There is no denying that New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony is one of the better players of this era. Anthony was the third overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets and as a rookie he averaged 21 points per game. For Anthony’s NBA career he has averaged 24.8 points per contest as he is a 10-time All-Star and a three-time gold medal winner with the United States Men’s Basketball team in the Summer Olympics. However an NBA Championship has alluded Anthony throughout his 14-year career and he has nobody to blame but himself.
Anthony entered the NBA as a member of the star studded rookie class that included Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James, Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade, and former Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh. Anthony had success with the Nuggets as each season in Denver saw him make the NBA Playoffs, but the team was only to advance past the first round once. And as the story was beginning to get stale for Anthony in Denver, he was seeking a way out, but he missed his best opportunity.
In 2006, Anthony signed a five-year extension with the Nuggets for $80 million. However when James, Wade, and Bosh, signed their extensions with the Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors respectively in 2006, they only signed three-year deals with an option for a fourth year. In 2010, James, Wade, and Bosh would all become free agents, and they shocked the basketball world when they decided to join forces in South Beach for the Heat. James really wanted to team up with Wade and Anthony who are his closest friends, but he would settle for Bosh. And after seeing this transpire Anthony would get himself out of Denver in 2011 as he was traded to the New York Knicks which would be the equivalent of reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Anthony would be given a hero’s welcome upon joining the Knicks as he helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in seven years. But whereas Anthony was simply able to help the Knicks reach the postseason, James and company were able to win back-to-back NBA Championships in 2012 and 2013. Prior to joining the Knicks in 2011, Anthony would sign a three-year extension with the Nuggets which set him up to become a free agent at the same time as Wade, James, and Bosh. But when James couldn’t get his way in Miami which included hoping to have Bosh sign with another team, he decided to return to Cleveland. After flirting with joining the Bulls, Anthony would ultimately re-sign with the Knicks to the tune of $124 million for five years. But one of the main factors in Anthony deciding to remain in New York was due to the fact that the Knicks were able to offer him more money than other NBA team. Anthony now has his money, but it hasn’t brought him any closer to winning a championship. And unless you’ve been locked away without any access to television or the internet, you see that the Knicks are an organization that is in complete disarray.
The Knicks have an owner in James Dolan who is now best known for having the team’s former starting power forward in Charles Oakley physically removed from Madison Square Garden earlier this month. Team president Phil Jackson has been unable to replicate the success that he had as a head coach in the NBA which saw him win 11 titles as his time in New York has been a complete disaster. All Jackson has done with the Knicks is to be stubborn about the team utilizing his beloved triangle offense, give out large contracts to aging players, and publicly criticize Anthony. Jackson’s public criticism of Anthony is his way of attempting to force the All-Star out of the door. But this would involve Anthony waving his full no-trade clause which was given to him by Jackson. And since that isn’t happening anytime soon, these two are stuck with each other.
The trade deadline in the NBA came and went last week without the Knicks making a move. Jackson would love to trade Anthony, but the only two teams that the small forward would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for are the Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers. However the Clippers don’t have the assets that the Knicks want, while the Cavaliers weren’t willing to make a straight up swap of Anthony for power forward Kevin Love which means that Anthony is stuck in basketball purgatory.
And now that James is in contention for his fourth NBA Championship, while Wade won three in Miami, and Bosh has two as he is currently semi-retired, Anthony can only count his millions. The Knicks paid Anthony, but with a record of 23-35 this season, New York will more be watching the playoffs from home for a fourth consecutive year. Anthony will be 33-years of age in May, and the clock is ticking on his chances to win a title as he flirting with being put into the category of great scorers who didn’t have what it took to win a title. Anthony does have the option to once again opt-out next summer. However Anthony would be passing up on nearly $28 million, but would he be willing to throw caution to the wind in order to take less money and be a part of a championship team?
Only time will tell if Anthony will ever get his chance to hoist the NBA Championship, but as time continues to tick away on his career, he has nobody to blame except himself for the predicament that he is currently in.
Sources: Sports-reference.com, Spotrac.com