We’re going to find out a lot about Carmelo Anthony this summer. Melo abandoned the Denver Nuggets back in 2011 with the sole intention of winning a championship, but since his arrival in New York, things haven’t exactly worked out. Now with the option to further pursue his dream, will he stay true to his word and find a better team to do it with? Will he take less to go play for a contender? Should Knicks fans be upset if he does?
There will be plenty of suitors lined up begging for Anthony services, but right now only a few are legitimate. For years, the Chicago Bulls have been one of the league’s better defensive teams, but especially without the services of Derrick Rose, their offense has left much to be desired. Melo can fill a gaping hole there, and by staying in the Eastern Conference, he’ll have a much easier road to the NBA Finals. Tom Thibodeau prefers hard-nosed, defensive-minded players, but there’s no doubt that he’d be willing to make an exception for a talent like Anthony.
The Houston Rockets have some work to do in able to get themselves financially involved in the conversation, but GM Daryl Morey seems confident in his ability to move Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, and their gargantuan contracts to free up enough space to add a third star next to Dwight Howard and James Harden. Heading out West isn’t ideal, but considering the Rockets started Terrence Jones at power forward for 71 games last season, you would have to think that Melo gets them to at least 60 wins, which would have made them a two-seed in the West this past season. There’s no better stretch four for Howard in the league than Anthony, who averaged 2.2 threes per game on 40 percent shooting from behind the arc last year. With the solid defensive duo in Howard and Patrick Beverly already in place, the Rockets could make a lot of noise with Harden and Melo handling things on the other side of the court.
Of course, there’s always the mystery teams involved. Mark Cuban must always be heard from, and Melo’s wish to play with Chris Paul hasn’t ceased since CP3′s unfulfilling toast at Amare Stoudemire’s wedding back in 2010. Teams like Cleveland will try to get involved, despite having little-to-no chance of landing a superstar anytime this decade, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that Pat Riley will do anything it takes to rip the hearts out of New Yorkers once again. However, when it’s all said and done, does it really matter if Anthony comes back to New York or not?
No matter how you swing it, the Knicks are going to be mired in a rebuild over the next couple season. Sure, having Melo would might secure a playoff spot next season, and his presence would absolutely speed up the overhaul, but unless he’s luring LeBron James in with him, the Knicks aren’t going to sniff a title in the near future.
New York needs to have an eye on what’s ahead, whether that includes the presence of one of the league’s best scorers or not. Losing Melo means more touches for guys like Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr., who desperately need the opportunity to develop their games. If the Knicks lost out on Melo and wound up with a lottery pick, a year of growth from their young guns, and a plethora of cap space headed in to next summer, would you really be that upset?
Melo’s going to do what’s best for him, and if he truly wants to win a championship, he won’t be in blue and orange next season. And really, that’s not all that bad of a thing.