Let’s face it: The Knicks disappointed us all. After a remarkable record last season Knicks fans expected more and so did Knicks All Star Carmelo Anthony.
The 2013 scoring champion missed his first playoff ever after a disastrous 2013-2014 season. While teammates were having problems on and off the court, Melo had his game together the whole season. He broke the MSG record for most points in a game (62 vs the Bobcats), he hit clutch shots, he supported his problematic teammates – JR Smith suspended for illegal substance use, untying shoelaces; Raymond Felton’s gun charges -, he never ran away from an interview. That shows what a great work ethic the soon to be 30 year old has. He even said he was willing to take a pay cut if that meant they would be better next year. All he wanted in return was a shot at the title but even with all his effort, it wasn’t enough.
This summer he has the chance to change all that. His impending free agency has been reported and speculated on for months and not without a reason. The frustration shown by him and the unrelenting will to realistically fight for an NBA Championship could mean that the NY Knicks will indeed be looking to move forward without his star.
So what’s the picture?
Anthony has 3 real possibilities if he wants to move on to another town and chase his ring: Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Maverics.
The Bulls are the most talked about possibility, considering their franchise player and Defensive player of the year Joakim Noah has been trying to recruit Melo since the Sll Star break. Reportedly the 2 have been exchanging text messages and are now close friends. For that to happen though, the Bulls would need to clear some space on their salary cap to be able to afford such a player like Melo. The Bulls got knocked out the playoffs by the young and talented Washington Wizards, not because they couldn’t defend, but because they couldn’t score. Maybe Anthony would be the missing piece to transform the team into real contenders, which is Anthony’s ultimate motivation.
Second best option would be the Houston Rockets. Again, some pieces would have to be moved to open cap space (maybe even great role players such as Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin). Also, opposite from the Bulls, Houston has a very serious defense problem – despite having Dwight Howard protect the rim – making their perimeter defense something to work on (the reason the Trail Blazers are playing San Antonio on round 2 and we didn’t have a game 7 between them and Houston is the poor defense shown by James Harden on Blazers PG Damian Lillard). That said, Carmelo wants titles, and Houston could very much provide the support he needs to thrive as the 3 (stretch 4) he is. Can you imagine Harden, Melo and Howard? Instant next Big Three.
How about the Mavs? This week Ian Begley of ESPN reported that the Dallas Mavericks will go after the NY forward on his free agency. After being defeated by their rivals San Antonio Spurs, the Mavs are already looking forward to changes and Melo is in their plans. I’m not sure Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki would fit as well to his style of play though – Dirk is not a low post center and great defender like Howard for example and besides he takes too many jump shots during a game and that’s Melo’s game.
So, if he decides to walk on Hall of Famer president Phil Jackson and the Knicks, those are his realistic options.
If he stays in New York he is certain to look forward to 5-8 more years of great competitiveness in the big apple with a retired jersey and franchise stardom the likes of Pat Ewing and John Starks in the end.
I’m sure whatever his decision may be, we are up for an interesting off season ahead of us.