It seems like every year around this time I write a piece either defending or admonishing Carmelo Anthony. One year he’s the guy who can’t win the big game. The next year he’s the guy whose GMs have failed him. At this point, you think we’d know, but that’s the crazy thing; after 13 years in the NBA, Melo’s lack of success is still a mystery.
That’s why I want to see him on a team with other All-Star players. I want to see him traded to a team like Cleveland, Houston, or even Oklahoma City. Let’s see what he can do when he has some talent to work with and find out once and for all if he can win the big game.
Sorry to break it to Knicks fans, but despite Derrick Rose’s assertion, the Knicks are not a “Super Team.” They are a barely a playoff team. And yes, I realize Carmelo has played with Chauncey Billups, and Jason Kidd. Well, guess what, when he played with those guys he advanced to the Conference Finals and Semi-Finals respectively. Beyond that, he’s been saddled with a neverending rotation of has-beens and never weres, thanks to front-office ineptitude in both Denver and New York.
In fact, Melo has only had a teammate in the All-Star game 6 times. Tyson Chandler in 2013, Amare Stoudemire in 2011 (that didn’t last long), and Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson (twice a piece and both well passed their primes).
Sure, Carmelo has earned some of the blame. After all, demanding a trade from Denver to NY, instead of waiting to sign as a free agent forced the Knicks to trade their young studs, and weakened Carmelo’s own chances to win in the process. Talk about self-sabotage!
And yes, he has been a ball stopper in the past, but he’s also proven that he can play within the team concept. He did it with Kidd and Billups, he co-existed with Allen Iverson, more or less, and he’s thrived in Olympic play.
Granted the Olympics is a different experience than the NBA, but the point is that by all accounts Carmelo is an excellent teammate and leader. This isn’t a Kobe Bryant ball hog/teammate abuse situation. Carmelo has been stuck on terrible teams for his entire career, and he doesn’t deserve it.
He has been a valiant warrior for the Knicks. He won’t leave on his own accord. He’s committed to the cause, even if it’s a one-way ticket to the lottery. That’s why the Knicks need to trade him. I don’t believe they owe it to him (they have paid him enough to never owe him a single thing) but as a fan since the Orange days, I want him to get his ring.
It’s no secret stars need other stars to win. Jordan needed Pippen. Duncan need Ginobli and Parker. LeBron needed Wade, and later Kyrie.
If Kevin Durant can choose Golden State, Carmelo should go to Cleveland. Wouldn’t that even things out? And how much fun would that be?
LeBron and Carmelo go way, way back, and everyone knows they are friends. They also complement each other as players. Carmelo is a better shooter than people give him credit for, which is why Paul Pierce called him the toughest player he’s ever had to guard.
Kyrie and LeBron can attack, and Carmelo can do what Kevin Love was supposed to do, stretch the floor. And unlike Love, if LeBron is off, tired, or in facilitator mode, Melo is very capable of shouldering the offensive load. He would give the Cavs the firepower they need to go up and down the court with the revamped Warriors. It’s a no brainer for the Cavs, and if Rose gets injured, the Knicks just might be willing to let go of their star to start the rebuild they’ve needed for a while.
I realize this is wishful thinking, and he may just be destined to overtake Dominique Wilkins as the highest scoring player in the league history without even a trip to the NBA Finals. But, I’m going to hold out hope that Melo will get his moment. He’s earned it.