Carmelo Anthony’s days in New York could be numbered. The Knicks publicly feuded with their star player this season and have lost 50+ games in three straight years. They’re going nowhere – and fast – and it might be time for Anthony to jump ship.
If only it were that easy.
“Well first off, if I am him, I am not accepting a trade,” ESPN reporter and author Brian Windhorst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “I am telling the Knicks that the only way I’m leaving here is if you outright release me. I’m not taking a buy-out. I’m not taking a penny less. I will you see on the first day of training camp. If you don’t want me to be there, you’ll call me back when you give me my outright release. He has all the cards here. There’s nothing that Phil Jackson can do. He can try to embarrass him, but the world is on Carmelo’s side here. Everybody is on Carmelo’s side here. And I would try to force the Knicks to release me if I were him.”
Anthony, who turns 33 in May, averaged 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Knicks (31-51), who missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. He is under contract for the next two seasons with cap hits of $26.2 million and $27.9 million, respectively, and has, of course, a no-trade clause.
“If you have to be used in a trade, it’s going to be very difficult to execute,” Windhorst said. “It’s going to be hard to put a trade together. It’s going to be hard to find a team that’s willing to meet the Knicks’ price, and invariably, every team that you’re going to go to will have weakened itself to trade for you. So I think the move here is for Carmelo to forget about The Great Gatsby; he should go Godfather and use the Michael Corleone: My offer is nothing and (then) get released. Then he can go sign with any team for any price, frankly, now that he’s getting paid by the Knicks for the next two years.”
Other teams are keenly aware of this. Jackson, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly been bashful about his desire to move Anthony, which will only drive down his trade value.
“You can forget the Cleveland Cavaliers, for example, ever trading Kevin Love for (Anthony),” Windhorst said. “That’s just not even going to happen. Forget about it. But if Carmelo is ever able to get himself out – and he could probably do that by staring Phil Jackson down and giving him an ultimatum – then he could sign with any team for the minimum contract. He could go sign with the Clippers for the minimum. He could sign with the Cavs for the minimum. He could sign with the Warriors for the minimum. I think that should be his M.O. for this summer.”