This NBA offseason has been one for the ages. Even if this is the start of the new normal in the Association, it’s been a crazy summer. Star players moved in every division through every conceivable channel. I could drone on for days about all the comings and goings. However, I am going to take a more concentrated approach to this period. My focus will be on a saga that has dragged on for years that just recently came to an end. The once match made in heaven (cue those I’m coming home vignettes) finally got its fitting divorce. Carmelo Anthony is no longer a New York Knick player. However, the organization and Melo himself didn’t exactly get what each other wanted. And that may be the most fitting part of it all.
The Knicks are one of the NBA’s proudest franchises, but also one of their biggest punching bags. Carmelo Anthony‘s tenure with the club has been no different. Something with so much promise soured quicker than even the biggest pessimist could have imagined.
Now I know New York is the knee-jerk reaction capital of the world. And I am totally aware that I feed into that. If I would have written this directly after the trade went down, you probably would have thought I copy-pasted a Stephen A. Smith First Take transcript. Watching my Twitter timeline during a Liverpool game is a schizophrenia case study.
Carmelo has been a lame duck superstar for the past two seasons. He was a good soldier when healthy but those spells came in fewer numbers as Anthony all but Allen Iverson-ed his proverbial basketball HP down to a sliver. All the while the front office couldn’t decide whether they wanted to tank towards a high pick or just miss out on a playoff spot by eight games. It’s been a rough couple of years.
But Kristaps Porzingis fell on our undeserving laps. The club has made slow progress towards adaptation to today’s NBA, but progress nonetheless. But what could have been if the organization didn’t let Carmelo Anthony’s trade value sink worse than that of a Mark McGwire rookie card?
Anthony made it abundantly clear that he wanted to go to Houston. Hoodie Melo was the basketball meme of the summer. In the end, Anthony got his move to the midwest, but to the Thunder instead. I know it wasn’t exactly what he desired, but I am not shedding a tear for him getting to play with Russell Westbrook and Paul George instead of James Harden and Chris Paul.
This is normally where I would tear into the Knicks further. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott plus a sure-to-be bungled second-round pick for Carmelo Anthony. In honesty though, I think that the Knicks did better than they had any right to in this situation.
They avoided taking corpse contracts from either Cleveland or Houston. Ryan Anderson not walking through that door is a good thing. Failed reunions with Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert is a good thing. Not having dead Carmelo money linger on the cap like the Ghost of Christmas Past is a good thing.
Those are statements I can make now that I’ve let what happened to germinate in my brain. I wouldn’t have done so a week ago.
The Knicks are the first team I truly picked for myself. The Dodgers and Colts came before, but they weren’t solely my decision to make. Basketball is by far my favorite sport. That is why I take everything this organization does at one extreme or another. It is either the worst thing in the world or the greatest maneuver in NBA history. My stances more than often lean towards the former.
But to save my sanity (Lord knows the Colts, Blues, and Liverpool aren’t helping any) I am trying to turn over a new leaf with the Knicks this year. See the Knicks for what they truly are now that the Carmelo Anthony saga has ended. They are no longer a revered franchise. They are no longer proud. MSG is no longer the mecca.
I want to believe in this club that nobody believes in. Root for the underdog. Even in the weakest Eastern Conference in my memory, they are just that. I want to focus on the development of Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez as the modern-day version of the Twin Towers. Let Michael Beasley turn into the Chinese League version of himself. Let Doug McDermott be Dougie McBuckets again. Run Franky Nicotine (I’ll learn to spell Ntilikina eventually) out there from day one and prove all us cynics wrong about European players again. I want basketball to be fun for me instead of being a winter long burden.
The Carmelo Anthony saga ended fittingly for all parties involved. Nobody got what they wanted. But I am hoping that end also brought an end to that era of Knicks basketball. That spotlight driven era where headlines were more important than the betterment of the franchise. Let’s all hop on the positivity train to MSG.
(Note: If Jim Dolan and Steve Mills coerce Scott Perry to trade Kristaps Porzingis next season, burn this article, forget it ever existed and first round at the bar is on me.)