Entering the 2013-2014 season, many expected the New York Knicks to be a top contender for the Eastern Conference Championship. Led by all-star Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are currently 11 in the conference and are more than likely going to miss the playoffs.
With the talent of Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and J.R. Smith, how are they not winning? They clearly have an athletic roster, with one of the top scorers in the the league in Anthony, and one of the most dominant inside defensive players in Chandler.
According to a CBS interview Anthony stated, “It’s frustrating. it’s embarrassing. The outcomes of the game. Teams win and lose night in and night out, but just the way we’re not approaching from that standpoint with a winning attitude. The winning mentality is just not happening.”
Melo is currently in season 11 of his NBA career, and has yet to win an NBA Championship. At this point, he’s been an all-star several times, won a scoring title, been to the playoffs every season he’s played, but many people only care about rings.
When you compare the NBA’s greats, the first question is always pertaining to the number of championship rings they’ve won. Michael Jordan has six. Kobe Bryant has five. LeBron James has two. Melo has zero and looks to be on no path to get one.
The Knicks current record is 21-39 and are 6 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. Knicks tickets are not the hottest on the market, as it’s almost dreadful to watch such a talented team play so lousy. Game in and game out they are criticized, with nearly every post game interview asking what the problem is.
“It’s hard to keep coming up with excuses about why it continues to happen,” said Anthony.
Many fingers are pointed at the team’s star for the lack of the team’s success. That he takes too many shots, and can’t be a team player. His defense is also heavily criticized, he might be averaging 28.1 points per game this season, but gives up a good amount to the man he’s defending.
With all of the struggles and questions directed at the superstar and his ability to win, the biggest questions is: where will he be playing next season?
He will become a free agent at the end of the season, and with July right around the corner, free agent rumors are getting interesting. Expect the Knicks to offer him a new contract, paying much more than any other team. The Knicks can offer Melo a contract with seven percent raises, and can pay him around $130 million over five years. The most that any other team will be able to offer him is a four year deal around $95 million. So, it’s really a question of whether or not he is willing to take a pay cut to play for championship-contending team.
It has been speculated that if Melo does decide to stay in New York, he might be willing to accept a lower contract and not insist on the maximum offer. As for the future of the Knicks, they do not have their pick in this year’s draft and probably won’t have a high pick in any of the next three drafts. They also will not have money to sign another superstar to play alongside Melo until after the 2014-15 season.
A heavy contender for the star’s services will be the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls are team that has been plagued by injuries, but have a team that can really compete. The only area they are lacking in is offense, which has always been Melo’s strength.
The Los Angeles Lakers are another team that is expected to bid on the former scoring champ. The Lakers are looking to rebuild this Summer after what’s been an outlier season for the franchise. Kobe Bryant alongside Carmelo Anthony would make quite an offensive threat.
This will be Melo’s last few months wearing a Knicks uniform. All you have to do is watch one of their games to understand how frustrated he is on the court, and how much joylessness he’s playing with. He is one of the best players in the NBA, and if he chooses to stay in New York then I think he’s thinking more about his lifestyle than his professional career. Of course being the star in New York has its perks, but he’s not going to get to the Finals there. He’ll realize this come July, and will team up with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to form championship contending team in Chicago for next season.