It appears as close to a sure thing as we’ve seen with Melo to this point.

The Cavaliers had a massive $121 million payroll in 2016-17 and face a $45 million luxury tax bill on top of that. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love aren’t cheap, and re-signing Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith in recent years got quite expensive. Cleveland will begin triggering the oppressive repeater tax in 2017-18, which will increase its inevitable luxury tax bill an additional 44 percent.

(The repeater tax enters the picture when a team has triggered the tax in three of the four previous seasons. This is Year 3 of the tax for Cleveland, so it has not yet been triggered. If the Cavaliers go one dollar over the tax next year — and they will — the repeater will be triggered for both 2017-18 and 2018-19.)

So Gilbert paid $166 million for a roster that made the NBA Finals. We don’t know how much revenue such a good team pulled in, but chances are the Cavaliers lost money this season. Forbes reported that the Cavaliers lost $40 million in 2016-17 despite winning the championship. Those reported 2015-16 losses came with the same total payroll as Cleveland carried this season. Odds are there were significant losses.

It appears as close to a sure thing as we’ve seen with Melo to this point. We even had Nene making (and deleting) Instagram posts with Anthony photoshopped in full Rockets gear.

This is real. It’s probably in the works right now. Anthony’s window in New York is closed, and it’s seems he’s ready to move on if it means competing.

Anthony averaged 22.4 points with 5.9 rebounds per game last season. He also put up the second lowest player efficiency rating of his career at 17.9 — the worst since his rookie season.

It’s time to start anew for Anthony. He hasn’t been to a Conference Finals since 2009 and hasn’t really come close despite playing in a weak Eastern Conference. He’s only won more than 50 games once since coming to New York and that 2013 season feels like a lifetime ago now.


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