Jim Boeheim: Bulls Were Better Option for Carmelo Anthony


Carmelo Anthony’s college coach didn’t mince words when he reiterated previous comments stating that the New York Knicks forward would have been better off signing with the Chicago Bulls during free agency in 2014.

Legendary head coach Jim Boeheim, who coached Anthony to a national championship in his first and only season with the Syracuse Orange in 2003, said today that his former player shouldn’t have returned to New York.

He hopes the Knicks will improve, but as Anthony heads into his thirteenth season in the NBA, signing with the Chicago Bulls would’ve been the better option. Chicago remains entrenched as a top-flight Eastern Conference contender and the Knicks are coming off a franchise-worst 17-win season.

Per Marc Berman of The New York Post:

"“Anybody knew that,’’Boeheim said. “Me saying that, everybody gets mad at me. But it’s the truth. The New York Knicks owner should say that, if he was being truthful. That would be hard but I think it was a better situation to win. But he loves New York. I see that. There’s always hope they would turn it around. There’s always hope.“But I know some college teams that have been in last place for 30 years. Every year they set out with hope that they’re not going to be in last place.”"

Boeheim made these comments to the media in Las Vegas, where he’s serving as an assistant coach for USA Basketball under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Anthony is at the Olympic mini-camp, as well, working out for the team and putting in light work.

Anthony is resuming basketball activities after coming off February knee surgery.

It’s hard to object to Boeheim’s concern for his former star pupil, as the Knicks seem perpetually stuck in rebuilding mode, pinning its 2015-16 season prospects largely on a rebounding Anthony and two unproven rookies in Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant.

Mar 7, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim directs his team during the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

While Arron Afflalo is sure to add some scoring punch and Robin Lopez some heft in the middle, the Knicks failed to sign a marquee free agent in the offseason. The team will rely mostly on Anthony’s offensive prowess to carry it through the season and at least make the team more competitive.  

Since signing his mega-deal a year ago, Anthony has publicly played the part of happy warrior. There have been reports that he’s grousing and unhappy behind the scenes with team president Phil Jackson’s moves and the speed of which the Knicks’ rebuilding effort is taking.

Anthony has solidly and consistently denied reports that he regrets his decision to sign with New York.

Per the New York Daily News, Boeheim said:

"“It was tough [watching Anthony play], He has to work so hard to get [points] — and the year before, and the year before that — I worry about how hard he has to go just to get them to get a win. And when you get the ball with eight seconds left and you make a play and you shoot it, then everybody criticizes you for not passing. Well, where are you going to pass it in that situation?“But he knows the deal in New York and he’s a man and can handle it. I just hope they can get to where they can be better. Frankly, I don’t look for miracles. I hope they can be better.”"

There’s no doubting Boeheim’s assertion that Anthony has to work exceedingly hard for his points. Usually matched up against the opposition’s best wing defender, if he’s not double-teamed, Anthony’s ingenuity and shot-making ability gets him beaucoup buckets.

Boeheim told The New York Daily News that he sees his former star having four or five, “Potentially great years” left and that the Knicks need to step it up and capitalize on that because Anthony is a winner who just needs a better supporting cast.

"“Guys last longer these days,” he said. “They train better, they eat better. So four years is a long time. You don’t know what’s going to happen next year. Maybe things work. Get somebody in there. It wouldn’t take a lot. (Fourth overall pick Kristaps) Porzingis comes in there, (rookie Jerian) Grant comes along. They pick up one or two more guys. I’m hopeful. I hope for him because at the end of the day you’re not going to be a great player until you win a championship. In today’s world, that’s the way it is.”"

Do you agree with Boeheim’s comments? Let us know in the comments section!

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