After suffering through years of an unhealthy working relationship, the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony finally separated in September when Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. While Anthony’s time in Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook and Paul George hasn’t quite produced the next NBA super team they had hoped for, the drama that came with New York largely stayed in New York.
The Thunder will be in New York on Saturday to play the Knicks, marking Anthony’s first time playing at Madison Square Garden since he was shipped out, leaving NBA fans in New York and beyond curious about the kind of reception he’ll receive in his NYC return.
Anthony’s tenure in New York was complicated, to say the least. It’s hard to classify Melo’s time as a Knick as anything other than a failure, but the next question is, how much of that failure was Carmelo Anthony’s fault? Universally-hated James Dolan is still the owner, after all, and while Phil Jackson is no longer in the Knicks’ front office, he certainly contributed towards their dysfunction and failure.
Will Knicks fan boo Anthony in his return? Will Knicks fans genuinely cheer Anthony? Will Knicks fans cheer Anthony just because the alternative might make James Dolan feel like the hero? Nothing is off the table.