I said it when the Carmelo Anthony rumors were at their hottest — you just can’t turn down that much money (five years, $129 million) to stay in a place that you and your family are comfortable. So it appears for Anthony, who is rumored to be staying home, as per a report by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. The official New York Knicks spokesperson hasn’t confirmed the report, but an announcement is expected on Thursday. What does this mean for the Knicks and for Melo?
First things first — the Knicks are a team with some major holes and they need more than Melo to make things work. With that said, Knicks president Phil Jackson is a master
manipulator motivator and must have worked his magic in order to get Anthony to stay. Let’s not forget — Anthony is 30 years old at this point and doesn’t want to be a part of a big rebuilding plan.
Carmelo told a friend within hour “I believe in Phil.” Thursday is decision day & it looks like Melo’s coming home http://t.co/Z2BiBcxUmf
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) July 9, 2014
As of now, the Knicks don’t have a whole lot of financial flexibility — that will come in the summer of 2015-16, when the albatross contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire ($23.4 million) and Andrea Bargnani ($11.5) come off the books. With Anthony’s $25.8 million per year scenario and assuming options are picked up, the Knicks will have roughly $44.3 million in contracted players (Jose Calderon, J.R. Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Shane Larkin, Tim Hardaway). that will leave them with roughly $20 million to spend.
The Knicks are no stranger to the luxury tax and are certainly not afraid to get there, so don’t be surprised to see them chase another max-contract guy in addition to adding talent through trades. Notable names available next season are impressive: Rudy Gay, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol, to name a few.
What will the Knicks look like this season? Not too much different than last season — though I’d expect them to be more competitive than that horrific 37-45 finish that left them on the outside of the playoffs looking in. If they can find a way to bring Pau Gasol into the fold, they’ll be much better than they look right now.
Their lineup doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of the NBA, but with an upgrade at the point (Jose Calderon instead of Raymond Felton) and a change in the middle (Samuel Dalembert), the Knicks should be in the conversation all year long. They’ll get 3-point shooting from Wayne Ellington and J.R. Smith, but not a whole lot of defense. If anything, this Knicks team should be fun offensively and…we’ll just say that they’ll be on the court for defensive possessions.
In the end, it’s a good move for the Knicks. Anthony is a superstar and it’s not easy to attract a superstar to your city when you don’t already have one there. The money is like drops in a bucket for the Knicks and with the flexibility they’ll have next summer, it won’t be long until they’re relevant again. Melo might have to waste one year, but he’ll be back in the playoffs soon.