2013 NBA All-Star Game

Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were ‘smart’ to team up


Begin panicking, Knicks.

New York has built its entire foundation around Carmelo Anthony. He’s the team’s unquestioned top player, the type of star who yields incredible power within his franchise.

He’s also, as you might have heard, planning to become a free agent this summer.

As much power as the the Knicks have given Melo, they have little re-assurance in return. Melo could just leave with New York in the offseason with the Knicks getting no compensation. It has to be an uneasy feeling for the team’s management.

This won’t settle them.

Melo on LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with Dwyane Wade and the Heat in 2010, as transcribed by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com:

“They were smart,” Anthony told NBA TV’s Ahmad Rashad. “I think it’s smart. It was their choice.”

If it’s smart to team up with other stars, why would Melo stay with the Knicks?

The closest thing they have to a star is Tyson Chandler, and he can’t stay healthy. At 31, he won’t have an easier time avoiding injuries in the future.

The Knicks will have no cap room this summer, and they’ve already traded their 2014 and 2016 first-round picks, so it will be nearly impossible for them to sign or trade for a star.

That must mean Anthony wants to go somewhere else, right? Melo, via Begley:

“I’m not saying I want to go somewhere else,” Anthony told Rashad. “When I first got to New York, I always told myself it would be a three- to three-and-a-half-year plan just to rebuild. I knew we took a step backwards as an organization for me to get here. So we had to rebuild.

It’s been nearly three years since the Knicks traded for Anthony, and they’re far worse than they were when they acquired him. Is there any way they’re going be rebuilt by the end of this season? I don’t see it.

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The Knicks have two main hopes for re-signing Melo:

1. Melo preferring to be the lone star on a team

2. Convincing him that taking the contract they can offer him, larger than any other team, out weighs any other consideration

Melo’s comments shows No. 1 might not be the case. Better focus on No. 2.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.