If you've paid any attention to the NBA over the last few months—and New York’s seemingly endless woes in particular—chances are your answer is a resounding “yes.”
And rightly so: At 21-37 and a full 5.5 games back of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, the Knicks have clearly betrayed the promise that was portended by last year’s success.
Sadly, it might get worse before it gets better: With few draft picks and little in the way of financial wiggle room, New York is liable to be a mess for at least another year—a year that Melo might not be willing to waste.
History will no doubt account for how he got to the Knicks—forcing New York to give up the bulk of its young assets in order to assure he received the biggest possible payday—but he can hardly be blamed for this year’s devastating debacle.
If that’s not a picture of a player squarely in his prime, what is?
Thanks to the structure of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Knicks will be able to offer Melo in the neighborhood of $29 million more than any other team.
But if he has designs on solidifying his legacy with an NBA championship, his sights might well be set on a more winning destination.
What follows are the top five free-agent destinations that Melo should consider this summer—what kind of pay cut he’d have to take, how he’d fit on the roster and, most importantly, what kind of championship prospects each brings to the table.