In this atrocious first half of the 2013-14 season for the New York Knicks, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
The trip to finding that light may become an even longer one if superstar Carmelo Anthony bolts at the end of this failed campaign, something a former teammate says is a forgone conclusion.
“I think he’s leaving,” the anonymous player told Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. ”I’ve played with Melo for a long time and he knows he can’t win here. At this stage, all he wants to do is win. That’s why he’ll leave.”
While it would have been nice if the anonymous player would have used his name on the record, his statement does bear a lot of merit.
There’s no doubting the fact that Melo wants to win badly and he, along with Knicks fans are going to have to come to grips with that the fact that is something that may not ever happen with Anthony in a Knicks uniform.
The Knicks are a bad team at both ends of the floor, struggling to find any offensive consistency (101.1 points per 100 possessions, 20th in the NBA). They are a team that is not willing to commit to defending as they can’t get stops at the opposite end (105.8 points allowed per 100 possessions, 25th in NBA).
Nothing about those numbers would represent a fluke. This is what this Knicks team is and it is not going to change anytime soon.
Things won’t get better next season and I’m hard-pressed to think that Anthony will bank his future on the fact that the Knicks can attract free agents in 2015.
For one, that would mean Melo suffering through a likely similar situation next season, something he is unlikely to want to experience again. Secondly, he knows the Knicks track record for screwing things up, which means there is no guarantee that they will surround Anthony with enough talent to contend for a championship.
Sure the Knicks can offer Anthony an extra year and an extra $30 million over that time, but it is looking more and more likely that won’t be a factor.
Anthony has made plenty of money so far and winning is the only thing he is worried about.
According to NBC Sports’ Brett Pollakoff money won’t be a driving factor in his decision:
Anthony will have an estimated $135 million in career earnings (not including endorsements) once this season is finished, so like Dwight Howard last summer, one more year on a deal to stay somewhere he doesn’t want to be—even for $30 million—won’t be worth it when he considers his long-term happiness.
Make no mistake about it, Melo badly wants to win in New York
However he needs help to make that happen. It’s been almost four years now and the Knicks haven’t come through on their end.
You can’t expect him to wait around forever.
Players, coaches and executives around the league see the writing on the wall.
The Knicks better start seeing it as well before it’s too late.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.