According to the Knicks' public relations Twitter account, Melo is questionable for tonight's clash with the rival Brooklyn Nets due to a shoulder injury:
C. Anthony (sore r. shoulder) will not participate in shootaround today. He is getting further evaluated & is questionable for tonight.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 15, 2014
It was later determined that 'Melo has a slight tear in his shoulder:
An MRI to Carmelo Anthony's right shoulder revealed a small tear to his labrum. No surgery is required at this time. (cont)— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 15, 2014
(cont) Anthony will be re-evaluated in about a month. He will miss the remaining two games.— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) April 15, 2014
The game means nothing to the Knicks since they can't catch the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but there is a chance that the next two contests could be Anthony's final games as a Knick.
Melo is set to hit free agency this offseason, and although a return to the Big Apple is certainly possible, it is far from guaranteed.
What should Melo do for the remainder of the season?
Anthony enjoyed another spectacular season from an individual standpoint with averages of over 27 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game. He was also one of just three players with at least 25 performances of 30 or more points, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Most 30-point games this season- Kevin Durant 46, LeBron James 31, Carmelo Anthony 25— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 13, 2014
Individual accolades are great, but Melo is used to team success as well. Anthony has always been a winner dating back to high school as well as his time at Syracuse University. With the Knicks now eliminated from playoff contention, Anthony's season will end after 82 games for the first time in his professional career:
This is the 1st season in Carmelo Anthony's 11-year NBA career that he has not made the playoffs.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 13, 2014
Melo was clearly dejected by the result, but he was unwilling to point the finger at any one person, according to the Knicks' official Twitter account:
.@carmeloanthony on missing the playoffs: "We're all a part of it."— NBA New York Knicks (@nyknicks) April 14, 2014
Anthony would probably like to finish the season on the court, especially if this is his New York swan song, but he has to be smart. If he plays and his shoulder injury worsens into something more significant, then he will adversely affect his value on the open market in a big way.
Because of that, Melo should simply live to fight another day and take his spot on the bench for the final two games of the season.
Not only would it allow Anthony to preserve himself, but it would also give some younger players a chance to prove themselves.
One can only assume that Melo would play if a postseason berth was still possible, but there is no reason for any of the parties involved to take that risk at this point.
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