Carmelo Anthony is still on the wrong timeline.
Despite a solid offseason marked by the free agent signings of Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo and addition of No. 4 overall draft pick Kristaps Porzingis, the New York Knicks are hardly a postseason lock in 2015-16. And unless Phil Jackson manages to lure another elusive big fish to the Big Apple soon, it’s hard to imagine his team being anything more than playoff fodder in the foreseeable future. The Knicks, basically, are years away from competing for championships.
That’s a problem for Anthony, a 31-year-old coming off perhaps the most disappointing season of his lengthy career. But the eight-time All-Star has approached his rehabilitation from February’s knee surgery with vigor, and is healthy enough to participate in this week’s Team USA mini-camp. And after supposedly lambasting the pick, he’s even come around on New York’s selection of the 19-year-old Porzingis, too.
None of that optimism means Anthony will suddenly morph into a player capable of leading his team to legitimacy. He needs to win now, while that slim possibility still exists. And the Knicks, obviously, just aren’t equipped to do so.
That humbling reality recently led to baseless speculation that Anthony could want out of New York. But he’s done everything possible to hush those rumors in the interim, and continued doing so earlier this week in another Q&A with fans on social media.
Here’s ESPN’s Ian Begley:
In response to a fan questioning how much he cared about the game, Anthony wrote, “Shows how little you know about me. Staying in NY shows that I do care. If I would have left, what would you have said then? “Oh, Melos wack for leaving. He turned his back on NY”. FOH. You are stuck with me buddy. Deal with it. If you want me gone, I’ll personally walk you into the front office so you can plead your case of the Knicks trading me. Hope you have bail money bc they might have you arrested for Disturbing the Peace.”
One fan wrote that Anthony “shouldn’t listen to the negativity” and should “trust the process” because the Knicks are on the right path.
Anthony’s response? “Best thing I’ve heard all day.”
We love how comfortable Carmelo is interacting with fans. This isn’t the first time he’s responded to commenters on his Instagram page, and it surely won’t be the last. Say what you will about Anthony toeing the company line to placate the millions of frustrated Knicks followers across the country, too.
But he’s also right – the ‘Bockers finally have the pieces in place for a small level of success, and a prospect who has the potential to emerge as a star. Are Jackson’s offseason moves what will propel New York to immediate contention? No way, and Anthony likely remains disenchanted by the team’s inability to secure a player close to his caliber. There’s only so much time left in the Syracuse product’s career; 2015-16 will be his 13th NBA season.
Signed through at least 2017-18 and having already felt the blowback of demanding a trade earlier in his career, though, Anthony isn’t left with many options other than playing good soldier. And fortunately, doing so has been made much, much easier by the Knicks solid, if underwhelming, summer roster upgrade.