As if the fire wasn’t hot enough, Carmelo Anthony decided to throw some gasoline into it.
With the New York media and much of the basketball world up in arms, debating whether or not the Knicks will match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet from the Houston Rockets, it appears Carmelo Anthony may have doomed Lin’s chances of returning.
Many had already cast their doubts on Lin’s chances of returning as the Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers complete a sign-and-trade to bring Raymond Felton back to New York, but there hadn’t been any official word yet from the Knicks. Knowing how much the organization values Anthony and his opinions, his words today may prove to be telling.
Via Rod Boone on Twitter at the US Olympic basketball practice today:
On the Lin-Knicks saga: “It’s not up to me. It’s up to the organization to say that they want to match that ridiculous contract.”
More: “I’d love to see him back, but I think he has to do what’s best for him right now.”
On Lin returning: “I think a lot of people kind of jumped the gun with that, that he’s going to be back no matter what.”
Of course, it’s easy to incriminate Anthony without knowing the context of his comments. Anthony has publicly supported Lin before, and has stated that he cares about winning. Jeremy Lin, in this writer’s opinion, gives the Knicks a greater chance to do just that.
But Anthony, who has never been great with the media or with his words, didn’t exactly demand the Knicks to match Lin’s contract. This is a player, who despite relatively little success in his time in New York, has been included in personnel decisions, and was given superiority over Mike D’Antoni before the former coach resigned this past season.
Several reporters have insisted that Anthony wasn’t criticizing Lin, and was instead calling the Rockets ridiculous for the contract. However, ‘Melo should have taken the high road and remained neutral, as Tyson Chandler’s comments were, or declined to comment.
There’s still no definitive word on whether the Knicks will match the contract. It’s possible they’ll let him go, as reports have said they were upset that Lin allowed the Rockets to renegotiate the contract into the “poison pill” variety, and that the Knicks are hesitant to pay Lin almost $30 million (taxes included) in the third year of the contract. However, it’s also possible that the Knicks are gauging fans’, players’, and teams’ reactions to not matching Lin. They may very well wait until the 11th hour to match the contract in hopes of messing with the Rockets’ free agency plans (my personal belief).
But if you are Jeremy Lin, or a fan hoping Lin will return to the Knicks, it doesn’t help when the superstar player avoids a vote of confidence for a free agent.