I’m tired of Carmelo Anthony on the New York Knicks. For a brief moment, when Melo joked about preferring natural herbs to suspended teammate Joakim Noah’s performance-enhancing substance of choice earlier this week, they were fun. For the most part, though, they’ve been exhausting all season.
There was Phil Jackson publicly chiding the 10-time All-Star in December for holding the ball too long, Anthony telling reporters in January he’d like to have a conversation with the Knicks president, Jackson tweeting in early February “you don’t change the spot on a leopard” in reference to the man to whom he gave a max contract’s will to win, and Anthony steeling his resolve to stay in New York at the trade deadline in response, then vociferously questioning Jackson’s vision for the team’s future.
It’s obvious to anyone who’s not yet tuned them out that Anthony would like to play for a Knicks team not led by Jackson and Jackson would like to run a Knicks team not led by Anthony. Unfortunately, because Jackson and Anthony are both in the middle of laughable five-year contracts worth $60 million and $124 million, respectively, neither of them are about to walk away from that kind of dough.
So, now what? Well, either Jackson is fired, which seems unlikely under the ownership of fellow stumblebum James Dolan, or Anthony waives his no-trade clause and the Knicks deal him for pennies on the dollar, which seems increasingly likely. There’s a couple more options, too: Put up or shut up.
All of which brings us to the latest chapter of Anthony’s extremely public feud with the Knicks brass. Following a loss to Miami in which he went scoreless for the first half, “Let’s go Heat!” chants echoed through Madison Square Garden and the Knicks were mercifully eliminated from the playoffs, Melo offered several more assessments of his current predicament as overpaid player on underachieving team, ranging from, “I don’t know my role to be honest,” to, “I see the writing on the wall.”
“I don’t know my role to be honest,” Anthony, who scored nine points in 29 minutes, said. “I’m just here to help those guys and keep those guys kind of positive and motivated.”
When asked to elaborate, Anthony said, “At this point I think my role is to be there for those guys during this time. Help them along the way. In a game or in practice and in a lot of other ways just to be there for them.”
“I don’t think me going out there trying to score 30 or 40 every night, playing that way, is going to help them out,” he continued. “For them, I think at this point it’s just getting the experience and letting them go out there and play and do that right now.”
I mean, it sounds like you do know your role, Carmelo, because you just described it to a tee. When you’re the 32-year-old star whose albatross of a contract stands between the current hopeless situation and a rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis, damn right the expectation is you’ll give the young’uns room to grow once you’ve failed to lead them to the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
Then, later in the same conversation with reporters, Melo said this, via the New York Post, of getting just two shots in a scoreless first half: “It doesn’t do me any good, doesn’t do the team any good.”
Dude, you just contradicted yourself from five minutes ago. The exchange also turned up this gem:
“It’s difficult,” added Anthony, via the Post. “It’s hard to change a player’s game in the ninth inning. I am who I am. I got here all these years playing the way I’ve been playing. It’s hard to take that step back. It’s challenging. I think it’s for the greater good of everybody on this team.”
Wait, what? That’s almost exactly Jackson’s “you don’t change the spot on a leopard” comment, the same one that reportedly had Anthony so worked up he would consider remaining with the franchise just to spite the team president. At least they agree on something. But are we really going to be doing this public Abbott and Costello routine in New York for two more years? They’re making a mockery of one of the NBA’s signature franchises over a disagreement that might actually be an agreement — all of which might be solved if they would actually converse, with each other, without the media present.
This has to end. Somebody’s gotta go. And based on a cryptic comment from Anthony in his postgame media session, there appears to be some part of him that understands, if there’s to be a resolution to this mess, he will either have to waive his no-trade clause or accept a more limited role on the team.
A post shared by Ball Don't Lie (@yahooballdontlie) on Mar 30, 2017 at 10:23am PDT
“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” said Melo, via ESPN.com. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”
This is good. This is progress, methinks. We might be inching closer to closing this book, which is nice, because I’m tired. And I should be clear: I like Melo as a player, and I would love to see what he’s capable of with the right teammates around him, but there’s no chance that’s happening in New York.
Likewise, none of Melo’s issues excuse Jackson’s actions(!), and the Knicks should have no faith he can reconstruct a roster around Porzingis, this year’s high lottery pick, whatever they might get in a Melo trade and a boatload of cap space this summer. The writing’s on the wall for the Zen Master, too.
May the 2016-17 New York Knicks rest in peace.
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