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JR Smith Believes Melo Will Re-Sign with Knicks

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 5: J.R. Smith #8 and Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks look on during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 5, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2014

Hopefully New York Knicks resident chucker J.R. Smith knows best.

Unless you're into Saturday night raves, head-to-toe tattoos and obsessing over shoelaces the way Mr. Deeds' butler does feet, you've probably never embraced that line of thinking before. But if you're a fan of Carmelo Anthony returning to the Knicks, you will.

Speaking on Anthony's impending free agency, Smith, his longtime teammate, provided Knicks fans with some refreshing insight, according to ESPN New York's Ian Begley:

In my heart, I believe he’ll still be here. It’s just a matter of him coming up with that decision. Whatever it is, we’re still going to be friends 'til our dying days, so I mean, whether he’s on my team or he isn’t, I still love him like a brother.

All of New York would come to love Smith too, even if only for a split second, if he's right.

Letting Anthony go is one thing the Knicks and new team president Phil Jackson cannot afford to do. They have no first-round picks in their possession this year or for summer 2016, and they don't have cap space until 2015. Rebuilding will be a long, arduous task rife with losing seasons if Anthony journeys elsewhere.

And he could journey elsewhere.

Missing the playoffs for the first time of his career has left a sour taste in Anthony's mouth. Though the Knicks can offer him one year and $30-plus million more than any other team, he told Newsday's Al Iannazone that he remains unsure of what he'll do next:

Everything for me is just cloudy. I've never been [eliminated from the playoffs] before. I don't know what to say about this situation. The only thing for me is to stay positive throughout this situation. There's going to be a lot of questions that I have, that I'm going to be asking myself: Why this? Why that? I'm pretty sure I won't find no answers anytime soon. We'll see what happens.

So, yeah, that doesn't sound like a player ready to sign on the dotted line now. Anthony's comments are bit more depressing and distraught than encouraging.

Ten consecutive playoff berths is a lot. It's all Anthony's legacy has.

Or rather, had.

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 6: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks warms up on the court before the game against the Miami Heat on April 6, 2014 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
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Where he failed to win championships, he successfully played into the playoffs for his entire career. LeBron James can't say that. Kevin Durant can't say it either. Not even Kobe Bryant can lay claim to that honor.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs can. Most can't. That was Anthony's hook, his saving grace. His ultimate accomplishment.

Now it's gone, lost to a season of ever-growing wrongs that couldn't be righted in time to mean anything. 

"OK, yeah, that’s not the musings of a man who doesn’t like the weather," Bleacher Report's Jim Cavan writes. "That’s someone who just had basketball-sized hail fall on his house."

There's a very real chance that hailstorm turns more violent, forcing Anthony out of New York, leaving the Knicks and Jackson lamenting what-ifs and, more importantly, poring over the difficult, distressing question, "What now?"—to which they will have no immediate answer.

"No, not really," Smith said when asked if he was worried about having possibly played his last game alongside Anthony, per Begley.

This time, this one time, Knicks fans can only hope Smith winds up being right.

 

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