Despite his many mistakes as President of the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson wasn’t completely off base in wanting Carmelo Anthony off the roster. He was just dead wrong in the way he went about attempting to make it happen.
Anthony has been at the center of New York’s continued efforts to play at an elite level once again. Such a plan simply hasn’t come to fruition and they’ve now reached a point of necessary reflection. Anthony isn’t the right leader for this team, nor has he proven himself capable of carrying a team to more wins on the court. He’d likely excel as a secondary player on a major contender. Alas, it’s time for both sides to move on. The time for a Knickerbocker youth movement has arrived.
Nevertheless, Anthony’s effort and the pride he’s taken in donning orange and blue should warrant some level of respect on the way out. What’s more, it would have also been in the Knicks’ best interest in pump him up (especially in the public eye) so that he could stand tall as a desirable trading chip and garner the best possible value back in return.
Anthony’s buddy Chris Paul being dealt to the Houston Rockets, should weaken New York’s already slim opportunities to make a deal. The Clippers would have been a fitting landing spot for Anthony to pair up with his good friend. As Paul departs Los Angeles, the team could very well begin their own rebuilding project instead.
After losing the NBA Finals earlier this month, the Cavaliers will seek out improvements. They and Anthony would love nothing more than for the Knicks to buy him out so that he can take the majority of his money and run to Cleveland for a discounted rate. This would allow the Cavaliers to keep the rest of its strong core intact while making a major addition. New York can’t let that happen. The need for return assets, especially considering the team’s focus will now shift fully toward the future, is greater than ever before.
As the Knicks explore their options, fans should keep a close eye on the Oklahoma City Thunder as an emerging underdog in this process. An M.V.P. talent in his prime is a terrible thing to waste, so the Thunder needs to find Russell Westbrook the support he needs if they care to chase the Golden State Warriors. OKC may not be the most glorious of locations, but teaming up with Westbrook, Steven Adams, and a young and talented supporting cast may be Anthony’s better chance at still playing a notable role on a perennial contender.