Just imagine where the 4-12 New York Knicks would be without Carmelo Anthony. If things had gone just a bit differently this summer, that dark timeline would be the ‘Bockers current reality. In a coming documentary chronicling his two-week free agency tour in July, Carmelo says that he was once convinced that he’d sign with the Chicago Bulls.
Via Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“It came down to Chicago and New York,’’ Anthony said during the program. “Chicago was the one from Day 1 [and] was something I was very impressed with. They were looking for someone like me to come in and take them to the next level. So it was perfect.
“It was a perfect setup and perfect fit for me in Chicago. But also I had to think about just living in Chicago. Do I want to live in Chicago? Do I want to take everything I created in New York and move all of that? It came down to that. But there was one point in time I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going.’’’
Anthony went on a whirlwind free agency tour in early July, getting courted by the Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks in addition to the hometown Knicks. Chicago was long considered frontrunner to land Carmelo if he decided to leave New York, and the Bulls pulled out all the stops while courting him.
Considering the construction of Chicago’s roster and Jimmy Butler’s rapid ascent, Anthony in black and red is an even more intriguing proposition than it was four months ago. The Bulls wouldn’t have been able to sign Pau Gasol if Anthony had come aboard, of course, but the presence of Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic makes that theoretical subtraction more than palatable – especially given the ongoing struggles of Derrick Rose’s full-time return.
But this is all in the past. Chicago is a championship contender if it can find full health, and Carmelo is thriving – despite his team’s struggles – in year one of Phil Jackson’s regime.
After much debate over whether or not Anthony was worth the (basically) maximum five-year deal he eventually signed, that talk seems silly now. Anthony is clearly an All-NBA performer, and the Knicks need a face of the franchise to shepherd the rebuilding process. How attractive would New York be to this summer’s star free agent class if Iman Shumpert was its best player?
The Knicks aren’t good now, but would fare even worse in both short and long terms if Anthony had signed with the Bulls – a possibility that was even more viable than anyone knew at the time.
What do you think?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.