I was excited as a Knicks fan could be when I learned that Carmelo Anthony would join the team via a trade during the 2010-2011 season. At that point, the Knicks were in the process of putting together their own super-team, one that would be able to compete with the newly assembled Miami Heat. After Amare Stoudemire spent the first half of that season playing like an all-star, the addition of Melo seemed like the perfect move to finally create a roster capable of bringing a championship back to Madison Square Garden. However, time would tell otherwise. Fast-f0rward six years, Amare Stoudemire is playing in Israel and Carmelo Anthony is still playing for a Knicks team that has yet to even reach the Eastern Conference Finals.
About a week ago, a confidant of Phil Jackson’s was quoted as saying that Melo has outlived his “usefulness” in New York. Whether the words were indicative of the Zen Master’s beliefs, the remarks sparked the discussion of whether Carmelo Anthony should waive his no-trade clause and end his time in New York. After a sit down with Phil Jackson, Melo reaffirmed his loyalty to the Knicks, like he has so many times in the past. He still believes that the team is capable of winning a NBA title.
I respect your dedication, but it’s time to cut your losses, Mr. Anthony. At 18-24, the Knicks are currently sitting three games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That may not seem bad considering we have yet to reach the all-star break, but this is a Knicks team that has lost 11 out of their last 13 games. Even if by some miracle, the Knicks were able to turn things around and sneak into the playoffs, they would be nothing more than a first round exit. As we have seen on a number of occasions this season, they cannot compete with the likes of the Celtics, Raptors, or Cavaliers. The Knicks are nowhere near being ready to compete for a championship.
At 32 years old, Melo isn’t getting any younger or healthier. The window for him to win a championship is closing. As great as a scorer Melo is and has been throughout his career, it is now evident that he cannot carry a team to the top. He’s no LeBron James, Steph Curry, or Kevin Durant. Melo must swallow his pride and accept this. There are numerous playoff- caliber teams around the league that could use Melo’s offensive prowess. Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Chicago immediately come to mind, mainly because they have one of his “banana boat” brothers.
If the Knicks could deal out Carmelo before the trade deadline, they could finally start building this team around their budding star, Kristaps Porzingis. Remember, Phil Jackson shopped for Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah this off-season because Melo wanted the team to be in a “win now” mode. It was a nice attempt, but clearly didn’t work. The Knicks need to find pieces that not only complement Porzingis, but help transition the team into a more defensive minded culture. But for them to be able to do this, they need time. Time that Carmelo Anthony does not have.
Don’t get me wrong, Melo’s tenure with the Knicks was not a complete failure. I think back to his MVP caliber season in 2012-2013 and three straight playoff appearances during his first three seasons with the team. But with the Knicks in a three year playoff drought and a roster that is lightyears away from being able to win a NBA Championship, Melo must leave for his own good. I can’t speak for all Knicks fans, but I truly believe there will be no bad blood for Melo amongst the Garden faithful. In fact, I would be happy to see him one day be able to hoist up the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But one thing is for sure, that moment will not come as long as he remains with the Knicks.