The maddening irony of understanding Carmelo Anthony‘s place with the New York Knicks from beginning to now is overwhelmingly rough.
Six years ago, he had finally arrived.
After snagging their first superstar on the open market in quite some time, a bonafide NBA stud would be joining the fray, thus completing the transformation for the New York Knicks. No longer would they be the cellar-dwellers of the Eastern Conference. Carmelo Anthony was on his way to join forces with Amar’e Stoudemire.
Better yet, he was “coming home.”
It was perfect.
As we reflect on that monumental February 23, 2011, night, depression sinks in.
Only the Knickerbockers could go the route of acquiring two NBA superstars and mess it up in a disastrous fashion. Only the Knicks can take six prime Melo years and screw it up.
This isn’t to proclaim Anthony is clean in the matter. He isn’t. His faults have led to the franchise’s current status of 18-24, 11th in the East after the latest disheartening loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Madison Square Garden.
To understand what Carmelo Anthony symbolized when coming to New York in 2011 and think what’s happening right now is to realize how maddening a situation this really is.
We wanted him back then. We’d do anything for a legit superstar of that ilk. We would have literally sold our souls to the devil himself to have it happen.
Now, we understand it hasn’t worked and want him out.
Melo, though, doesn’t want to leave.
Sure, the Charley Rosens of the world who are hired to produce headlines and very little substance will throw out just two teams he’d accept a trade to (the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers). Fortunately, we’re smarter than to report a ridiculous thing like that. Rosen isn’t a Knicks employee and he simply said “it’s understood” that those are the only two squads he’d accept a deal to.
No matter what you say about the Syracuse National Champion, the one thing you can’t claim is that he’s a crowd-hopper. Since he arrived on the scene, he’s been nothing but loyal to the Big Apple.
A recent report surfaced suggesting that Melo, in now way, shape or form, will waive his no-trade clause.
“A source close to Anthony says he’s unwilling to green-light a trade out of New York, even with how bad it’s turned.”
“He loves it here. He loves being here. His family loves it here. And he wants to win here. He’s going to be here as long as they want him here — win, lose or draw.”
OK, so maybe it was unnecessary to run Melo’s free agent special on MSG Network a few years back. Perhaps we didn’t need to see how close he was in signing with the Chicago Bulls.
The problem? Loyalty doesn’t help the Knicks now.
Loyalty is a hell of a thing in professional sports. It’s a hard attribute to come by. But when an organization is suffering to the extent this one is at this moment in time, loyalty does more harm than good.
What the Knicks need is a real superstar, not one who’s flaming out at the age of 32. They need an all-around star, not a guy who once thrived in iso situations when the NBA was built on such scenarios.
Take a peek at the Golden State Warriors for a moment. For how great Kevin Durant is in a one-on-one look, he’s not about that life anymore. Instead, he moves the ball with his running mates Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. In no life would I ever endorse Durant’s weak move to the Bay Area, but the on-court play is real and must be pointed out.
At some point in time between Melo’s arrival and the present day, the NBA did away with the iso as a cure-all and moved to a purer brand of ball.
Granted, Anthony hasn’t always had the help around him. Donnie Walsh came in and performed a brilliant job in turning over the talent. His supporting cast during the season of 2012-13 allowed Mike Woodson‘s team to reach 52 wins and the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
There was Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, and Iman Shumpert — guys who understood defense and the intricacies of the game. Melo was properly supported while his team thrived when he played the power forward spot in a league that was rapidly growing quicker.
It was the only season New York actually surrounded Anthony’s scoring star properly.
That’s the problem in a nutshell. While talented, while one of the most dominating one-on-one scorers in NBA history, Anthony doesn’t provide A grades in categories not labeled “scoring.” And at this point in the game — for both he and the Knicks — that poses a major problem.
It’s maddening irony at its finest.
When we and the Knicks wanted a bonafide stud in the worst way six years ago, he came. He wanted to come at a time no superstar relished that Big Apple Mecca challenge.
Now, thanks to circumstance and six seasons filled with disappointment, we don’t want him anymore. He’s more a problem than a solution (based on age and too many circumstances to count).
But he doesn’t want to leave.
Sure, the Charley Rosens of the world who are hired to produce headlines and very little substance will throw out just two teams he’d accept a trade to — in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers — but we’re smarter than to report a ridiculous thing like that. Rosen isn’t a Knicks employee and he simply said “it’s understood” that those are the only two squads he’d accept a deal to.
Sadly, it’s a scenario only the New York Knicks can force upon themselves.