New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony is poised to test the free-agent market this summer. His decision to stay or sign elsewhere will shape N.Y.’s 2014-15 season, but one of his teammates isn’t sure the former scoring champ has plans to re-sign.
Speaking on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd (h/t ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley), injury-prone big man Amar’e Stoudemire said, “My gut feeling is that Carmelo will be staying. That’s my gut feeling right now today but I’m not totally sure.”
According to Begley, Melo “said that his top priority is to put himself in position to win a title.” At this juncture, New York doesn’t appear to be the best situation for Anthony to chase the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year NBA career, the soon-to-be 30-year-old would be putting plenty of faith in new Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson. With Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton under contract through at least the 2014-15 campaign, Anthony would be reupping with the same core that missed out on postseason play this year.
The cap-clogging contracts of those aforementioned players don’t leave the Zen Master with much wiggle room to tweak the roster. He is, however, close to making his first big addition.
According to the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola, the Knicks are close to finalizing a deal that would make TNT analyst Steve Kerr the franchise’s new head coach.
Kerr has no prior coaching experience, but the 48-year-old won five titles as a player. He attained three of those rings with the Chicago Bulls under Jackson and two more with the San Antonio Spurs under three-time Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich.
Those experiences will undoubtedly give Kerr plenty to draw from as he (presumably) transitions into a coaching role.
Having a dominant alpha dog like Anthony, however, would make that transition far easier than the alternative.
Stoudemire has been a sought-after free agent before, but he doesn’t plan on swaying his teammate one way or another.
“It’s best for us (as teammates) to kind of stay out of his (decision-making process),” he said. The former Rookie of the Year added, “I try to stay out of it and I focus on what I can do to better the team.”
Contributions from Stoudemire and other role players will be key to the Knicks’ short-term success regardless of the decision from Anthony. If the talented forward ultimately decides to stay, he’ll be doing so with the promise that Jackson can build a contender during the 2015 offseason.
While the short-term outlook in New York is admittedly bleak, B/R’s Dan Favale believes that Melo would be rolling the dice by leaving.
Abandoning the Knicks, though, is a risk in and of itself, regardless of how imperfect or morose their immediate and long-term future appears. If Anthony leaves, he must be certain it’s for the right bailiwick that offers much, much more—both immediately and long term—than New York.
Fans must also consider that Melo’s wife, La La Anthony, has said, “I definitely think he will stay,” per ESPNNewYork.com.
Bringing a title back to New York for the first time since 1973 would mean significantly more than simply chasing a ring elsewhere. So while Stoudemire is unsure of Anthony’s future, it’s still logical to believe he’ll suit up in orange and blue once again.
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