Written by: Bob Engelhard
It has seemed since Carmelo Anthony was in Denver he has been a headline for the New York Knicks. We all wanted him here to pair with Amare Stoudemire to form our version of a super team and unfortunatly we got Melo here but Amare’s body was to far gone to really reap the rewards of having to two mega stars. All in all Carmelo Anthony has been a good Knick and has taken far too much blame for the franchises struggles in general. The problem for Melo is he is not a lead guy and never has been. Melo is a great offensive talent but his game is flawed so he is best suited as a Robin to a Batman not the other way around. Fan never have gotten this principle and therefore have taken out the Knicks Struggles on Carmelo when in all honestly he has done his job. The reality is the job Knicks fans wanted him to do is not one he is equipped for. Swap Carmelo and Kevin Durant the Warriors do not skip a beat. Swap Carmelo and Kevin Love the Cavs still are playing in the finals every year. Add Carmelo to the Rockets right now and they have a legit chance to compete with the Warriors. Point is Carmelo is valuable and can be part of a winning team but he can not be the lead dog.
So now where does this leave the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony ? Lets review a concept for a minute to get to what I think the Knicks need to do with Melo. Phil Jackson handled Carmelo poorly but the idea behind his madness was the fact he wanted Melo to Step up and be that Alpha player and take his game to another level or step down and join up with his buddies and be a second or third wheel and allow the Knicks to pass the reigns to Kristaps Porzingis and move on. Either way I do believe Phil’s vision was correct but his way of going about it lacked class and respect for your own guys and you can not do that at the end of the day. Phil is gone now but the Melo issue still lingers because at this point at 32 years old I do not see Melo improving his flaws in his game to be that true lead guy on a winning team or changing his game by taking a back seat and hand it off the KP. I think Melo will have no problem being second fiddle to James Harden or obviously Lebron but I do not see it being so easy with KP for him. So the option is clear to me Carmelo and the Knicks need to part ways for the benefit of both parties. Carmelo can go play with his friends and go after a NBA tile and the Knicks Can rebuild properly and let KP be the face of the franchise with no interference. How do we go about this properly is the question ?
Option A) Stretch Provision
Pros- We get rid of Carmelo Anthony and clear the way for the Young guys to develop. This option also gives us a better shot at a high lottery pick next season because even though Carmelo is flawed having him on the team will result in more wins next season. Another positive of the stretch provision in this case is that Carmelo is owed $54,171,900 over the next 2 season so by using the stretch provision we would be able to divide up his remaining salary over the next 5 season so we would open up around 16 million in additional cap space this season and next season.
Cons- We are giving away an asset for nothing. At the end of the day Carmelo is valuable that’s why some of the top NBA teams such as the Cavs and Rockets want to acquire him so to just release him I feel as though it is a waste of a asset. The other thing is that while we will free up cap space over the next 2 season we will also be adding around 10 million in dead money over 3 extra seasons which takes away cap space. The Knicks are rebuilding so over the next 2 season the additional cap space may not be that important but in 3 years lets say we are ready to win that extra 10 million could be the difference in acquiring a player to help us win at that point.
Option B) Trade him
Pros- We rid ourselves of Carmelo and more importantly his contract from our books. Also we should be able to get something of value in return for him whether it be a young player or a few draft picks. Listen the return package will not be great but any asset at this point is a positive even if it is a few second round picks down the road.
Cons- Potentially bringing in a veteran contract to make the numbers work clogging up our cap situation down the road.
Option C) Keep him
Pros- By keeping Melo we would have the possibly of making the playoffs and being competitive. We would not have a chance to win a championship but the playoffs would be realistic for us and could be good experience for the younger players down the road.
Cons- We will win more games and that could hurt our draft pick next season. Also by keeping Melo we could be hurting the development of our younger core especially Kristaps Porzingis.
Overall I think what we need to do is trade Melo and make sure we do not get any long-term veteran contracts such as Ryan Anderson and make sure we do not give up any assets to get a better return. No matter what we get back I will consider it a win but I can not just simply release Carmelo Anthony and I do not think it is beneficial to have him on this team next season for either party. What I would love to see is us move Melo and get a few draft picks back in return which will have to be a 3 or 4 team trade but I think it will happen and right now I would love to see them use the freed up Cap space and maybe take a run at Jonathan Simmons who the Spurs just renounced their rights on him making him an unrestricted free agent. Guys like Simmons, are guys I think will fit nicely on this team and that is the direction I want to stay in.