in Miami, but if I could have 82 regular-season games in the Garden, I would because it’s the mecca of basketball.”
James and Anthony met as high school super-prospects in 2002 and have always talked about playing together — the U.S. Olympic Team notwithstanding.
“I think they love one another,” said Duke/Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the piece.
While James has made it to five straight NBA Finals, Anthony has gotten out of the first round just twice.
“That’s part of the reason why basketball is really not much of a conversation,” James said. “Because we will refuse to allow our comparison and our rivalry over the years, that people have kind of put us together, to ruin what we’ve created as far as the bond.We won’t allow our friendship to be derailed.”
“We vowed to that from Day 1,” Anthony told Bleacher Report.
James raves about Anthony’s new playmaking style. He’s averaging 4.2 assists — a career-high — and whipping tough passes á la LeBron.
“You just see him, just trying to be better,” James said. “It’s always about a growth mindset. That’s what us four always talk about, is growth mindset. Like, it doesn’t matter when you change; it’s the fact that you can know that you can get better, even at our age, even with our accolades, even with what we’ve done in our careers. We still feel like we can improve.”