Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

LeBron, Carmelo opt out: Hawks an option? (Updated)

(Updated below with link to full column on MyAJC.)

We have known for a few days that Carmelo Anthony will opt out of his contract with the New York Knicks. He's available.

Now we learn from his agent Rich Paul that LeBron James has told the Miami Heat that he will trigger the early termination of his contract and also hit the open market. And soon, we will hear the words, "I am taking my talents to . . ."

Marietta Street?

Should it be considered so far-fetched that the Hawks can land a high-profile free agent like James or Anthony? I know: It's strange to put them in the category of potential landing spots for an elite player. But for all the good work general manager Danny Ferry and coach Mike Budenholzer have done, the Hawks certainly needs two things: 1) A scorer; 2) a draw for fans.

The real question here is not whether the Hawks would (or should) want James or Anthony but whether either player would (or should) want them.

If James doesn't re-sign with Miami -- and there's a good chance he is merely trying to leverage his situation to pressure the Heat into improving the team around him -- odds favor him going to a major market (New York) or back to Cleveland over Atlanta. Similarly, Chicago, Houston or Miami (if salary cap space is created) probably appeal to Anthony.

But if you were a big name free agent, should the Hawks be considered a major player? I'll explore this topic later in a full column on

HERE'S the link to the full column: Hawks' quest: LeBron, Carmelo or anybody elite.

What do you believe it would take for a big name free agent to come to Atlanta?

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.