Ten-time NBA All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony is still trying to find his way out of New York. It is no secret that Anthony has been unhappy in New York ever since his much-publicized falling out with then team president Phil Jackson. Jackson’s handling of Anthony has been an unmitigated disaster with the former saying to media that the latter may be better off with another team, right after the Knicks missed their fourth straight playoffs appearance.
In a statement made in April of this year, Jackson said: “We have not been able to win with him on the court at this time and I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere he can win or chase that championship.” Jackson also made a lot of comments about Anthony during the season. He has been fired since by the Knicks but Anthony is still in the way of the team’s direction – which is a total rebuild built around youngsters like Kristaps Porzingis.
However, Anthony holds all the cards since he still has two years and $54.1 million on his contract, money that could be better spend in making the Knicks younger. This contract, which Phil Jackson orchestrated, also has a rare no-trade clause and a 15% trade kicker. This means that Anthony can veto any trade made by the team and he can dictate where he wants to go.
Recently, Anthony has been very vocal to waive his no-trade clause if a deal could be made with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are home to close friend Chris Paul, who has teamed up with James Harden, to contend in the Western Conference.
With the Knicks headed in a different direction than Anthony, it would be safe to say that the team is moving heaven and earth to get a deal done while still aiming to get some value for the 33-year old forward. For the Rockets trade to work, the Knicks have to take on Ryan Anderson’s contract ($60 million in next three years), something they are not prepared to do given their youth movement.
Anthony clearly needs a new home where he can start over. While he is past his prime, he is still an explosive scorer who can help a playoff team reach the NBA Finals. He led the Knicks in scoring last season with 22.4 points per game while averaging nearly 6 rebounds and 3 assists. We all must remember that despite his struggles, Anthony was a champion in college (Syracuse) and led his teams to 10 straight playoff appearances in his first ten years.
Anthony’s fading stature as a star is based on his inability to evolve in a league that is no longer defined by position but rather by versatility. He remains one-dimensional while other peers (like LeBron James) have evolved other aspects of their game, such as playing defense, to remain relevant.
If Anthony gets traded before Monday, he will have a chance at redemption and end his career on a high note with a contending team. If a deal doesn’t get done, he will be forced to wear the Knicks uniform and once again be part of the New York media circus.