When Carmelo Anthony re-signed with the New York Knicks, he thought it’ll be a quick rebuilding process and on to contending for championships. For a short while this season, it looked like the process was going in the right direction. Pretty quickly it turned out the Knicks are a little further off than Anthony was hoping for.
So the Knicks have won 30 games so far this season. It’s an improvement, but it’s not getting them into the playoffs, and Anthony, who isn’t getting any younger and is envious of friends like LeBron James with two championships and Dwyane Wade with three championships, feels he has his biological NBA clock ticking inside him. He wants to be part of something bigger, greater. He wants to play for championships (has been to one conference finals and one more conference semifinal series) and make the playoffs again. He wants something better than the Knicks right now.
Team USA in the Olympics will be his outlet. Anthony, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in 2008 and 2012, sees being part of Team USA this summer in Rio de Janeiro as an opportunity for him to feel what it’s like to be the bully again. The favorites. The team everyone struggles to beat. It hasn’t been that way with the Knicks since 2012-2013, followed by three seasons (this is the third) of missing the playoffs. Playing next to Kristaps Porzingis is nice. Playing next to the best players in the NBA is better.
From a morale standpoint as a player, if you’ve been through the things I’ve been through the past couple of years, you want to feel what that success feels like. You want that success. So the Olympics for me is great timing, especially coming off this season and injuries, and mentally it’s good for me to get out there and feel what that feels like again.
Another shot by Anthony at the Knicks? It doesn’t really matter. He’s there for the time being, with a contract that might be impossible to trade anyway, although the Knicks haven’t given any indication that they plan on moving forward without him. However, if the Phil Jackson project struggles to get off the ground next season the whispers and rumors will become a lot louder. Anthony might love the city and made his family and personal preferences choose for him instead of making a basketball choice, but even he can change his mind at some point, although it might be too late by then, and he’ll end up being a bitter old player, filled with regret.