When Carmelo Anthony signed his new contract extension with the New York Knicks back in July, all I could imagine was him walking down to a WWE ring with Shane McMahon’s theme song blasting throughout the arena.
Despite not receiving a max offer from president Phil Jackson in order for the team to pursue free agents next summer, Carmelo still walked away with $124 million over the next five years. Not bad for someone who hasn’t even won an NBA title, let alone appeared in a Finals.But who could blame ‘Melo for taking the money over the other suitors for less coin, especially if it means that more than $22 million will flow in his bank account in his first year of his contract.
At the same time, isn’t Anthony sacrificing success by returning to the Big Apple? Wouldn’t he have had a better opportunity to hoist his first championship in a shorter amount of time by moving to a different city?
Best bet is yes, teams like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers (stretch), all of whom in which sparked major interest in Carmelo, have the core pieces that would have been willing to band around the 30-year-old for a run at a title.
However, the seven-time All-Star is fond of how improved the Knicks are following a 37-45 debacle last season that resulted in the team missing out on the playoffs. With fresh new faces on the roster that includes Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin and rookie Cleanthony Early, Anthony has gone as far to say that New York will be back in the postseason.
Well … Carmelo won’t have to wait long to put his money where his mouth is as the Knicks will open up their 2014-15 schedule at home on national television to host a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to show what the former scoring champion missed out on.
This will be the first time that Carmelo will see the likes of Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau since the Bulls’ propaganda meeting at the United Center earlier this summer. Chicago did not have the cap space to offer Anthony a max contract but could have found a way to work around that via sign-and-trade.
It makes you wonder how completely different this storyline between the two teams would have played out if Anthony decided to take his talents to the Windy City. I can guarantee you though that the Knicks fans would have gave him a much better homecoming rather than the people of Cleveland with LeBron James four seasons ago.
Unlike James, ‘Melo decided to stick it out when the going got tough as supposed to leaving for greener pastures. It made the Miami Heat extremely giddy a few years ago when they landed James, but it has left Chicago with a sour taste in their mouths in 2014.
Don’t get me wrong, Carmelo would have received criticism if he packed his bags and headed off to Lake Michigan, where he would be plagued as a player who takes the easy road to accomplish his objectives. But when your old college basketball coach says that you would have been better off with the Bulls, maybe it’s time to think about a change in scenery.
Yet the possibility of working under Phil Jackson, putting a good amount of money in his pocket and continuing to play in his hometown was enough for Anthony to forgo a starting lineup that would have featured him, Noah, Rose and Pau Gasol.
There’s no denying that Anthony is taking a huge risk by committing to the long term future of the Knicks as supposed to leaving for Chicago, but hey, when there are no risks, there are no rewards.
Tags: Chicago Bulls