Carmelo Anthony has never been a free agent. But he will be next summer.
Before moving forward, let’s retrace our steps. A month ago Melo and Jason Kidd both attended a charity event. Lightheartedly, Kidd asked his former teammate what his intentions were next summer, semi-jokinginly hinting Los Angeles. Anthony wasted no time nipping the topic in the bud, “I’m not. I’m just not going to do it. I’m going to let everybody know the first day that I’m not going to talk about it. Hopefully you guys and your colleagues respect that, and that’s it.”
The tides have done a complete 180 since then. Carmelo’s singing a totally different tune.
The reigning NBA scoring champ may have opened a Pandora’s Box he won’t be able to close by telling New York Observer, “I want to be a free agent. I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.”
On one hand, Melo wants the feeling of being pursued at least once in his career, something well within his right. And this could all be hot air seeing as how he stands to make the most money staying in Manhattan to the tune of $129,135,806 over five years. The financial edge stands in the Knicks favor, and a guaranteed fifth year is vital during the negotiation process.
On the other, Melo will be 30-years-old soon. Still roughly in the prime of his career, but as the lone member in the top five of the heralded Class of 2003 without a title, maneuvering to a location better equipped for a championship ranks as a very real necessity. There’s also the laundry list of future problems looming over the Knicks, as Grantland’s NBA guru Zach Lowe outlined earlier this week. And there’s always the provocative Lakers angle which just received another defibulator shot to the chest.
The Knicks can’t hit the panic button either. If Melo does privately inform them he’s walking next summer, trading him probably isn’t feasible either giving how adamant Anthony is with testing free agency. No team will gut their roster in the manner New York did for Melo in 2011 without the guarantee he’ll re-upping with them in 2014. The worst case scenario for the Knicks? They win 45+ games, make the playoffs, Carmelo leaves and they don’t secure a lottery pick.
What all this means for the future, hell if I know. Melo could very well resign with New York and this’ll look like a waste of space come next July. My prediction track record leaves a lot to be desired anyway. All I know, we’ve officially entered the “we need to talk” text message phase of the Carmelo Anthony/Knicks relationship.