Does it make sense to bring Carmelo Anthony back to the New York Knicks?
The NBA is officially back on our TV screens, and while the New York Knicks aren’t one of the 22 teams in the new NBA bubble, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been making moves.
New York recently named Tom Thibodeau their 31st coach in franchise history and rumors are already surfacing about potential signings the team might make in the upcoming offseason.
With Thibodeau being a ‘win now’ coach, it might be a safe bet to say the Knicks might be signing some veterans, one of which could be a very familiar face to the organization in Carmelo Anthony.
Here are the positives and negatives of giving Melo a second chance to don the orange and blue.
Positive #1: Veteran Leadership
I can truly understand if Knicks fans are tired of hearing the two words “veteran leadership.” However, it’s impossible to deny that it’s a key piece to the success of an NBA team.
The last time the Knicks had a winning season and made the playoffs was in 2012-2013, when the team had a ridiculously high average age of 32 years old. That team included guys like Kenyon Martin, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd, etc. All players above the age of 36!
Veterans are crucial to the young players as they need to learn to adapt to the pressure of playing basketball at the World’s Most Famous Arena. Plus, Melo was previously a Knick for seven and a half seasons. If anyone knows how to handle New York, it’s Carmelo Anthony.
With the Knicks struggling to bring out the potential in young players like Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr., I don’t see how a one year deal to bring back Melo could hurt.
Positive #2: The Fans!
Ok. I understand that we still have no idea when we will see fans back in the stands in American sports, let alone the NBA. Adam Silver recently announced the start of next season might be delayed until MLK Day 2021.
Despite this, Madison Square Garden has become a safe haven for opposing fans and tourists to watch basketball instead of diehard Knicks fans. As the team continues to struggle, the real fans have decided to watch from home.
Now ask yourself, what is one thing the majority of Knicks fans love? Carmelo Anthony. Yes, if Melo gets the opportunity to call the Garden home again, I think it will really hype up the local faithful to kick out opposing fans and tourists and bring authenticity back to the Garden—whenever they are allowed to return.
Negative #1: Cost
Look, as much as well all love Melo, we definitely know how much of an ego he has. Even when it was evident that his best days were behind him, Anthony said he would refuse to play for a team that would bring him off the bench.
With the Knicks looking to use their money in free agency for pure value, it remains an enigma how much they’d be willing to pay Carmelo. Currently, the Blazers are paying Melo just over $2 million. With the Knicks having $50 million in cap room, they obviously will have plenty of money to sign the former All-Star.
But that doesn’t mean they should just blindly sign him to a bad contract.
It also must be taken into account that the Knicks could be monitoring a potential Chris Paul trade, and if he is acquired, they’d have to take on his massive contract. Leon Rose and Co. need to have a clear-cut plan with how they’re going to spend their money before deciding if re-signing Carmelo Anthony is really worth the risk.
Negative #2: Minutes Consumption
A major theme to New York Knicks basketball the past few seasons has been player development. A signing of Anthony would most likely reduce playing time for a lot of young guys still looking to get their feet wet.
Just liked I talked about in the first negative, Melo could yearn for a significant role, and demand the basketball while he is on the court.
I believe next season is make-or-break for soon to be third year forward Kevin Knox. If he can’t prove to be a productive player, I see his leash being pulled. A Carmelo Anthony signing might put a lot of pressure on Knox and take away his opportunity to shine.
At the end of the day, young players might suffer from Carmelo Anthony’s desire to play a lot. If the Knicks decide to bring him back to New York, they must make it clear what his role will be.