This won’t the last time we write about this, and it’s certainly not the first, but Stephen A. Smith, in another bit of prevarication this morning on ESPN’s First Take, says that unnamed sources are telling him Carmelo Anthony is still gone this summer in free agency. This comes the morning before Phil Jackson was announced as the new president of basketball operations for the Knicks and ‘Melo’s own excitement at the news. We’re pretty sure we’re going to be writing about ‘Melo’s free agency 50 years from now.
Here are Smith’s comments, by way of Bleacher Report:
“I was told this last week, I was told a few days ago, I had it reiterated to me by somebody I trust yet again this morning, that Carmelo Anthony is gone, he is leaving New York City. There are those like myself who still hold up the possibility that that may not be true (…) but for what I’m being told, he is gone. And he is gone because he’s at the mindset that in order to achieve any amount of success he would had to sacrifice not just this year but next year as well, because of this current roster.”
So, um, yeah. We’ve written extensively about Melo’s excitement towards his impending free agency. Throughout his career, he’s always just signed an extension and hasn’t gotten the red carpet treatment some of his peers â€” LeBron, Wade, Dwight, etc â€” have received when they were courted by teams as free agents. So he’s definitely opting out. The only question is whether he’ll re-sign in New York for the extra year and $33 million, or â€” because Phil convinces him he’ll get the team and Melo some help to compete for a title â€” he re-signs under the guise of winning, rather than money. Remember, the perception is often more important than the reality, and the reality is that $33 million in ‘Melo’s last big deal is hard to turn down.
But, according to Smith, maybe the monetary advantages of signing in New York are overruled by his burning desire to win a ring, and even with the Zen Master levitating above the MSG court, he doesn’t think there’s any way the team is in title contention until, at least, the 2015-16 season. Title-contending personnel certainly isn’t currently on the court for the Knicks, despite a recent six-game winning streak that has them grasping at the final playoff spot in the East. But can Phil convince him? Will the money? According to Smith, it’s still not enough to keep him around, but we won’t really know until July 1, when Melo opts out and starts the courting carousel he’s been waiting a long while to experience.
(First Take quote via B/R)
For the umpteenth time: does ‘Melo stay or go this summer?
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