February 18, 2015 by Hook
(I should preface this by saying I am a Brooklyn Nets fan, but definitely not a Knicks hater. I want to see both New York team succeed, but Carmelo Anthony has really gotten under my skin the past few months. Here goes nothing.)
Timing is everything. We have all heard this, but Carmelo Anthony is giving this phrase an entirely new meaning. The NBA Trade Deadline is about a day away (Thursday, 3pm) and Anthony has once again succeeded in making it all about him. The most un-breaking, breaking news was reported today by ESPN’s Marc Stein: the New York Knicks will officially rule out Carmelo Anthony for the rest of the season today and he is headed for knee surgery in the near future.
How convenient for Anthony to wait until the Wednesday after the All-Star Break with the trade deadline looming. Knowing this announcement would be talked about, it’s interesting for Melo to want to make headlines with so much other NBA news going on. I can hear all the Carmelo supporters and brainwashed Knick fans now: maybe he honestly didn’t know he was going to need surgery until today. Anthony did a really bad job at selling that idea at All-Star Weekend when he hinted that he would be shutting it down after the All-Star Game.
Anthony injured his knee more than two months ago and rumors have swirled since then about the Knicks superstar considering shutting it down. These rumors were then followed by reports that Carmelo wanted to hang around until after the 2015 All-Star game so that he could “represent his team” in the exhibition at Madison Square Garden. I put that in quotes not because someone else said, even though I am sure Anthony at some point said some version of that, but because that is the part of this entire story that makes me so mad. If Anthony really wanted to do what was best for his team he would have shut it down and gone away before the New Year.
The Knicks were 5-22 at one point in December when Anthony was banged up and were basically making preparations to throw the season away and look towards the future. That is exactly what they have done going 5-21 since. Anthony has played in 40 of the Knicks 53 games, even though it seems like he has missed more than 24 percent of New York’s games with how much his injury has been talked about. Not shutting it down until now is so upsetting because it proves me to Melo cares more about himself and his brand than winning with the New York Knicks.
This all started when Anthony signed a five-year, 122-million dollar contract over the summer to stay with the New York Knicks in his first attempt to be “loyal.” The best move on the court for Anthony to win would have been to go to the Chicago Bulls, but that would have meant taking less money over fewer years. This doesn’t make sense for Carmelo Anthony the person or the brand.
Anthony stays with his “hometown” Knicks, which is another kind-of sort-of not true narrative, knowing it would take time before he would have a team around him that would compete for a championship. Then injuries happen in December when the Knicks are clearly not going to be competing for a playoff spot this season. Anthony played when he wanted knowing he would be voted an All-Star come February.
What makes me mad is Melo used this injury like a crutch only when it suited him and his brand. I believe if you’re injured shut it down and get the surgery you need to be ready and healthy for next season, and if you’re hurt you should play through it to help your team. That is what these guys are getting paid to do! Anthony selfishly hovered over the lowly Knicks for two months so that he could get voted a starter and represent the Knicks in the All-Star Game, only showing up to work when he wanted. I get mad because Melo is getting paid by the Knicks to play for the Knicks, not to play 30 minutes in an exhibition game that means nothing while promoting his brand.
Let’s compare this to how a similar situation would go over with your boss. You work for a company that has been struggling to make profits the past few months and the workplace environment is not as fun as it used to be. You are tired of putting up with it all, so you tell your boss you’re not coming in next week because you want to catch up on sleep (the same as being hurt, not injured). You are scheduled to go on business trip to Los Angeles next month and tell your boss you have a good feeling you will be healed enough by then to still take advantage of that opportunity. Any other job would not put up with what Anthony is doing.
The Knicks have been focused on the summer of 2015 for what feels like an eternity now, and Carmelo is not helping the cause. Getting back to 100 percent before the offseason in addition to an intriguing draft pick might have made New York a more desirable destination for potential free agents. Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge are not leaving their current teams; especially not for the mess the Knicks call a basketball team.
Anthony says he cares about winning with the New York Knicks, but his actions do not match his words. Melo now has a couple of months to get healthy, figure out how to turn the Knicks organization around, and give Knicks’ fans a product on the court that they can be proud of and deserve.
Maybe now until the summer Carmelo Anthony will actually be as talked about as much as the New York Knicks. Don’t worry Knicks fans, you are in good hands and have a brighter future on the horizon than the other basketball team in New York that shall not be named. Look at this way: at least you are not the fan of a team who doesn’t have their own draft pick until 2019 and has no way to be competitive until then.