An exchange yesterday from training camp gives us a little insight into Carmelo Anthony’s thinking.
And how it’s really about moving where he wants, not winning.
Anthony’s people (never Anthony publicly) have been pushing for a trade to get him out of Denver and he said there is a 50/50 chance he is gone before the season starts.
Anthony holds leverage in this process because he is in the last year of his deal and no team is going to trade for him — to give up key young players and picks — if they can’t sign him to an extension. If he doesn’t agree there is no deal. Anthony’s people have pushed for him to go to New York or Chicago, and now we know why, thanks to this exchange reported in the Denver Post.
“As far as marketing, it comes from winning. If I ain’t winning, then nobody wants me to market their product.”
So he was asked: “Then why would you want to play for the team that won 12 games last season?”
Anthony then said: “I never said I want to play for the Nets.”
The Nets pushed hard for a four-team deal that would net them Melo, but one of the holdups was rumored to be Anthony’s hesitation at signing an extension in New Jersey.
No matter what he says, it is not all about winning for Anthony.
Because if it was, he’d stay in Denver and play for a team that with him may be the second best team in the West (they are on that tier with a few other squads). In Denver they reached the Western Conference finals two seasons ago and have been winners and on television a lot for years.
The Knicks are a long ways from winning — with Amar’e Stoudemire or not. Anthony and Stoudemire would mean a lot of points for the Knicks but that team is without depth (after the trade) and there would be defensive questions. They are not going to be better than the Heat, Celtics or Magic. They may not be better than the Bulls. Maybe not better than the Bucks. Or even the Hawks.
Simply put, the Nuggets are closer to the Lakers and a West title than the Knicks with Anthony are to the elite in the East.
This is about him getting to a market he wants to be in. Which is fine, he has the right to go where he wants within the system. His actions so far are within the system and frankly more fair than what LeBron James did to Cleveland (leaving them on the hook until it was too late, so they got nothing for him). Anthony can be a free agent and sign wherever. As it should be. But don’t pretend this is just about winning (and the marketing that comes from it), because Anthony’s actions speak differently.