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Knicks Rumors: Carmelo Anthony Reunion Unlikely Due to Defensive Concerns

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 11, 2022

Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Carmelo Anthony could fill a hole for the New York Knicks at power forward, but the free agent doesn't appear to be a good fit for the roster.

"Based on one Knicks source, the indications are that Anthony would not fit the style the Knicks are trying to play — namely defense," Steve Popper of Newsday reported.

Anthony has yet to appear in the NBA this season after playing 69 games with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22. He averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last year, shooting 37.5 percent from three-point range.

The 38-year-old could be an impact player as a 10-time All-Star with a 22.5 points per game career average. He spent parts of seven seasons with the Knicks, winning a scoring title in 2012-13 while helping the squad reach the second round of the playoffs that year.

Team president Leon Rose was also Anthony's longtime agent, providing plenty of familiarity for a reunion.

With Obi Toppin out for the next few weeks due to a knee injury, the signing would seemingly be a quality fit for the 13-31 squad to stay competitive.

However, it's clear head coach Tom Thibodeau wants to prioritize defense, which has never been one of Anthony's strengths. The forward's defensive box plus/minus has been negative in every single season of his 19-year NBA career, per Basketball Reference.

The Knicks currently rank 14th in the league in defensive rating and can't afford to drop much lower if they want to stay in the playoff hunt.

It could force New York to look elsewhere to find a short-term replacement for Toppin.