BOSTON (CBS) — While the Kevin Love watch is heating up, the Boston Celtics are also involved in another juicy rumor this offseason.
Carmelo Anthony can become a free agent this summer, and rumors have the Celtics as a team that will make a hard push for the 2013 NBA scoring champion. This has fans envisioning another Big Three in Boston, with both Love and Melo joining Rajon Rondo to make the C’s a title contender once again.
Anthony has plenty of critics and baggage. Many will point to his selfish style of play on offense, his overall lack of defense, and his “coach killer” tag as jumbo-sized warning flags, and don’t think this is a road the Celtics should travel. But CSNNE’s Tim Welsh, who recruited Anthony when he was head coach at Providence, is not one of those critics. He points to Hall of Fame coaches like Jim Boeheim (who coached Anthony to an NCAA Title at Syracuse) and Mike Krzyzewski (Anthony’s coach on Team USA), who have nothing but praise for Melo.
“I think he’s done well in New York,” Welsh said on Thursday’s Toucher & Rich. “[In 2013] he had quality pieces around him, he had an outstanding season and the Knicks had a great year. This year was a different story; the Knicks had a lot of injuries and he was kind of a one-man band, and he got blamed.”
While Anthony’s scoring went down slightly last season, he actually improved his all-around game, averaging a career-high 8.1 rebounds per game and increasing his assists per game from 2.6 to 3.1 (the fourth highest over his 11-year career). But he received most of the blame for New York’s 37-win season.
“When he went to New York, Beoheim told him that New York is great and maybe one of the best places to play, but if you don’t win they blame the best player. That’s what’s happened in New York with him,” said Welsh. “I like [Melo]. Anytime you can get a consistent and natural scorer (it’s a move you make). And I think he has the ability to play defense; you have to communicate it to him somehow, with good team defenders around him and a coach that can communicate the scheme to him.
“I think he would be an outstanding fit in Boston,” said Welsh.
“From what I know of him, and from what I’ve been told by people who are very close to him, he wants to win,” Welsh said. “No one is closer to him than Jim Boeheim, who I talked to a lot, and he said Melo just wants to be on a winning team. That’s why he’s going to opt out, because I don’t know if there’s any winning in the forecast in New York.”
Welsh also adds that Melo has always wanted to play with Rajon Rondo, and Brad Stevens has earned a very good reputation around the league after just one season on the Celtics bench. Both of these factors could attract Melo to Boston this summer.