Carmelo Anthony is the undisputed superstar of the New York Knicks. This is his team, his city and Madison Square Garden might as well be renamed Melo Square Garden.
The actions of the last five months made by the Knicks brass has directly been decided in Carmelo’s good grace. Don’t be fooled, Anthony surely had a hand in the firing of Mike D’Antoni and the decision to let Jeremy Lin leave for the Houston Rockets.
Before this was Melo’s town and right before that when it was Amar’e Stoudemire’s town, James Dolan, Donnie Walsh, and Knicks brass had a blueprint to bring major superstars to the Garden. Leading up to the summer of 2010 Knicks fans had dreams of a duo of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, LeBron and Joe Johnson, Johnson and Bosh, LeBron and Stoudemire, the list goes on and on.
The Knicks ended up with Amar’e Stoudemire and had the star they wanted with a talented young nucleus of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Landry Fields, and Raymond Felton.
As the season went on, Amar’e was dominating and gave Knicks fans hope of a bright future. Of course when they struck out on the big fish of LeBron James, the names of Carmelo and Chris Paul joining STAT to form their own Big Three was now the current pipe dream. Melo held the Denver Nuggets hostage saying he will only sign long-term in a trade to the Knicks. Both dreams came true, Carmelo was playing where he always wanted to play- in New York and the Knicks got their top-tier superstar they always wanted.
This wasn’t Stoudemire’s team anymore; it was now Carmelo’s.
After a half year of trying to gel, getting swept in the first round by Boston wasn’t much of a letdown. After a successful offseason where they acquired their defensive stud of a center in Tyson Chandler and drafting Iman Shumpert, the Knicks were starting to finally build their team they dreamt of in 2010. Adding sharp shooter Steve Novak and spark off the bench J.R. Smith only gave Knicks fans more hope.
Then on a Saturday in February, a journeyman got the start against the New Jersey Nets, outplayed All-Star Deron Williams with 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds. This journeyman of course was Lin and the rest is history. He outscored Kobe Bryant with 38 points to Kobe’s 34, beating the Lakers, and won Player of the Week with his first week starting in his career, averaging 27.3 points and 8.3 assists and going 4-0 with the Knicks.
When you thought it couldn’t get better, he hits a buzzer beater three to beat the Raptors. Linsanity was in full effect and caught the sports universe by storm. He was on the cover of Time and Sports Illustrated twice. He was buzz of every sports talk show in the whole country. Lin was the face of the Knicks, hell maybe even the league. There was one problem with all of this; Dolan already had his face of the franchise and it was Anthony.
No one believed that Melo had nothing to do with D’Antoni’s exit. Before Linsanity began the Knicks were the definition of underachieving. I remember like it was yesterday losing to the Bobcats at home and I made my Facebook status “Can Phil Jackson start looking for apartments in New York?” It clearly wasn’t working, and when you give up the farm for Carmelo, you listen to what he has to say. When he can’t play under this coach’s system and when the team is failing, you get rid of the coach. This was Carmelo’s first flex his muscle and power in the Knicks organization.
The end of Linsanity I believe would be his second.
I was never a big Lin fan but of course I rooted for him. My Knicks were on the verge of being again the laughing stock of the league and he single handily saved their season and so much more. But I hated when people were comparing him to the best point guards in the league, I viewed it was a slap in the face to those players. Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker were so overlooked in the beginning of the season and these guys have put up great numbers in their careers. People were saying Lin was better than them. He got very hot vs. mostly bad competition, but hey he did what he had to do.
Once he hurt his knee I knew his 15 minutes were up. The team would return back to its rightful owner in Carmelo. I didn’t want to Knicks to bring back Lin when he said he was 85 percent healthy but couldn’t play in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. You think Baron Davis was 100 percent when he gave it his all? IMAGINE Carmelo announced he was 85 percent but couldn’t play. Derek Jeter? Tom Brady? Peyton Manning?
I think the twitter universe would shut down if LeBron James said he was 85 percent healthy but couldn’t get on the court. But this was Jeremy Lin, America’s hero, the little guy who everyone saw themselves in.
Sorry everybody, he played the Knicks like a fiddle when he said that. He knew he was about to get paid, and that he did. If he played and got hurt, his stock would have plummeted. Also I believe he knew he couldn’t stop Miami, we all saw when he couldn’t do anything against Mario Chalmers in a regular season game, imagine playing them when LeBron had his team focused on winning it all to shut the whole world up?
When Lin signed the Houston Rockets offer sheet of three-years $25 million, Carmelo said what was all on our mind, calling it a ridiculous contract.
Translation: “He isn’t worth the money because I am and this is my time I don’t want to share the spotlight with an unproven 23-year-old with 25 starts.”
When he signed the offer sheet all you heard was that the Knicks would match an offer sheet if it were a billion dollars. Don’t feed into the luxury tax BS and the Knicks didn’t want to pay. Lin would have paid for his own salary in merchandise and MSG stock. Poison Pill? That is a tic-tac for James Dolan who has a history of giving out and taking on bad contracts. May I remind you?
Jerome James – 5 years, $30 million, who averaged 4.3 PPG in his career
Eddy Curry – 6 years,$60 million who needs no explanation
Malik Rose – 7 years,$42 million
Tracy McGrady – $23 million
None of these players had nearly the impact that Lin had on the Knicks during their tenure. Carmelo wants this to be his team. He pulled strings to get D’Antoni out of town and don’t be fooled that he didn’t have a say in Lin’s exit as well. When have you heard of a player calling a potential teammate’s contract ridiculous?
P.S. Chris Paul and Melo are becoming really close during these Olympics don’t you say? Paul said in a recent interview that New York is in the back of his mind but he is now focused a member of the Clippers. CP3 has always expressed playing with Carmelo in New York, and for him to say New York is in the back of his mind is intriguing to say the least.
This is Anthony’s team. It is his time to shine. His time to win. He has what he wants.
However now that he has it his way, all the pressure is on him to deliver.