The New York Knicks are suffering through one of their most disappointing seasons in a few years, and their future looks even more tenuous. Carmelo Anthony isn’t even a free agent yet, but the rumors have already started about what his decision will be this summer when he can opt-out of the final year of his Knicks deal, which would pay him $23 million, to look for a longer-term deal in free agency. Now comes word from an unnamed former teammate that ‘Melo is leaving the Knicks despite their ability to add $30 million and an extra year on his deal.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports:
Carmelo Anthony’s former teammate needed just a few seconds to ponder the question and deliver a definitive answer.
“I think he’s leaving. I’ve played with Melo for a long time and he knows he can’t win here. At this stage, all he wants to do is win. That’s why he’ll leave.”
Anthony’s former teammate, who requested anonymity, echoed the thoughts of several people close to Anthony who believe he’s ready to leave.
The impetus to leave would have to fall on that desire since under the collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks can offer ‘Melo an additional $30 million, and a fifth year on his deal, which would pay him through his 34th birthday.
Marc Berman at the New York Post adds that Anthony’s fear of turning into a pariah in New York, similar to Stephon Marbury, could sway his decision:
There are valid reasons why Anthony might decide 2014 will be his last calendar year as a Knick, with the club crashing and burning.
On Christmas, Stephon Marbury sat four rows behind the Knicks’ bench â€” his first visit to the Garden in three years.
Anthony sat on the bench in a brown suit, missing his first game with a sprained left ankle. Marbury and Anthony are products of Brooklyn â€” Coney Island and Red Hook, respectively. Marbury became such a pariah among Knicks fans the Garden didn’t have the heart last week to put him on the scoreboard for a “once-aâ€“Knick-always-a-Knick” introduction.
“He saw Marbury get heckled by some fans on Christmas,” one source told The Post. “He doesn’t want to be the next Marbury. He’s very sensitive.”
As for that sensitivity, Berman brings up Melo’s response on Twitter earlier this week, where he responded to a fan critical of his time in New York, by writing, “I didn’t ask for your glazed donut face ass to root for me anyway!!!!”
The Tweet has since been taken down, but it shows how frustrated Anthony has become in a year when the Knicks were supposed to again compete in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but have sunk to a 9-21 start following an injury to Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith‘s inability to get back on track after offseason knee surgery.
Anthony is returning to the lineup after an ankle sprain kept him out of their last three games, and his return couldn’t come at a better time for a Knicks team set to embark on the agonizing Texas Triangle road trip, facing off against first San Antonio tonight and then Houston and Dallas over the next three nights. But it’s Anthony’s future that has many wondering, and if the Knicks continue to slide, that future might not involve the Big Apple.