Of course the most intriguing issue surrounding the Knicks these days is the future of Carmelo Anthony.
Here’s a pro-and-con, devil’s advocate summary of the reasons — from the respective points of view of both Melo and the Knicks — why both of these options make sense.
WHY MELO SHOULD STAY
- He and his wife La La love living in New York. This is totally understandable given the constant, and wide, variety of cultural attractions, media connections and brand-amplifying possibilities available in the Big Apple. Especially for a national celebrity with money to burn.
- This is his sixth season living and working in the city where he was born and mostly raised, so he feels incredibly comfortable there.
- Melo is still a dynamic go-to scorer. Although he doesn’t post up as much as he used to he can always create a good shot on his often spectacular and resourceful one-on-one moves.
- He’s the highly recognizable face of the franchise.
- Melo sincerely wants to be “The Man,” and be a prime mover in the team’s return to glory.
- The Knicks have a locker room full of good people who support him through these troubled times.
- Madison Square Garden is always filled to the rafters with enthusiastic fans who are eagerly waiting for good things to happen.
WHY MELO SHOULD LEAVE
- Many published reports claim that several unnamed individuals in the team’s front office want him traded.
- When Melo says that he’s “numb” to Phil Jackson, and upon hearing these reports, he says that he’s only playing for his teammates. This is an indication of just how isolated he feels.
- The New York media has always been cynical and probing, looking to exacerbate even the slightest hint of discontent in any of the local teams. And they all have their sights set on everything Melo does and says. The pressure, then, has to be distracting and exhausting.
- He’ll be 33 in May and should be understandably wary of spending what’s left of his peak years on a team that needs to commit to a rebuilding process.
- With the Knicks in such disarray, there doesn’t seem much of an attractive future for him in New York.
- It’s likewise understandable that he’d like to play for a team that’s a legitimate championship contender.
- Lately, he’s been playing more and more time at the power forward position. With his diminished bounce, this is a good fit. However, having to bang with bigger stronger opponents will accelerate the breaking down of his already somewhat vulnerable body.
- He was publicly chastised by Jackson for holding the ball too long before making his move. This tendency breaks down any semblance of a quick-footed, ball-sharing offense. As such, Melo’s adhesive hands greatly inhibit the development of the team’s young players.
- His poor defense also takes its toll.
- Melo’s lack of late-game production in the team’s most recent painful defeats has to frustrate him to the max.
- As the losses pile up, many of the fans and the media place the blame squarely on him. As Walt Frazier recently said, the same thing happened to him and Willis Reed whenever the Knicks struggled. But this kind of blame game is routine in New York. It’s why New York is the best place to win and the worst place to lose.
- At this stage in his career, Melo might thrive as being the second or even third option for a championship-caliber team.
- How much longer can he stand being in the center of so much drama?
Far from making any suggestions, I’m merely trying to enumerate why whatever happens will likely happen.
And I should re-state for the record that these are my ideas, my opinions and have nothing to do with whatever Phil Jackson might or might not be thinking. I have NEVER acted as a mouthpiece for Jackson, and that remains the case here.