Apparently, Anthony tried to persuade New York to reverse the order of operations.
According to a person close to Anthony, his representatives were in contact with Knicks management about Anthony rejoining the organization as a free agent on a minimum contract. Anthony’s camp was trying to convince the Knicks that signing Anthony would help the club’s pursuit of Irving and Durant, who became free agents on June 30.
Anthony badly wanted to return to the NBA. I don’t blame him for making whatever case he could. It’s on teams to say no.
And the Knicks reasonably said no.
Who’s supposed to believe a 35-year-old washed-up-looking* Anthony would make a difference with Durant and Irving?
*Even in his surprisingly resurgent stint with the Trail Blazers, Anthony has a -5.0 box plus-minus. He has been inefficient offensively and horrendous defensively. Better than my expectations, still not good.
After signing with the Nets, Durant and Irving reportedly pushed for Brooklyn to sign Anthony. It’s easy to believe Durant and Irving wanted Anthony on their team. Anthony is highly respected by his peers, and Anthony’s individual scoring skills fit nicely into Durant’s vision of basketball.
But Durant and Irving were tying at least the next three years of their careers to a franchise. It’s difficult to believe a factor as trivial as Anthony would have made a difference in their choices.
If they could’ve gotten Durant and Irving by signing Anthony, the Knicks screwed up. The Nets gave DeAndre Jordan a four-year, $39,960,716 contract in conjunction with getting Durant and Irving. Anthony was seeking just a minimum deal.
I don’t think the Knicks screwed up here.
Their real problem was years of dysfunction that turns off nearly anyone with better options. Signing Anthony wasn’t going to undo all that.