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.