“I don’t expect to win a championship this year.” – Carmelo Anthony
Well, that about wraps that one up…
In an offseason where Melo’s top priority was winning, he chose to re-sign with the New York Knicks, whom he believes has no shot at winning this upcoming season. Makes sense, right?
And while the Chicago Bulls certainly offered Anthony the best opportunity to be, perhaps, the odds-on favorite to get that elusive championship and win NOW, it’s clear Anthony’s idea of winning is a long-term plan.
To be fair, there are certainly other things at play.
For one, $40-$50 million would create pause in anyone’s decision. To jump ship and head to the Windy City, Anthony would have left behind his home and a sizable chunk of dough on the kitchen table of that home.
Also, Melo and his wife like the bright lights and appeal of the Big Apple. Sure, Chicago ain’t nothing to shake a stick at, but New York is THE big city. That can be tough to leave.
And even the staunchest Bulls supporters (myself included) who know what kind of success the team could have with Anthony in red and white next season can’t argue with the track record that a certain new Knicks president, Phil Jackson, has accumulated. The guy is a proven winner and Bulls fans know that as much as anybody. So, Anthony’s got one of the game’s all-time great minds in his corner making decisions at the top.
Which makes the summer of 2015 essential for Anthony’s quest to win, and win big.
The Knicks must find a way to take the expiring of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and others that could create roughly $30+ million in cap space next summer and turn it into a max-level sidekick for Anthony. Be it Marc Gasol (perfect for the triangle offense), Rajon Rondo (again, great facilitator for the triangle) or someone else, the list of free agents next offseason is long on talent.
If the Knicks can find a legit running mate for Anthony and surround them with enough talent, Madison Square Garden may once again be the source of playoff basketball games again.
Going to Chicago would have guaranteed Carmelo deep playoff runs for the next few years, effective immediately. There is no guarantee of that in New York, especially this season.
So, Melo’s decision was not just about winning…and that’s fine. Just tell us that. Don’t hide behind the facade of winning is the only thing that matters.
Sure, everybody wants to win. But, Carmelo also wanted the most money.
And he’s hoping the moolah and the combination of Jackson and being on the big stage will attract someone(s) else to come aboard in hopes of being able to compete with the elite teams.
He had the foolproof plan with the Bulls. If the plan he’s masterminded doesn’t unfold the way he hopes, he may rue the day he turned his back on Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the rest of the Bulls in what seemed liked a match made in heaven.