Not a max contract, but still a five-year one that will keep Carmelo Anthony with the New York Knicks, which means at least one season of not being able to contend for titles, and putting a lot of faith in the new regime and its ability to make the right decisions that turn this team into one of the best in the NBA quickly.
Anthony will is going to be paid $122 million over the next five seasons. Just less than the maximum to give the Knicks some cap flexibility they lost when they traded Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks for a bunch of contracts, including Jose Calderon. Is it enough flexibility? That remains to be seen, but the problem for Anthony is that he’ll be forced to wait for an entire year until finding out.
The Knicks might be a playoff team this year. Not having Mike Woodson, who looked like he lost control of his players last season, obviously helps. Having Phil Jackson mentoring Derek Fisher isn’t a bad starting point either. Still, surveying the talent and players around Anthony, it’s hard to feel confident about the Knicks doing anything special this season.
Midway through the 2010-2011 season Anthony was traded to the Knicks. Twice he lost in the first round of the playoffs with them, something he’s been used to doing with Denver. A season later, the Knicks looked like one of the best teams in the East for a while until their flaws began coming out in the light of day. Despite being the second seed, they were beaten quite badly by the Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals.
Last season was one rolling disaster with very few points of hope of happiness. The playoffs were too difficult for them to reach. Anthony began contemplating leaving, and opted out. Maybe hen ever intended to leave, and just wanted to feel some love from other teams. Taste free agency as some players put it.
The bottom line is Anthony, who talked about wanting to contend for titles now, isn’t going to be. He’ll need to wait, and hope the Knicks have the cap space and the ability to draw in a star or maybe more a year from now. Rajon Rondo? Kevin Love? LaMarcus Aldridge? All speculation for now, but for the Knicks, putting all their faith in the summer of 2015, it’s a beacon of hope for a faltering franchise.