In an interview with Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Smith admitted that there was no timetable behind his return from left patella tendon surgery. But because he didn’t want to be completely emo in his assessment of the future, Smith also said that he doesn’t think Anthony will bolt to sign elsewhere next summer.
“I don’t see him leaving, but I said that same thing in Denver so, like I said, it’s up to him,” Smith explained.
Alright, so maybe that’s not the greatest vote of confidence. Or even a display of optimism at all.
Smith doesn’t see him leaving, which for the casual fan who tricks themselves into believing JR is ‘Melo’s all-knowing crystal ball, is great. But he also thought the same thing while the two were with the Denver Nuggets. Look how that
blew up in everyone’s face turned out.
To Smith’s credit, he’s covering all his bases this time around. Or rather, he’s not making any guarantees that would send the New York Knicks fanbase into an optimistic frenzy. Nor is he letting himself get caught up in this edition of Melodrama.
“I’ve had that worry from when we were in Denver and it was nerve-wracking all season,” Smith said. “So this season I’m not even going to focus on it, I’m not going to let it get to me. I’m just going to go out there and play my game and whatever his choice is, his choice is at the end of the day.”
The more you read Smith’s take on ‘Melo’s impending free agency, the less encouraged you are. Advocates of actual basketball hate the hemming and hawing that comes with these season-long nightmares. The constant dissecting of futures, incessant rumors—all of it is like a Dwight Howard haven.
If you’re like me, you just want to know. Will Anthony re-sign with the consistently underachieving Knicks, or will he take his bully ball West to the Los Angeles Lakers? Or will he go elsewhere? Questions such as those will dominate headlines during the 2013-14 season, some of which will be accompanied by notorious anonymous sources claiming they know what ‘Melo will do next.
Before you get caught up in the current hype and the hoopla that has yet to come, let me save you some time, headaches and self-dignity: Not even Anthony knows what he’ll do. He’s basically a year away from having to make that decision and there’s no way he’s made it already. I don’t believe LeBron James actually made his decision to spurn the Cleveland Cavaliers until he was handed another premature playoff exit. Anthony is no different. He won’t settle on where he’s going until New York’s season unfolds.
Which means the only guarantee is ‘Melo will eventually have a decision to make. That is, unless the Knicks win a title. A championship stands to take all the uncertainty out of the equation. And for what it’s worth, a ring is something Smith is prepared to guarantee.
Asked how sure he was that the Knicks would end their title drought this coming season, Smith responded with the sort of bravado that was missing from his Anthony evaluation.
“I’m 100 percent sure,” he declared, as quoted by the New York Post‘s Marc Berman.
Just so we’re clear, Smith is prepared to guarantee a 40-year championship-less streak is coming to an end, but can only venture an outside guess as to where ‘Melo, a self-proclaimed New Yorker (from Baltimore) will end up next summer. OK then. That totally makes sense, except you know, it doesn’t.
Seems to me New York’s season is already shaping up to be one hell of a confusing ride.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.