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Carmelo Anthony Denies He’s Leaving New York Knicks in Off-Season

December 6th, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

There's been a lot made of what the future hold for Carmelo Anthony and how the New York Knicks should handle it. Even before the season started Anthony made it clear he intended to opt-out of his contract in the off-season. That set a bitter tone for the season. Then the Knicks got off to a horrid start that's continued till this day. That led to rumors Anthony was starting to think the grass might be greener elsewhere. Recently, it was reported Anthony would not be sticking around and would sign elsewhere. Now Anthony is denying leave.

'Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The New York Knicks are in an unenviable position. They have a talented guy in his prime they believe could be a franchise player but he has the ability to opt-out after the season. Now, that doesn't mean they'll lose him. In fact, financially, he should opt-out even if he intends on retiring with the Knicks. After all, he'd be able to re-sign for $129 million.

However, this is more of a situation of knowns and unknowns. What's known is that Anthony intends to opt-out of his deal. Good or bad, at least they know that. What is unknown is if he'll be calling Madison Square Garden home next season or returning as a visitor.

That's a problem for the Knicks front office. They need to know what he's going to do. He's not obligated to tell them or even tell them the true if he's asked but they need to find out and act accordingly. They also need to be prepared to cut ties with their superstar if they aren't absolutely sure he intends to re-sign.

'Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Knicks are in absolutely no position to take a chance on losing Anthony without compensation. That means if he's unsure what he'll do, the Knicks need to trade him. If he says straight out he'll be leaving, the Knicks need to trade him. That also means if they don't believe what he says when they look him in the eye, they need to trade him.

When ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported Anthony had suffered enough in New York and was ready to move on the Knicks were no longer able to act like it was a forgone conclusion Anthony would re-sign. Suddenly they had to think about life without Anthony. They had to think about the benefits of letting him leave for cap relief versus trading him for a package of players and draft picks.

To no one's surprise, Smith's claims also caught the attention of Anthony. As a result, Anthony has come out publicly refuting the report. Rod Boone of Newsday reports Anthony denied making statement on his future to anyone.

Melo shot down premise he's already decided to leave NY. Said he's not sure who Stephen A.'s sources are, but it didn't come from him.

Melo said he doesn't talk to those close to him about his future plans: "Anybody in my crew, anybody on my team, family nobody."

Melo said if it doesn't comes straight from him "then it's not true."

'Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2012, Paul Lowry - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

After seeing these comments there's little doubt that every Knicks fan will respond with a "What else was he suppose to say?" comment. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a valid statement.

Of course Anthony was going to deny the reports. Anthony wasn't going to demand a trade or put the Knicks in a position where they'd have to trade him after less than 25 games into the season.

Anthony is already hated in Denver. Did anyone expect him to force a trade like he did with the Nuggets what the season is so far away from the trade deadline?

That being said, Anthony's denials don't mean Smith's reports are false. Anthony may very well be ready to leave New York. He might not even know what he'll do. One thing for sure is the Knicks need to find out.

Fiction or non-fiction, these reports have brought attention to a crippling alternative to re-signing Anthony. That's losing him without getting anything for him.

Anthony can deny anything he wants in the media. In fact, he can lie to the media all season long. The only ones he needs to tell the truth is the Knicks front office. They need to know where Anthony stands and where their future stands. 

If it's with him, they know they'll be writing a large check and then preparing to build their roster around him and his skill sets. If it's without him, they need to use his significant value to retool their roster. That is undeniable.

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Tags: Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Madison Square Garden, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Stephen A. Smith

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