Carmelo Anthony is eligible to be a free agent after this NBA season, and unless he signs an extension in February, rumors about his departure – say, to the Lakers – will continue to surface. And the last thing the destitute Knicks fans need to worry about is ‘Melo bolting.
Which is probably why last week, Anthony boldly told Bloomberg News, “I’m not going nowhere.”
Knicks fans cheered.
But what else was he supposed to say?
Thankfully, Howard Beck of the Times has broken it down nicely: Anthony isn’t likely to sign an extension in February, and will opt-out of his deal at season’s end … to get more money. That’s where it becomes dicey: Does Melo stay with the Knicks for the most money, or take a little less like Dwight Howard did in July, to sign with a contender? Yes, Howard is younger, and health-pending, he’ll get another max deal. Anthony turns 30 next May, and this next big deal will be hist last.
The Knicks are 7-14 in the playoffs since Anthony arrived, with two first-round exits. They won 54 games last season — their best record in decades — but they hit that mark in a down year for the Eastern Conference and still failed to reach the conference finals. The Knicks may have already peaked. Their chief rivals have only grown stronger.
The guess today is that Melo stays in New York, but never wins anything. The one potential game-changer? The Knicks are an absolute disaster for the first half of next season – like not Top 8 in the East – and Melo sees no improvement and decides it’s time to bail, as his window to win a title is shrinking. The problem is finding a landing spot for Melo. Who wants a ball-stopping, always-shooting small forward to be a No. 2? I say No. 2 because I don’t know if a Melo-led team can get to the Finals.
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