Carmelo Anthony has opted out.
So now what?
Most of us (myself included) have a habit of looking at free agency as a basketball first decision. For Carmelo, does he want the money and spotlight of New York or can he surrender some of that to contend in Chicago? However, that is a two-dimensional view of a three dimensional person. Think about it this way: If you had a big job decision to make that could involve money and moving, you think you’re making that decision without it being mutual one made with your wife? (If you just answered yes, I hope you enjoy being single.) Family and lifestyle matter, they are components in all the decisions we make.
Anthony is no different. He sat down with Vice Sports (you can see more of the interview below) and talked about the role family plays in the decision.
“(The average fans) don’t take into consideration the family aspect of it. Your livelihood, where you gonna be living at. Do you want your kids to grow up in that place, in that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation, in that city. So all of that stuff comes into play. My son goes to school, he loves it here (in New York), To take him out and take him somewhere else, he has to learn that system all over again, he has to get new friends, and I know how hard it was for me when I moved from New York to Baltimore at a young age….
“As far as basketball goes, it’s hard to just say ‘I’m gonna go here’ or ‘I’m gonna make this decision or do that,’ because everybody’s affected by that. And the average person is looking at it as next year. Like it’s just one year. ‘Next year you win a championship if you go here.’ We’re looking at the big picture here now. We’re looking at the next six-to-eight years of your career, the end of your career at that. So do you want to spend that much time in that place?”
In the interview Anthony talks about spending part of his youth in Red Hook as a Knicks fan and how much he felt New York was a place he could grow as a player — and how hard it is to leave.
“I came from a smaller market in Denver, not so much scrutiny. The scrutiny is tabloids, it’s media, it’s everywhere — it’s not like the level it is here in New York. Playing in a smaller market you could only go so high, as far as individual players go, you reach that max. You can only do so much and you reach that point in your life when you gotta look for something else — a bigger stand, a bigger stage, a bigger market.”
And yes, he’d like to be consulted on player personnel moves.
“As far as player personnel, I would love to be involved in that because at the end of the day you’re creating a family. I mean you can’t create a bond with somebody that’s not going to fit in with you, not going to be there when you need him the most, and don’t understand the game and how to win and situations in the game…
“As much as it’s about having superstars on your team, you got to have your soldiers, guys who will go out there and put your life on the line for you.”
I never like war analogy for sports, it’s not actually life and death. But you get Anthony’s point. And if he wants the team to be like a family, that matters as he looks at Chicago, Houston and his other options.