Carmelo Anthony has opened up quite a lot this season about his impending free agency. Over the All-Star break, during his press conference in New Orleans, Anthony addressed some questions about this approaching summer, and let it be known that he would like to stay with the New York Knicks, he hopes he can recruit others to come play with him, and that he’d be willing to stay for less.
Those are all nice things to hear. Except, what were his other options? “No, I don’t want to stay in New York. I will not try to recruit other stars to play with me here. And I will not take less money on my next contract.” We can only hope to take ‘Melo at his word, but he also has to handle the situation delicately, knowing the backlash he faced as he forced his way out of Denver, and for the criticisms Dwight Howard and LeBron James got when they left their former employers.
In today’s media session, Anthony opened up a bit more about the situation. We’ll let the reporters take care of you there:
The funny thing about all this is that the Knicks clearly made a decision at the trade deadline: go for it. Try to make the playoffs over planning for the future. It was clear they wouldn’t consider offers for Carmelo Anthony, but they had other options to prepare for the future. Barter off Tyson Chandler for young players or picks, trade Iman Shumpert for another point guard or draft pick, get some value for Beno Udrih instead of just buying him out. Instead, the Knicks stood pat, either feeling not amiable to any proposed deals or thinking they could turn this season around for a playoff push.
The latter is still possible, I suppose. It’s unlikely, as the Knicks face all playoff teams in April, and they’re currently five games out of the eighth seed. But hey, maybe their goal this season was to play a five-game losing series to the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat.
Who could blame Anthony for wanting out? The team has been an utter mess around him, from the coaches, the players, and the front office. Anthony is posting what would be an MVP-caliber season if the Knicks were a top-four seed in the East. Seriously: 28 points per game, 45% FG, 42.6% 3FG, 8.6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.1 steals per game. MVP numbers on a top playoff team. Everyone else — Tim Hardaway Jr. excluded — has under-performed, particularly in comparison to last season.
Anthony will 30 this summer when he makes his free agency decision. If he really is looking to the long-term, the Knicks aren’t necessarily a bad choice. They’ll have cap space in 2015, picks after 2017, and hopefully — if they’re smart — young, developed assets like Hardaway Jr., perhaps Jeremy Tyler, and whoever they draft. But for the Knicks to get back to a level where they can contend? It might take three years or so, and does Anthony want to wait that long?
Follow Scott Davis on Twitter.