New York Knicks fans, brace yourself. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Then make sure you're sitting down before reading any further.
I want to be a free agent. I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.
'Melo's impending foray into free agency has been the subject of much discussion throughout the offseason.
Will he decide to stay in New York for the foreseeable future? Will he opt out and hit the open market? Could he—gasp—join the Los Angeles Lakers, putting on a purple-and-gold jersey that would incite plenty of boos?
It's sure to be a hot-button issue throughout the 2013-14 campaign, even as the Knicks keep pace in the Eastern Conference and remain a legitimate part of the title chase. Especially now that the world knows where Anthony stands on the issue.
But what does this actually mean? Should we start spewing out doom and gloom for the Knicks?
Nope, definitely not.
Last I checked, it was possible to opt out of a contract and then re-sign for a longer deal with the very same team. Becoming a free agent doesn't mean that 'Melo is going to find a new home, and New York fans should be all too familiar with that process. Remember, J.R. Smith opted out of a deal and then re-signed with the Knicks during the 2013 offseason.
Anthony continued speaking after his proclamation:
I came to New York for a reason. I’ve been with you all my life, almost to a fault. I wanted to come here and take on the pressures of playing in New York. So one thing I would tell my fans: If you haven’t heard it from me, then it ain’t true.
See? Nothing to worry about yet. Anthony is still focused on the coming season, and that won't change unless the Knicks drop out of contention.
If B/R's Zach Buckley is correct, there's nothing to worry about. He predicts that the Knicks' ceiling could reach "all the way into June" if everything goes according to plan and that they won't fall below the No. 5 seed in the East.
Let's keep the focus on that title quest for now, even if 'Melo has stated he wants to become a free agent. Remember, there's a difference between hitting the open market and taking advantage of it.
For now, Anthony is still the top player on the Knicks, and he will be for quite some time.