The recent news about Carmelo Anthony and whether or not he should be traded is the latest chapter in the manipulation story that gets glossed over because Anthony is the New York Knicks best player with no real options in sight.
But enter the courtroom and recall the conversation between Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise in a “Few Good Men” in which Jack tells Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth.” Neither can the Knicks who are in serious denial if they think Anthony will ever drop his no-trade clause unless it benefits him solely.
That is how it always been since he was traded for in a deal with the Denver Nuggets in 2011. Think hard and remember the circumstances. The Knicks were prepared to acquire him via free agency in a year, but with the threat of a salary cap reduction Carmelo pushed the Knicks into trading for him that year and gutted a young team that was flawed but electrifying. One that would have been interesting with Carmelo. The Knicks got Anthony with Chauncey Billups and gave up Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov along with several draft picks. They made the playoffs but with Carmelo alone, they were swept by the Boston Celtics in four straight.
The second season in the Anthony era would have been a lost season as he missed eleven games early on and the Knicks were lifeless until Jeremy Lin brought two weeks of superstar play to revive the Knicks with “Linsanity.” But when Carmelo came back the chemistry was not there and coach Mike D’Antoni was the fall guy as Mike Woodson took over leading them to a strong 18-6 finish. But with Lin injured the Knicks fell in five to the Miami Heat. Lin would not come back as he saw the writing on the wall.
The 2012-13 season was the high watershed mark in the Anthony era to date which was aided tremendously by acquiring veterans Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas. They also brought back Felton Spencer which took a lot of pressure off of Carmelo’s shoulders. They won their first playoff series since 2000 against Boston but when all the veterans were injured before the playoffs the Knicks fell in the second round to Indiana in six. The lasting images were his desire to be a point-forward in the Celtic series which nearly cost them the clinching game six and “the block” that Roy Hibbert put on an Anthony dunk attempt in game six that changed momentum.
Carmelo in his walk year of 2013-14 does it all averaging 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists and then proceeds to inform the Knicks that he wants to opt out of his contract to test the waters and see what it feels like leaving the Knicks in limbo.
The Knicks in essence bid against themselves re-signing Carmelo to a five-year contract that essentially took them out of the running to get supporting players. Anthony did not even finish the season as he underwent knee surgery in February mailing it in. After failing to win with young talents Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to Cleveland, LeBron James wins with them making the last two NBA Finals and winning it all in 2015-16.
The Knicks get nothing special back and have been nothing to write until Phil Jackson in desperation finally gave Carmelo the weapons to work with. By obtaining Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings and drafting Kristaps Porzingis the year before, morale was high for this season.
But now the wheels have come off after a promising start and now Carmelo is open to be traded teasing the Knicks which now leaves an uncertainty as this unit was assembled in good faith for Anthony putting the balance of this season in peril.
When Jackson made remarks about LeBron James earlier this season he took his side over the team. The Knicks cannot deal him if they can and are limited in their choices because of the his no-trade clause. The Knicks have done nothing but bend over backwards for a glorified one-trick pony who has never returned the favor. And the narrative never changes.