New York Knicks star player Carmelo Anthony has reportedly stated that he plans to opt out of the final year of his current contract and explore free agency at the end of the season. He claims this “not whatsoever” means he’s not coming back to New York, but it’s more than obvious the writing is on the wall. Guess what, Melo? If you don’t want to be here, we don’t want you.
Don’t get me wrong, I like what Melo brings to the table. He’s a top 3 offensive player in the NBA in my books, and can generally score at-will. Even though the Knicks gave away their entire promising young roster and a few draft picks to get him, I was ecstatic when he came to town. But if he’s not about that #KnicksTape, I’ll help him pack his bags (and by help him pack his bags, I mean call the moving company and set up a time for them to come and box up his things. Helping someone move fucking sucks).
As a man, I give Melo props for keeping it real and telling us straight-up what his intentions are, but as a Knicks fan… I’m beyond pissed. You can blame the media for bugging impending free agents every chance they get about what they’re going to do years before their contract is up, but athletes have to keep the fans in mind when they answer these questions. I don’t care if you 100% plan on leaving town, you dodge the question and say you’ll discuss it after the season. You know, when the decision has to be made. Then, and only then, I couldn’t give two shits what you tell the media. You can pull a Rod Tidwell and tell the moron with an iPhone on voice record mode asking you the question to show you the money.
In the end, that’s what this probably boils down to. Money. Melo can likely guarantee himself more for the next 4-5 years if he opts out at the end of this season instead of testing free-agency in 2 years. Once he opts out, the Knicks can re-sign him for 5 years, $129.1mil, and any other team can offer 4 years, $95.9mil. He’s 29 years old, and this is definitely the last long-term deal he’ll be able to sign as a max-contract player.
If he signs a 4 year deal elsewhere, and he probably will, Melo will likely be able to sign a 2-3 year deal for some decent loot, or take a pay-cut to play on a contender for that elusive ring. Yes, that ring will be elusive, as Melo has the unfortunate problem of being 1 year older than LeBron James and 4 years older than Kevin Durant. Unless he goes Tonya Harding a la Nancy Kerrigan on those 2 guys, he’ll never get a ring without joining one of them.
With Melo dropping this “I’m going to opt out” bomb on us, it’s going to be painful to watch any Knicks games this season. Every single time Melo dogs it (and he will), Knicks fans will be questioning him and point to the fact that he’s testing the free-agency market. I fully expect him to mail it in on defense (as usual) while hoisting 35-40 shots per game in a middling effort.
Melo says this doesn’t mean he’s leaving, but I’m not buying it. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.