New York Knicks

Derek Fisher: Carmelo Anthony Will 'Thrive' in the Triangle Offense

Mar 30, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) smiles on the court against the Golden State Warriors in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
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Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

Forget about New York's market size, the Knicks' storied history or the championship pedigrees of coach Derek Fisher and team president Phil Jackson.

When the two make their recruiting pitch to potential free agent Carmelo Anthony, they may opt to discuss simple geometry.

Anthony won't be hearing about vertices or obtuse angles, but rather the principles of the triangle offense that Jackson and Fisher plan to deploy. It's a system that Fisher said perfectly complements Anthony's skill set when he appeared on The Michael Kay Show, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Yes, in my opinion Carmelo will thrive in a triangle system. He is actually the prototypical triangle player because of his versatility. We could use him at all five positions on the floor. That’s the beauty of the system, being able to move players around on different spots on the floor. I believe we can be great right away because we have that guy we can anchor that system around.

Assuming Anthony is "that guy," then Fisher and Jackson must do everything in their power to keep him in the Empire State.

Anthony has until June 23 to inform the Knicks whether he'll exercise his $23.3 million player option for next season or opt out of his current deal, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein. Should Anthony hit the open market, he would take a look at the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, Stein reports.

Even the two-time defending champion Miami Heat have emerged as a possible landing spot. Sources told Stein and Brian Windhorst that Heat executives and players "have already started to explore their options" to free up enough room to add Anthony to the fold.

Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) guards Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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Other suitors might be able to offer a more immediate route to relevance, but the Knicks now have a time-tested system to sell to Anthony:

The question may hinge on Anthony's desire to play in that system.

He has the ability to thrive in it, but one veteran scout questioned whether the 30-year-old could adjust to such a different style of play at this point in his career, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

I don’t know if he can adjust because he’s been set in his ways for 11 years in the league. The triangle is read, motion. If the ball always stops in his hands, it will be impossible to run. The triangle is an offense for five people not one person, it’s a two-man game and a set with three guys. ... Now if Carmelo can adjust his game, he can thrive, will thrive. I just don’t see how after all these years.

No one will know for sure whether Anthony can adjust until he tries it for himself. It falls on Fisher and Jackson to ensure Anthony takes that chance.

Anthony will have no shortage of desirable landing spots to consider whenever he enters free agency. If he's solely focused on titles, it won't be easy to avoid the Heat should they come calling with a chance at becoming a Big Four.

Winning in New York could be even more important to Melo, though. Having recognizable faces like Fisher and Jackson around him could convince Anthony that things are changing with the Knicks.

After his geometry lesson, maybe he'll envision the same perfect marriage between his skills and this system that Fisher sees now.

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