Carmelo Anthony doesn’t care about the math — if he did, he’d know it’s going to be very difficult for the Knicks to change the roster much this summer.
No, Carmelo Anthony just wants to win a title and he understands the Knicks roster as it stands is maybe fourth best in the East next season (when the Bulls get Derrick Rose back and the Pacers get Danny Granger back… and they couldn’t beat the Pacers now).
He wants changes; he wants help scoring, reports the New York Post.
According to a source, Anthony has told a confidant he is concerned management will stand pat this offseason and said he believes the team needs to add a bona fide secondary scorer for the Knicks to take the next step and win a championship.
The source said Anthony loves combo guard Iman Shumpert, 22, and projects him as a superstar, but not for two seasons. The source also said Anthony privately wishes the club will add a significant piece to the roster and not be status quo.
For fun, let’s ignore the game of telephone going on here (a source that talked to a confidant that talked to Carmelo) and say this is true — Anthony is right. We saw in the playoffs that once Anthony and the first option out of Knicks sets were taken away, the Knicks were at a loss about how to deal with it. J.R. Smith is nice, but he is not a consistent second scoring option.
Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. It’s the math thing.
The Knicks have nearly $75 million in committed payroll next season with just eight players on the roster. You can up that total when they re-sign J.R. Smith (likely for a little more than $5 million a year). That puts them over the tax line and over the apron, so they are very limited in what they can do (they can’t do a sign-and-trade that brings in more salary, for example).
The kind of secondary scorer Anthony wants doesn’t come cheaply and there is just no way the Knicks find that guy for the roughly $3 million tax-payer mid-level contract they can offer (after that it’s just veteran minimum deals). The Knicks are free to try and trade for this kind of scorer, but what player on this roster that the Knicks would give up do other teams want?
The Knicks are likely to make small roster moves this summer, not big ones. Sorry ‘Melo.
The real key to their season next year may be how Anthony’s shoulder heals.
(By the way, the Knicks can’t free up cap space by amnestying Amar’e Stoudemire because they already used their amnesty on Chauncey Billups.)