A lot of the talk surrounding the 2013-2014 New York Knicks season has been centered around whether or not Carmelo Anthony will be wearing blue and orange next season. One thing we should always keep in mind when discussing this topic is that no one really KNOWS anything. Aside from Carmelo Anthony, La La, and perhaps his agent, I doubt anyone truly knows what Carmelo Anthony wants to do after this season.
So with that in mind let’s take a step back and look at all the reasons Carmelo will likely remain a New York Knick for many years to come.
The Case for Carmelo staying in New York
Today’s NBA is big business, and for that reason the general fan perception of a player cannot be understated. Just a few years ago Dwight Howard was one of the most likable young stars in the NBA. You couldn’t turn on your TV without seeing Howard pitching Big Macs, cars, or soft drinks.
Today, not so much.
After an ugly exit from Orlando, and an even dicier one from LA, Howard has gone from lovable to loathsome, with most NBA fans and critics bashing the Rockets newest star at every opportunity. The same applies to Lebron James, who although he has seen a big turnaround in public perception since winning the last two NBA titles, will never get back to being the universally loved player he was before he bolted Cleveland for the pristine beaches of South Florida.
Not that Carmelo needs to look to Dwight or Lebron for guidance, seeing as the Knicks superstar has already been through this himself. When Carmelo all but forced his way to New York from Denver his reputation took a big hit, which he has yet to fully recover from.
Already one of the leagues most polarizing players, it’s hard for me to believe that Anthony would put himself, his family, and his brand through that type of scrutiny again. Especially when you consider that he would not be leaving Milwaukee or Cleveland for LA, he would be leaving New York City. There is no doubt that Carmelo would ultimately be looked upon as a man who quit on his team from everyone outside of Lakerland. Whether you route for the Lakers or the Knicks, thinking that Carmelo would be willing to do this type of damage to his reputation, is a tough sell.
2. Money, money, money, money……Money!
Facts are facts – The New York Knicks can offer Carmelo Anthony more money than the Los Angelas Lakers. Now for a player in his mid-twenties this may not be as important, but for Anthony, who will be approaching 31 when the summer of 2014 free agent frenzy begins, getting one last full max deal will be a priority.
3. State of the Franchise
The Media personalities who have been clinging to these rumors point to one simple fact – The Lakers are an attractive destination who will have a ton of cap space in 2014.
This is true.
The fact that continues to be neglected by many is that the New York Knicks are in a similar situation. It is no secret that the primary reason the Knicks have had a difficult time building around Carmelo Anthony is because of the Amare Stoudemire contract.
Well guess what? After next season Amare’s $23.4 million becomes an expiring contract, that the Knicks can and will be able to move to another team looking to clear room for the future. The same applies to Andrea Bargnani’s $12 million salary, and Tyson Chandler’s $14.5 million. Will the Knicks move all those expiring contracts- probably not, but they will certainly move at least one, and most likely two, which will easily open them up to bring in another max player/s around Carmelo.
When considering the fan perception mentioned earlier, ask yourself which of these two options seems to make more sense for Carmelo Anthony?
1. Remaining the centerpiece of a Knicks team that will basically allow Carmelo to play GM next summer?
2. Go join a 37 year old Kobe Bryant, who would not enjoy conceding shots, and have fans crush you for the rest of your career?
Doesn’t seem like much of a debate does it?
Trust me when I tell you that Carmelo Anthony knows this, and the New York Knicks know this.
The Case for Carmelo walking away from the Knicks
This is simple, and will not require nearly as long as an explanation as the previous section.
If Carmelo Anthony does decide to leave New York it will not be because the Knicks are unable to improve the roster (a common mistake made by those outside of New York who fail to realize that the Knicks can clear the decks after the 2015 season, essentially meaning Carmelo can play GM, as I touched on earlier).
The real reason Carmelo would leave the Knicks is simple: James Dolan is a crazy person.
That’s it, you heard it here first. If Melo decides to walk, it will be for this reason. Period.
While I still believe Carmelo will not be leaving the New York Knicks, on the off chance he does, remember where to direct your anger Knicks fans.
Instead of booing Carmelo furiously when his Lakers come to the Garden, you should boo James Dolan at every possible opportunity.
Start chants at MSG urging him to sell the team, and ultimately do anything possible to let this man know that he is not wanted here, and no number of leaked stories or shady PR work can make Knicks fans forget what he has done and continues to do to this franchise.