The New York Knicks are conducting exit interview with players as they dissipate into the offseason. A number of quotes from the players areworthy of analysis, but one quote in particular is sure to be subject to over-analysis. Carmelo Anthony on his contract opt-out following the 2013-14 season (via Adam Zagoria):
Melo said it would be ‘selfish’ to think about opting out after next season. Says he doesn’t want to ‘jump the gun.’
We can see where this is going. The Knicks’ resurgence this season was led by (arguably) Carmelo Anthony’s best season. He led the NBA in scoring for the first time in his year, defended with vigor, and trusted his teammates more, willingly passing out of double teams or making smart plays in the pick-and-roll. That the Indiana Pacers were able to bottle up Anthony so well in the playoffs and send the Knicks packing is likely to undermine the progress Anthony made as player this season.
Anthony is right in some aspects: the Knicks are still coming off a good season and could potentially grow even more next year. His contract status in the next year isn’t really relevant when the Knicks still have work to do.
However, Anthony being mum on the situation has potential to become a media circus. Should Anthony or the Knicks struggle during the 2013-14 season, questions about Anthony’s ability to opt out of his contract and become a free agent could overtake the entire New York media. This was Anthony’s first real taste of success with the Knicks, and it was moderate. A disappointing year would be seen as a continuation of his first lackluster year-and-a-half with the Knicks, with 2012-13 being the brief interruption.
It’s still so early and inappropriate to speculate, but comments like Anthony’s today has the potential to be the spark that ignites the flame. I think we’d all like to pass on “Melodrama 2.0.”