(CBS) Speculation surrounding the future of Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is reaching a fever pitcher in the aftermath of his team’s visit to the United Center on Sunday, which ended with New York getting run off the floor by Chicago and Anthony saying he was “embarrassed.”
Most of the talk has been about why Anthony should leave New York: Basically, if he picks the right situation — perhaps Chicago? — he sets himself up for winning coveted championships in the coming years. Well, money also talks too, and the Knicks can offer Anthony about $33 million more than any other team can, thanks to the collective bargaining agreement rules.
So if the Knicks offer Anthony a maximum contract, he will have plenty to think about.
But is it possible the Knicks, not Anthony, could be the one to end this relationship, the one to say no? Frank Isola of the New York Daily News makes one of the best cases yet for why that is the move to make for New York.
Some will protest, of course, that the Knicks would be losing a valuable asset without getting anything in return. That’s not entirely accurate. By not signing Anthony, the Knicks would clear valuable cap space one year before the contracts of Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani and Stoudemire come off the books. The Knicks even have a first-round pick in 2015. Cap space and a pick, imagine that. It really shouldn’t be a tough call. The risk would be re-signing Anthony to a max contract under the assumption that another big-name free agent joins the following summer. That is the Knicks’ plan at the moment, and they need to abandon it as quickly as the front office has turned its back on Mike Woodson.
Not only do you have to assume that Anthony stays relatively healthy, but you have to have faith in the Knicks finding the perfect complementary piece. Once upon a time they wanted (LeBron) James, dreamed about Chris Paul and in the end gave Stoudemire $100 million.