Carmelo Anthony came to New York for all the right reasons. He wanted to bring a title to the Big Apple, but now, it’s time to move on.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the New York Knicks are a disaster. This isn’t breaking news, but considering the circumstances, they might be all-time bad.
Knowing their history, that’s saying something.
This isn’t a rapid reaction to their last 108-107 loss at home to the Hawks, who were without Dwight Howard. This isn’t a fiery hot take about a “superteam” that has now lost 11 of 13 games. This is simply a message to Carmelo Anthony, who missed the potential game winner from point-blank range as time expired.
Get the heck out of New York.
Anthony, a nine-time All-Star, has impressive credentials in many regards. He’s one of the best scorers of this generation with a scoring title to show for it. This past summer in Rio, he became the all-time leading scorer in USA Men’s Basketball history en route to his third-straight gold medal.
The problem for Melo is that his legacy begins and ends with what has transpired overseas in the Olympics. While we offer up an appreciation for what he’s done for this country on that stage, the reality is, for better or for worse, greatness is defined by NBA titles, not gold medals.
When discussing superstars, the quicker you get to spouting NBA All-Star Game and Olympic accomplishments, the quicker you put yourself in a hole. How many gold medals did Michael Jordan win? How about LeBron James and Kobe Bryant? Magic Johnson? Scottie Pippen?
On the surface, it’s a bit unfair to ask that question. Anthony isn’t close to being in the conversation with those luminaries, but for Melo, he’s been to as many NBA Finals as all those who’ve never played a single minute in the league with just one conference finals appearance on that resume. Not great, Bob.
There are too many adjectives to describe what the current state of affairs is in Knicks land. This team is a catastrophic mess. It’s like a never-ending soap opera, except with the Knicks, employees are allowed to go AWOL without being greeted with a pink slip upon their return.
As you may know, Phil Jackson‘s confidant, Charley Rosen, wrote a controversial article about the Knicks. He criticized Anthony, alluding to him wearing out his welcome in New York.
So wait, let’s get this straight. Carmelo Anthony now has to bear the majority of the brunt of criticism for a team that is danger of missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive year?
No, I got it. It was Melo who hired Derek Fisher. He then pulled the plug and fired him in the second year of a five-year deal worth $25 million.
Oh, not his doing either?
So alas, we finally arrive at the individual culpable for the Knicks misfortunes. It wasn’t so long ago this team won 54 games. Remember those aspirations of an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with LeBron James and the Heat? I wouldn’t blame you for the sudden memory lapse.
It feels like that was ages ago because here’s what has happened since then: NY has gone 104-183, which of course includes the franchise-worst 17-win season in Phil’s first full-year.
When the Zen Master arrived in the Big Apple, the source of optimism was rooted in his ability to change the culture. Under the leadership of Jim Dolan, the Knicks epitomized chaos and ineptitude. But Jackson was going to be different. He was a proven winner, who seemingly could do no wrong. He walked on water, even with a bad back.
The task was that of getting the Knicks back to relevancy and competing for titles. The result? They’ve taken a step back and are farther away from playing meaningful basketball in April and May than they were before he arrived.
We won’t make the mistake of absolving Melo of all the blame. He has certainly played a factor in his team’s struggles. He’s made some questionable decisions like holding off reconstructive knee surgery to play in an exhibition game. He’s taken plays off on the defensive end. Melo has also missed a bevy of late-game clutch shots that could’ve won them games, like Monday.
But if the question is who is more to blame for this abomination, the answer is easy. It’s the man who sits on the throne in charge. And since the relationship between him and his franchise player he not only gave a max deal to but also a no-trade clause, has reached an impasse, a divorce is needed because of irreconcilable differences.
This means it’s time for Melo to swallow his pride and waive the NTC. He desperately wants to salvage his legacy as he nears the end of his basketball days. He understands what the narrative of his career would be sans a world championship.
Melo is also someone who wants to be that Dark Knight that saves Gotham City and delivers that elusive championship that has been M.I.A since 1973.
“I think I’ve proven that,” Melo told Ian Begley when questioned about his loyalty to the team.
It’s now time to show how badly he wants to win by terminating this tumultuous relationship. I’m sure there’s frustration watching his buddies LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul compete for rings while he watches on the couch.