Obviously the course of the New York Knicks future, as well as new President Phil Jackson’s first critical decision, depends on whether or not Carmelo Anthony opts to stay with the Knicks or pursue the free-agent market. Whether Anthony stays or goes will go a long way in determining what direction the Knicks go in.
Will Anthony stay and let Jackson build him around him with complimentary pieces, or will Anthony go elsewhere, forcing the Knicks to blow it up and start from scratch?
Let’s just say A LOT hinges on Anthony’s decision this summer.
Anthony is being pulled in a lot of different directions. Some of his teammates think he’ll stay, as J.R. Smith believes. Some think he is headed out the door and headed to either Chicago or Houston.
One of the NBA’s all-time greats, Oscar Robertson, feels Anthony should say goodbye to the Knicks and embrace trying to win elsewhere.
Robertson, while speaking to Spike Lee on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Thursday, had some pointed comments about the Knicks and the Big Apple.
“I would leave today,” Robertson said. “Let me tell you why: wherever that kid has gone, when he was at Denver, they had a team that fooled around with the ball, fooled around with the ball, then all of the sudden when they needed a basket, threw it to Carmelo. Then, when he shot the ball, they said he shot too much. Then when he didn’t shoot they said he didn't shoot enough.
“No matter what he does in New York they’re going to criticize him, the people are going to criticize him, because you got guys on (the Knicks) that cannot play. You got guys that are hurt all the time.”
Robertson went on to say Houston would be an ideal fit. More from Matvey:
“If he goes to Houston, they’re gonna win everything,” Robertson said. “You look at LeBron (James), LeBron’s got a great game and the kid down at Oklahoma, (Kevin) Durant’s got a great game — they can’t outshoot Carmelo. … I’ve seen him in a lot of basketball games over the years and I’m telling you right now the kid, he just can get that shot away. Now he’s gotten smarter, he’s going to the basket a lot. But what gets me is that everyone thinks that everything that happens bad is his fault.”
Chicago has also been linked to Anthony, and they might make a big push for him if he becomes a free agent:
From Brian Lewis of the New York Post (dated April 14):
In a development that has to have the Knicks sweating, free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony gushed over Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau on Friday as a “great coach” whose system can work with “anybody.” And the Knicks’ 100-89 win over the Bulls Sunday night didn’t change Anthony’s opinion of Thibodeau, or erase the pain of missing the playoffs for the first time in his career.
“It’s hard now. It’s hard for me to accept [not being in the playoffs],’’ said Anthony, who had 17 points in the meaningless win. “It’s hard to kind of be happy in these times. It’s just a hard situation for me right now.’’
Meanwhile, Jackson has been making a pitch to Anthony for him to stay in New York and take on a reduced salary, so that he can add more pieces around him.
“I think [there is] a precedent that’s been set,” Jackson said of stars taking less money to join or remain with contending teams. “Because the way things have been structured now financially for teams is that it’s really hard to have one or two top stars or max players, and to put together a team with enough talent, you’ve got to have people making sacrifices financially.
“So we hope that Carmelo is true to his word and we understand what it’s going to take, and we will present that to him at that time.”
Anthony suggested in February that he’d be open to signing a contract for less than the maximum allotment.
It remains to be seen what direction Anthony goes in, as seemingly everyone has an opinion on what Antony should and ultimately will do.
Safe to say, though, Anthony’s decision will be a monumental one in shaping Jackson’s era as president.
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