I’m not saying it’s a good fit. I’m not saying it’s a good move for the Knicks. I’m also not saying it’s a good move for Carmelo. I’m not saying it would result in anything beyond a first round playoff exit at best. But, I am indeed saying that nothing would bring interest back to the Knicks more than the return of Carmelo Anthony, the best player the Knicks had over the past 20 years.
In an ideal world, Carmelo would stay in Portland. And frankly, he still might. But his role would be entirely different with a bunch of injured players coming back. Lost in the hoopla of Melo’s return to a formidable NBA scorer last season, was the fact that 4 of the Blazers’ big men missed significant time, opening up the opportunity for Anthony. He made the most of his chance, but it’s not likely to repeat itself.
So the choice becomes remain in Portland as a mentor, playing sporadic minutes and sometimes not playing at all, or seek another opportunity.
Let’s be honest, as much as we all enjoyed Melo’s run in Portland and his return to relevance, he’s not the answer most teams are looking for in today’s high-efficiency NBA. If he wants to make a mark in the box score he’s going to end up on a losing team. Hello, New York!
And yes, the Knicks are rebuilding and trying to build a “culture.” So you may ask, why would they even want him back.
Well, if the rumors are true and the Knicks can land either Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook via trade, that changes the make-up in NY. If they get either of those guys (and I do realize the Knicks’ track record of landing stars recently has been anemic) then they need to add a veteran like Carmelo. The young guys alone won’t help either CP3 or Westbrook get to the postseason, which immediately becomes the goal with either one of those guys on the roster.
But, you add Carmelo in a 25 minutes per game, 15 points per game, mentor role, and all of a sudden, you are looking at a playoff team, especially in the lowly Eastern Conference. Don’t forget, new head coach Tom Thibodeau isn’t exactly known for his coddling of young players. Melo has proven in Portland that he can be that guy a coach needs to bridge the gap between him and the players.
That’s the logical reasoning. Whether or not it’s actually logical or not, that’s to be determined. But it’d be a proper ending to Carmelo’s career, right?
I’ve waxed poetically about Carmelo too many times to recap everything here. Besides, this is a Syracuse website so we all feel the same way, right?
But he deserves this. Our Carmelo should return to the place that made him a King. Yes, he was a King that never actually wore the crown. Didn’t even get close really, but still…when his star shined bright on Broadway, none other ever shined as bright.
So just like Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade, and Scottie Pippen before him, Carmelo should retire with the team that we all remember him by. Carmelo and the Knicks need each other. The only time either has been relevant in the past 15 years was when they were together.
If 2020 has its way it won’t happen. But here’s to wishful thinking, hopes and dreams, and one last hurrah for Carmelo Anthony in New York.