New York Knicks: How Will The Carmelo Anthony Saga End?

Dec 22, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) holds the ball before the start of a game against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 22, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) holds the ball before the start of a game against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite converting a game-clinching shot to beat the Charlotte Hornets, Carmelo Anthony’s future with the New York Knicks is far from safe.

Carmelo Anthony was hearing boo’s at home for a large portion of the second half against the Charlotte Hornets. Anthony was fouled on a three-point attempt in the third quarter, and heard boos for missing the first two free throws.

Phil Jackson has succeeded. He has successfully turned the fans against the franchise player.

Anthony was getting booed, at home for missing a pair for free throws.

This is personal.

The Knicks entered the fourth quarter trailing 87-82. Since Derrick Rose had left the game with an apparent ankle injury, it was up to Brandon Jennings to rally the comeback.

Despite a slow start, the Knicks ended the game on a 17-7 run. With the game on the line, the Knicks turned to the most hated man in New York, Anthony, to seal the game.

In the longer version of the video, Anthony is shown telling the crowd, “I don’t want to leave.”

As soon as Anthony touched that ball on the last possession, he was getting booed. Even if you want the man traded, why boo him at home? What purpose does it serve?

Is it that Anthony has a no-trade clause? Last time I checked, Jackson awarded him that clause.

Or, is it because the team has disappointed so far? While Anthony does bear some of the blame, so do plenty of other players on the team.

With a win last night, the Knicks improved to 21-27, 2.0 games back of the eighth seed Chicago Bulls, and 2.5 games back of the seventh seed Indiana Pacers.

It’s worth noting that the Knicks currently hold the tiebreaker over both of those teams.

The Knicks have gone 5-10 in January, and still are just 2.0 games back of a playoff spot. Many have given up hope on a playoff berth, but the Knicks can still get this done.

Instead, the media, along with Jackson, is set upon trading Anthony.

Not because the trade would make the Knicks better, but because when things go wrong in the sports world, people need someone to blame.

Both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have declined Jackson’s offers. If Anthony is traded, it would likely be to the Los Angeles Clippers.

At first, that has a nice ring to it.

The Knicks can trade Anthony, get Blake Griffin in return, and begin the rebuilding process.

Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. Instead, the Knicks will likely end up trading Anthony for Austin Rivers. Yes, a backup point guard that just so happens to be the son of Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.

Many speculated that Rivers would be unwilling to trade his son. However, Rivers said he would.

Marc Stein has since reported that the Knicks and Clippers were looking to involve a third team in the trade, as the Knicks don’t want to take on Jamal Crawford’s contract.

It’s unlikely that any other team would want to take Crawford’s three-year, $42 million dollar contract, either. If so, and the trade goes through, it will go down as one of the worst trades ever.

The Knicks currently have Rose, Jennings, Courtney Lee, Ron Baker, and Justin Holiday.

How would Rivers fit in on a team that already has three point guards and two shooting guards?

Everyone’s minutes would go down, adding to the “rotation inconsistency” that Jennings had alluded to a few weeks back.

Jackson’s Knick experiment has failed so far.

Just 48 games into the season, why give up now?

Everyone acknowledges Anthony’s decline. Everyone also acknowledges that the time would soon come where trading Anthony and re-building around Porzingis would become a reality.

That time is coming, but it isn’t here yet.

The market for Anthony has been minimal at best.

However, midway through the season, most teams not named the Knicks, are usually looking for stability with their lineups. Once the season is over, situations change, players leave, and teams are left with holes in their lineups that need to be filled.

At that point, the Knicks have a decision to make.

Option #1

Rebuild. The “R” word that is terrifies the souls of Knick fans everywhere.

Instead of buying players on the open market and hoping things magically work, the Knicks can make the right move, and rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis.

With complimentary players like Willy Hernangomez, Kyle O’Quinn, Jennings, Holiday, Lee, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Lance Thomas, the Knicks aren’t in a terrible spot.

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Plus, the Knicks finally have a draft pick in this upcoming draft, which many analysts believe will be a very “deep” draft.

Jackson can look to unload the contracts of Anthony and Joakim Noah. Anthony will likely bring on more potential suitors in the summer, and Noah will be near impossible to move.

With Rose’s $20 million coming off the books, the Knicks have some cap flexibility to work with.

Jrue Holiday, a free agent point guard this offseason, is likely a point guard the Knicks will target, considering he’s 26 years old and doesn’t require a max contract.

If the Knicks can move Anthony in the summer, it’ll clear up more cap space that the Knicks can use to target some more role players in the offseason.

Option #2

Jackson puts his ego aside and tries one more time to right this ship.

By that, I mean Jackson has a meeting with Anthony to put the trade rumors to rest. In that meeting, Jackson asks Anthony to reach out to Chris Paul.

Why? Chris Paul is a free agent this offseason. He, like Anthony, is running out of time in his quest to win that coveted championship.

Instead of trading Anthony to the Clippers for a backup point guard, why not lure the Clippers point guard to New York?

Rose clears up $20 million this offseason, and if the Knicks can manage to move Noah, it will clear enough space to sign Paul to a max deal.

That way, both Anthony and Paul become free agents at the same time.

The Knicks have failed to execute down the stretch numerous times this season. Why? The lack of a floor-general—a point guard who passes first, calls the right plays, and makes sure everyone is getting to the right place on the floor.

Who better to deny Anthony his request for isolation basketball than his best friend?

It comes down to this: If Jackson was truly committed to a rebuild, why is Anthony the only one being shopped before the trade deadline?

If Jackson has seen enough of his experiment and wants to scrap it completely, why aren’t Rose and Noah being brought up in trade discussions?

Jackson needs a scapegoat, and Anthony is the perfect fit.

Don’t believe the hype. Trading Anthony for Rivers is a travesty.

Unfortunately, all signs point to this outcome.

Jackson is pushing Anthony out of town, and judging by Anthony’s comments last night, Jackson may soon get his wish.

No one is immune to the New York media.

Anthony has immense pressure to be perfect every time he steps on the court, even at home.

With every shot he misses, the boos get louder.

With every game they lose, the rumors get louder.

The Anthony era seems to be coming to an end, and maybe it’s fitting. Once Anthony is gone, and the Knicks continue to lose, there will be only one person to blame.

The Zen Master himself, Phil Jackson.