There's a time for profession sports organizations to sit back and see how things develop. There's also times for them to be pro-active. Everyone knew Carmelo Anthony would be opting out of his contract with the New York Knicks next off-season even before he dropped that nugget of knowledge on everyone before the season began. However, most expected him to re-sign with New York and take the most money available to him. Now there are signs that he may be looking to move on to another team. If he's leaving, the Knicks need to do what's best for them long-term and trade him before the trade deadline so the team can rebuild.
Carmelo Anthony is easily one of the top 20 basketball players in the world. He's probably even one of the top ten players around. He's certainly one of the very best scorers you could find on the planet. However, between a crazy owner, a stubborn coach, a poorly put together roster, a maxed out cap and a poor start Anthony must be looking at other opportunities. The question is, will he leave or re-sign next off-season?
The Knicks front office needs to sit down with Anthony and have a heart-to-heart talk. They need the truth. They need to look him in the eyes, listen and believe what he says. It's simple, will he stay or will he go?
If Anthony says he intends to re-sign with the Knicks, fine, move on and prepare to build a roster around him in the following year or so. However, if his intention is to leave or even contemplate leaving the Knicks need to make the first move.
They can not afford to lose Carmelo Anthony for nothing. They can not allow a franchise player like Anthony to walk away after costing them so much to get him and leave them with no draft picks, a poor cap situation and a less skilled roster than they had before trading for him.
Quite frankly, if he's leaving why was it worth trading Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, draft picks and more to bring Anthony in? If he's leaving, the Knicks need to figure that out before the trade deadline passes so they can try to recoup some of that talent.
Hopefully Anthony decides to stay, the Knicks are able to find a real point guard with the ability to make others better and the front office is able to find a second and third scorer, defenders, rebounders and the proper surrounding roster for Anthony to bring a championship back to Madison Square Garden.
However, the Knicks can't afford to just wait and hope Anthony decides to stay. They need an answer. Either you tell us now or we'll have to make a move. That's the ultimatum. There's no nice way of doing this. The Knicks need an answer and they need it now. No answer is as good as him saying he's leaving because they can't bank on him staying and have him decide to skip town and leave New York high and dry.
It would be understandable if Anthony wanted to leave. The team is off to a terrible start, the coach in on the hot seat, players are fighting, and the owner in insane billionaire with no clue about basketball. What kind of an owner blames the team dancers for the struggles on the court?
Stephen A. Smith of ESPN reports Anthony is leaving New York. He might not be the most reliable or believable source but Smith's words should be taken seriously. He might be dead wrong, but if the Knicks think for even a second that he could be right they need to trade Anthony before the all-star break.
Stephen A Smith spoke to sources in the last 24 hours that told him "Melo is out". He's not staying for this.— Knicks Nation (@KnicksNation) December 4, 2013
There are worse things than blowing up a roster, such as losing your best player for nothing. Anthony is still in his prime. He would bring New York a large return in a trade. They might as well get something for him rather than letting him walk in the off-season and get nothing for their troubles.
That being said, the Knicks can only trade Anthony to a team he's willing to commit to. Why would a team give up valuable assets and draft picks for a rental player? That's simply not going to happen.
This will be a huge decision for Steve Mills. Clearly he'll be answering to an owner who covets Anthony, his skill set and his drawing power. However, he can't allow James Dolan to put blinders on if Anthony is even a threat to leave. It would set the franchise back far too much to lose him with nothing to show for it. That's why watching how this situation plays out will be very interesting in the coming months.
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