Carmelo Anthony was finally traded late in the offseason to the Oklahoma City Thunder, mercifully ending his year in limbo with the New York Knicks. From the start of last season, former Knicks president Phil Jackson tried everything he could to push Anthony out.
Jackson repeatedly dogged Anthony to the media in an effort to make him want to waive his no-trade, which backfired and led Anthony to dig his heels in. Eventually, Jackson’s insistence on trying to get rid of Anthony led him to be fired by James Dolan, but the damage was done.
Anthony by then wanted out and had given the Knicks his list of teams he’d be willing to go to, which was, for awhile, just Houston. With training camp looming, Anthony expanded that list to include the Thunder and now he’s part of a new “Big 3” with Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
The Thunder’s newest addition recently spoke with Marc Stein of The New York Times and explained what it was like going through the last year with Jackson and why trade efforts after Phil left dragged on as long as they did.
“There was no support from the organization,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out …”
“I think at that point it was too far gone,” Anthony said. “I already had in my mind that I wanted to win, that I wanted to move on. We didn’t think it would take as long as it did, but my mind was already made up.”
The delay to find a workable trade, in Anthony’s view, stemmed from the fact that Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips,” while Scott Perry, who became the Knicks’ new general manager after Jackson’s departure, took a harder line in trade talks with Houston and Cleveland that eventually fizzled.
“They went from asking for peanuts to asking for steak,” Anthony said with a laugh.
It’s a funny quote from Carmelo, but it explains why he was still part of the organization for as long as he was this summer. Jackson had spent an entire year tanking Anthony’s trade value by speaking so poorly of him in an effort to push him out, and it ended up making the task for Perry that much more difficult.
In the end, the Knicks were able to get some value for Anthony in a pair of younger players that they can at least try to include in their rebuild, while Anthony gets to a contender, something he’s been desperate to be a part of for years.