Tuesday 25th June 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Stephen A. Smith Thinks ‘Melo Will Leave Knicks

USATSI

Welp.

New York Knicks fans weren’t supposed to be worried about Carmelo Anthony leaving. Why would he? He loves New York. The city has endless marketing opportunities. The Knicks have $129 million with his name on it. ‘Melo is the only player an alcohol-basted James Dolan would jump through a ring of fire for. He’s not going anywhere.

Or so we thought.

Speaking on the Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, Smith said that he’s hearing Anthony is “gone” from the team this summer.

Here’s the transcription of what Smith said:

Do you know what I’ve heard over the last 24 hours? Carmelo Anthony is gone. Ain’t no way in hell he’s staying here [New York]. Ain’t no way in hell he’s staying here. I’m hearing ‘This is it. He’s out.’ Unless the money disappears elsewhere, because he definitely wants to get paid, he’s not trying to stay here for this. He’s not trying to stay here for this. So if you’re [general manager] Steve Mills, and you’re the Knicks brain trust, you have to do something to resurrect this stuff.

Uh-oh.

It was always just assumed Anthony would re-sign with the Knicks, who can offer him a five-year contract worth $129 million. Absence of a title this season wouldn’t compel him to leave for the Los Angeles Lakers or a team in a smaller market, like the Cleveland Cavaliers. New York is where he would stay.

That, of course, could still be true. The most other teams can offer ‘Melo is four years and roughly $96 million. Anthony has never given off the impression he would accept a pay cut to chase titles, so it’s difficult to imagine him walking away from that extra $30-plus million.

But that doesn’t mean what Smith’s hearing is wrong. Hell, with the Knicks dwelling near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, and at the bottom of the Atlantic Division, chances are he’s right to some extent. In the heat of the moment or one of the Knicks’ many losses, Anthony could have expressed private frustration, telling confidants that he’s done (if that’s the case, he’ll want to watch who he’s sharing secrets with these days).

Is that really so hard to believe? That ‘Melo would leave these Knicks? These God-awful, offensively inept Knicks? Absolutely not. I do, however, find it hard to believe that Anthony has made his decision already, less than 20 games into the season. The Knicks could still turn it around. The Atlantic Division isn’t out of reach. The playoffs aren’t out of reach. Not right now.

If he’s resigned to leaving already, this is a decision he made long ago, before the season even started. And it would mean that everything the Knicks have done for ‘Melo, would be for naught.

Here’s more from Smith:

Now, CAA will give the impression that they can influence Carmelo’s decision. Let me assure America of one thing; let me assure New York of one thing: CAA does not run Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony is his own man, and Carmelo Anthony is going to make his own decisions. If Carmelo Anthony elects to stay, if there’s any truth to the rumors that he’s gone, it will be his decision. It will not be CAA’s. Carmelo Anthony is making this call.

Crap. Double crap. Triple crap.

The Knicks have gone to great lengths to appease CAA, clearly hoping they could impact ‘Melo’s decision. If they cannot, and ‘Melo just goes by wins and losses, things aren’t looking good…now. Again, all this could change. This might not even be true. It’s still so early.

Anthony himself has also denied this report, citing these allegations as false.

But that doesn’t give the Knicks license to dawdle. They must do something if they wish to keep Anthony. What that something is, we don’t know. We don’t even know if they can do anything. Devoid of tradeable assets and imminent cap space, the second superstar the Knicks and ‘Melo need doesn’t appear to be on the way. And if that doesn’t change, the Knicks run a real risk of losing ‘Melo.

If that doesn’t change, Anthony could, in fact, be gone.

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.

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