Carmelo Anthony came to New York to win, the prodigy who left Denver after his first seven years in the league to play in front of fans at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
But it hasn’t been easy for the 31-year-old Anthony, who realizes that his window is closing, and closing fast.
Unlike best friends LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul, Anthony does not play on a team that is in contention to win an NBA championship. Last year, they finished with a franchise-worst 65 losses, with Anthony being one of the very few bright spots on the team during Derek Fisher’s first and only full season as head coach.
He has expressed his concerns on numerous occasions throughout the season, yet keeping his thoughts about leaving the Knicks to himself when addressing the media. But he wants to win, and he wants to win now. His commitment to success isn’t really the problem, rather his supporting cast and management is pushing him back. And he knows that his window is closing rapidly.
He had the chance to sign with another team two years ago, Chicago in particular, but elected to remain in New York, signing a five-year, $124 million contract. But it hasn’t panned out.
“The only thing I think about is winning more. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, that’s the only thing I think about,” said Anthony during his exit interview, per the New York Daily News. “I haven’t thought about putting myself on another team. I haven’t thought about me on another team. I haven’t thought about any of that. My thought process is, ‘How can I make this situation better?’ What can we do to make this situation better? That’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”
After Fisher was fired in February, team President Phil Jackson selected assistant Kurt Rambis to fill the position on an interim basis. There have been talks that Rambis will remain the team’s head coach next year.
Now, there are ramblings that Anthony wants former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau as the man in charge.
So now it’s on Jackson to revive the franchise that hasn’t won a title since 1973, to give Anthony players he can actually form a team around. The acquisitions of Aaron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, and rookie standout Kristaps Porzingis in the offseason improved the roster, but it wasn’t playoff-caliber.
Anthony is clearly sending messages to Jackson. He has already stated that he wants to play a role in the Knicks’ coaching search this summer. He has a no-trade clause tied to his contract, but if the team continues to struggle, even with consistent play from the 9-time All-Star, it could be lifted.
For now, Anthony is here to stay. But it may not be for long if the Knicks can’t make reasonable strides going into next season.
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