Will Carmelo Anthony be pushing for a trade if the rebuild of the New York Knicks takes longer than expected? Perhaps, but it’s hard to see it happening.
Walt Frazier raised the question. Anthony has a no-trade clause and a contract that even with the salary cap rising is hard to move. He is signed for the next four seasons, making a total of $101.4 million. He’s due to make over $27 million in 2018-2019, the final year of his deal, but he does have an ETO if he wants to get out.
Right now, with Anthony and the players the Knicks have added (Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams) and also the hidden promise of rookies Jerian Grant and Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks will definitely do better than they did last season. Playoffs? Too soon to talk about it, but even if they do manage to make it in the weak East, it’s hard to actually see them giving anyone trouble in a series.
Anthony wants a championship. Maybe. But he wanted other things more when he signed that contract with the Knicks. He had plenty of other options, for less money, that would have made it a lot easier for him to play postseason basketball and maybe challenge for an NBA title. Because of his family and because he makes more money by staying (which is a completely legitimate reason), he stayed with the Knicks.
Anthony says he believes in the process and whatever else Phil Jackson tells him about the plans. But he sees the roster right now. Improved compared to last season, and still nowhere near challenging for anything. It’s going to be at least one more year of playing with losing on the team’s mind. Last season Anthony was shut down (playing 40 games overall) so he wouldn’t get injured while the Knicks were tanking.
That shouldn’t happen this season, but don’t count it out. The Knicks need more than projects like Porzingis and limited potentials like Grant to become a considerable force, even in the East. Anthony as the lone top player, especially with this squad, isn’t good enough to take them very far, or anywhere at all. But he won’t be traded. Because it wouldn’t make much sense, not for the Knicks, and not for a team to pick up this contract. Not with so much money left on the table, and so many years to go through.