For much of the 2016-17 season, the writing was on the wall that Carmelo Anthony’s tenure with the New York Knicks was nearing an end. That notion was finally confirmed on Friday afternoon, as team president Phil Jackson made it crystal clear that the organization was looking to move on from Anthony, according to ESPN.
“We’ve not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time,” Jackson said. “I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”
It didn’t take long for Anthony to respond to Jackson’s latest comments concerning his future in New York as he took to Twitter to voice his reaction.
— Carmelo Anthony (@carmeloanthony) April 14, 2017
Up to this point, there had been several subtle hints that Jackson had his eyes fixated on parting ways with Carmelo Anthony, ranging from cryptic tweets, to public jabs through the media at the 10-time All-Star. It’s a situation that grew more strained with each passing week, as Anthony’s name was consistently linked to trade rumors through to the deadline in mid-February.
This persistent chatter regarding Anthony’s future has become a tiresome subject and major distraction for not only the star, but also his teammates and the organization. It has progressed to the point where Anthony has officially caved into the belief that he could be dealt by the Knicks over the offseason, according to Syracuse.
“They might,” he said after the Knicks’ season finale Wednesday. “They might.”
In fact, Carmelo Anthony’s fate appeared to be set in stone when it was reported on Thursday that the Knicks had decided to pick up the final two years of Jackson’s contract. This comes shortly after New York finished up their third straight campaign with 50-plus losses, while compiling an 80-166 record all under Jackson’s watch.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony is entering the fourth year of his five-year, $124 million deal that will pay him $26 million next season and holds a player option worth $27.9 million for the 2018-19 season. Although Anthony possesses a no-trade clause in his contract, there is a wide belief that he will waive it if the Knicks present him a feasible landing spot.
With that in mind, the Los Angeles Clippers could re-enter the picture for Anthony. The Clippers were the most serious team in trade talks leading up to last season’s trade deadline, but were unable to work out a deal. Prior to this recent development, there was already the building assumption that Los Angeles would jump back into the mix at some point during the summer.
Carmelo Anthony has proven to still be a highly productive player on the court this past season, averaging a team-best 22.4 points with 5.9 rebounds per game. Anthony led the Knicks in scoring 43 times while notching 20-plus points on 45 occasions and 30-plus points 15 times.
This included Anthony becoming the third player in NBA history to score at least 10,000 points with two different franchises, along with being one of five players who has averaged 20 or more points while playing at least 40 games in each of his first 13 seasons in the league. Anthony is also now one of six players to record at least 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals, and 1,000 made 3-pointers.
Although Carmelo Anthony is an elite player in the NBA, the Knicks have struggled to reach any significant level of success with him leading the way to making the playoffs just three times in six-and-a-half seasons.
All in all, Jackson has made it clear that New York is headed toward some tough rebuilding seasons ahead that would waste the remaining productive years that Anthony has left to chase an NBA title. This only makes trading Carmelo Anthony the right business move that would best work out for both sides.
[Featured Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Photo]