After this season, Carmelo Anthony will have the option to opt out of his New York Knicks contract and become a free agent. However, Hall of Famer Reggie Miller warns Anthony that the grass may not be as green elsewhere as Anthony may think.
New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony can opt out of his contract this off-season, becoming a free agent. He'll then have the option to either re-sign with the Knicks or take his talents elsewhere. With New York he could sign a five-year deal worth $129.1 million. Elsewhere he can sign a max deal worth $95.9 million over four years. However, Indiana Pacers Hall of Famer Reggie Miller warns New York may offer more than just the additional $30 million in compensation and that another organization may not be the answer to Anthony's championship chase that he may think it could be.
"Everyone wants to be wooed and go through that process," Miller, now a TNT analyst, said Tuesday on a conference call. "What I would say to Carmelo is, 'Be careful what you ask for.’ We saw what happened with LeBron [James]. Right now, you play in the No. 1 media market in the world in terms of professional basketball. What better place to be successful and try to win a championship than in New York?
"It would be hard to imagine him leaving there," Miller continued. "The grass isn’t always greener. The grass was greener for LeBron and he’s won back-to-back [titles], but what he went through to get there was such a firestorm.”
Now, there are two different points being made by Miller here. First of all, there's the subject of leaving the Knicks for another situation. Many have said that the Knicks will never win a championship. That's an argument for another day. The fact is, this is Anthony's team.
James Dolan may be an owner that drives Knicks' fans crazy but he's also an owner willing to spend money to compete for championships year in and year out. They've tried to build a contender around Anthony. However, Amare Stoudemire's lack of consistent health and large un-insured contract has greatly held that process back.
That being said, the team has lined it's contracts up so that when Stoudemire's contract comes off the books in two seasons he'll be joined by most of the other big contracts on the roster and allow the team to be in position to sign two maximum contract players again.
The franchise intends for one of those max deals to belong to Anthony. They've also told him he can pick and chose the rest of the roster. He's being treated like a franchise player. Some would say if you have max money — $30 million more than anyone else can pay you, team control and a venue like Madison Square Garden, that if couldn't get much better then that.
That being said, others have argued that Anthony isn't a number one guy. That he's more of an elite number two option in the guild of the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade. What holds Anthony back? He's not a guy who necessarily makes his teammates better. He's not a natural facilitator. However, he's a very good scorer. He might be the best natural scorer in the NBA. That would mean whatever team he'd succeed on would need the second star to be that facilitator who does the things Anthony doesn't.
Speaking of the Heat. That brings us to Miller's second point. From what they've accomplished it's hard to argue with LeBron James' decision to take his talents to South Beach. However, it's also clear that the way he made that decision was very poorly done and that he's had to withstand incredible scrutiny as a result of that decision.
Now, will Anthony put on the same kind of show James did when it came to "the decision"? That is very doubtful. Not only did Anthony see what James went through afterwards but so did Jordan Brand and every other business involved with Anthony. No one wants to see him go down that road.
However, it could be argued that the scrutiny that James went under was worth it for that special situation. When do you get three players of that level as free agents all at the same time, let alone three willing to make the salaries work in order to join forces? On top of that, how often is it that their destination has the tax situation that makes that salary impact hurt less?
Where is Anthony going to find a team with talent like that who has the salary cap space to add Anthony to the fold? Unless Wade decides to retire after this season and Anthony can join James and Chris Bosh in Miami there's probably no team out there that can offer Anthony the same opportunity to shape a championship team around himself like New York will be able to after the 2014-15 season.
In fact, it could be argued that Anthony would be smarter to opt in to next season and allow his contract to expire. He'd then become a free agent when most of New York's salaries are cleared off the books and he could re-sign, like Wade did in Miami, while bringing in additional talent to join him. That would give him the ultimate control.
Whatever his decision, he needs to do it quietly and and in the polar opposite manner James did it while leaving Cleveland. If he wants to leave the Knicks after fighting to get here and forcing his trade from the Denver Nuggets, so be it. Just do it with class. However, be careful what you ask for Anthony. The grass may not be as green elsewhere as it may appear.
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