Hiring a new head coach, a new general manager or puppet master – all this so the New York Knicks don’t enter one of the more depressing seasons in their recent history, and mostly so Carmelo Anthony will think that staying on for at least one more season of decay and not being close to chasing a title ring is the right choice for him. Who knows – maybe they’ll actually convince him things will be better.
The biggest question Derek Fisher was asked after being announce as the new head coach of the New York Knicks to work under Phil Jackson had to do with Carmelo Anthony. How do you convince him to stay? Someone mentioned Fisher simply show Anthony his five NBA championship rings, as if it was the little man on his own who got them, and not a combination of playing next to players like Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
Anthony wants to be courted. He has never had the free agency experience, and seems to be convinced that going through the process will help him make the right decision. He wants to have a summer like Dwight Howard had: Set up camp somewhere and get visits from teams that are interested in him before weighing his decision and announcing to the world what his next team will be, or simply staying on the current one.
Anthony can make more money thanks to the current CBA if he stays with the Knicks. But whatever the decision he makes, probably in the back of his head he knows that him taking a max contract ruins a shot at the title for any team. Anyone advising him otherwise – saying he has the talent to be a number one guy on a championship team while eating aroudn 35-40% of the salary cap is simply lying to him.
The Knicks won’t have a team to contend next season. They probably won’t be even good enough to make the playoffs, unless Jackson is able to get a first round pick from someone and creates magic with it. The roster, even when completely healthy, doesn’t seem to be good enough to do something special, with or without Carmelo Anthony, in a very weak Eastern conference. Fisher and Jackson are selling the future, but one that Anthony needs to be patient for.
After 11 seasons in the league, maybe he has run out of patience. He sees the Heat trio reach four consecutive NBA finals. He sees Kevin Durant make a run for the title each season. Anthony, who has been with his teams in the playoffs in 10 out of his 11 seasons, has only been past the first round twice. It has to say something to him about his place on a team, but it also builds a hunger in him that the New York Knicks can’t immediately satisfy.
Who can? The Chicago Bulls keep coming up as a name that will go after Anthony. It will take some creative accounting to do that, but it’s possible. Other teams have a shot too, but finding a combination of a team willing to pay him a maximum salary and remain title contenders in the process is difficult. Anthony needs to make sacrifices this summer. He needs to decide what’s the most important thing to him if he wants his career to be about more than just the points he scored.