Carmelo, LaLa, LeBron and Lin—the NBA circus trip
BY RICK TELANDER email@example.com | @ricktelander July 2, 2014 9:50PM
Carmelo Anthony and wife LaLa Anthony attend a New York gala in May. | Getty Images
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Updated: August 4, 2014 12:08PM
Here’s what I’m thinking: By the time Carmelo Anthony ends his “Melo Over ’Merica’’ tour, he’ll weigh 300 pounds from all the steak dinners and hot air he’s eaten, and whichever team finally snares him will be getting not a lithe seven-time All-Star gunner but an Oliver Miller clone.
That’s just one of the thoughts that strikes me as this ridiculous season of basketball courtship and buddy-wooing lurches onward.
It’s goofy, isn’t it?
LeBron James and the other star free agents have been acting like junior-high girls, wanting to know who loves them the most, who thinks they’re sooo pretty, who will promise them more fun and lollipops than anyone else — in the whole wide world!
And now thrown into the show-me-the-love mix are coaches, guys such as Jason Kidd, who bolted the Nets for the Bucks, even though the Bucks already had a coach and former player Kidd had coached for exactly one year in the NBA.
See, he didn’t like it that coaches with even less experience than he — think Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher (zero games won, lost or thrown out of) — were getting more money than he was.
To soothe your concerns, dear reader, the Nets swiftly hired Lionel Hollins to take Kidd’s job for a hefty, in-your-face $18 million for four years.
This seems infectious, this recruiting and dallying and stroking and posturing for a “better situation’’ by players and coaches, things usually done by owners and, yes, adolescent girls.
Anthony, the 30-year-old Knicks forward, might ultimately stay in New York, just as James and free-agent sidekicks Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh might stay with the Heat. A lot depends on how the latter three are wooed by their team president, Pat Riley.
It used to be players went to new teams with little concern other than the certainty they would be getting more money. Now they want to know if the new coach is nice or mean, how many leather seats they get and where their wives (or concubines) might shop and stay fit.
Supposedly Anthony’s spouse, the actress, deejay and reality creature, Lala, is friends with Rockets center Dwight Howard’s girlfriend, singer Christine Vest, who had Howard’s baby last year — and that might help. I think I have this right. Not certain. Howard, who really wants Carmelo in Houston, reportedly (by ex-girlfriends) has as many as eight children by eight women. So everything is, as they say, in play.
By the way, Lala Anthony’s first book, The Love Playbook: Rules for Sex, Love and Happiness, can be had on Kindle for $11. 99, and it might be an interesting gift item for, say, Howard.
Then, too, Lala’s career is important here. You might have seen her star in the VH1 documentary of her and Carmelo’s 2010 vow exchange, a reality funfest called “Lala’s Full Court Wedding.’’ A shorter version called “Lala’s Half Court Trap’’ also is available. (Just kidding!)
At any rate, Anthony, whose Atlantic-to-Pacific tour ends Thursday in Los Angeles with the Lakers, passed through Chicago, then Houston, where management had created posters of him wearing a Rockets jersey with No. 7 on it. That numeral was — is — Rockets guard Jeremy Lin’s number. And for those who remember these things, Carmelo was one of the forces who was happy to see Lin shipped off from their old Knicks team after Lin became a star and Sports Illustrated cover boy in the injured Anthony’s absence.
Sources say that if Anthony comes to the Rockets, Lin will be launched swiftly to another team.
The wounded Lin promptly tweeted some appropriate Bible stuff: “Luke 6:29 — If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”
Consider it done, dude.
Oh, it’s complex, this emotional world. Which reminds me, Kidd reportedly tried to have Nets center Brook Lopez traded to the Bucks last season so he would be there waiting for Kidd when he took the coaching job that wasn’t open.
But it’s not about the money. No, no. Remember that. It’s about, mmm, fulfillment. Legacies. Championships. New chicks. (I didn’t really say that.)
“As far as money goes,’’ Carmelo said, “it don’t really matter to me.’’ Told you.
I’ll be so happy when all this where-will-they-go stuff is over. Then we actually can start to figure out who is on what team and which teams are actually contenders.
Somewhere, bemused new Knicks president Phil Jackson is sitting cross-legged, meditating, chillin’.
I wish I were with him.