I admit that I have a little Syracuse Bias, but that aside, Carmelo Anthony should be on an NBA team this year. In a perfect scenario for me, from growing up a Knicks fan, the perfect scenario would have been for the Knicks to have signed KD, Kyrie, and Melo and have Melo retire where I feel he should have as a N.Y. Knick. I would’ve settled for Melo joining the Lebron and The Brow with the Lakers and competing with a team who should be a title contender this coming season. But instead, the NBA is treating Melo as if he has nothing left to contribute to an NBA team whatsoever.
Last week I had the pleasure of having Syracuse Legend Danny Schayes on my weekly show The Collision “Where Sports And Politics Collide”.
We will actually have a daily show on ESPN Syracuse this fall in which we will discuss Syracuse athletics, NBA, NCAA, NFL, and current events. But last week, we discussed the absence of Carmelo on an NBA roster as of now and this is what Danny Schayes had to say.
“He seems to be stuck in that netherworld of dominant superstar, past his prime, unable/unwilling to adjust his role to be a team player” Danny Schayes added that he doesn’t believe this to be true, however, that is the prevailing narrative, and reputations and stories are tough to shake.
That definitely seems to be what’s happening here. There are all types of falsehoods floating around and being accepted as factual. (We’re seeing a lot of that going on lately both in sports and in politics, but I digress)
First, there is the notion that Carmelo expressed that he will never come off bench. As seen by his willingness to come off the bench in Houston, that clearly isn’t the case. And while he did voice his disapproval while with the OKC Thunder, and state that he felt that he was still capable of being a starter and contributing what a starter contributes, he still accepted the role that was given to him. I don’t know a player who ever existed that didn’t believe they were capable of a bigger role than the one they were given by their coach. What did the media expect Melo to say ? Yea I’m washed up ? I simply don’t have it anymore to be the player I once was ?
Carmelo told ESPN when discussing the previous season in OKC, “ I think I was willing to accept that challenge in that role [coming off the bench] but I think I bring a little bit more to the game as far as being more knowledgeable and what I still can do as a basketball player”.
Nowhere in there did Melo express that he would be unwilling to accept that role if that’s what was given to him. But of course he is going to feel that he can still contribute as a starter. He’s Carmelo Anthony. Top 20 in scoring all time in the NBA. A future Hall Of Famer. Melo showed he would accept the role in Houston and contributed significantly off the bench.
Now, Houston as a team struggled, and for some reason, the majority of the blame was directed at Melo, someone who was coming off the bench and playing a reduced amount of minutes.
That really shouldn’t have been surprising after what happened in NY when coach D’Antoni blamed all of the Knicks struggles on Melo and reportedly quit on the team. In fact, Many ppl around the Knicks organization have confirmed that D’Antoni was the one who gave the Knicks the ultimatum of either Melo goes or I go and they chose Melo so he quit. Now, did Melo happily accept D’Antoni’s plan to move him to the power forward ? No, but it was D’Antoni who quit on the team, not Melo. (how he got another job after that I will never know) but again I digress.
Then, you have naysayers who bring up his time in Denver and the fact that George Karl had some bad things to say about Melo in his tell all book. First of all, George Karl has had major issues with every star player he has coached. Kenyon Martin, Andrea Igudola, Rae Allen ? Whose ever heard of a coach having issues with Rae Allen ? It appeared as though once George Karl’s coaching days were over, he resorted to slandering former players for profit.
Then, people bring up Phil Jackson’s criticisms of Carmelo while he was with the Knicks. Phil Jackson, one of the most successful coaches in NBA history took to social media, criticized Melo in private, and and publicly to the press. He told the entire NBA press, “We've not been able to win with him on the court at this time. I think the direction with our team is that he is a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talents somewhere where he can win or chase that championship,"
The reality is, Phil Jackson simply wanted to blow up the Knicks and create his own roster so he can say he rebuilt the program himself and he wanted to unload Melo’s contract and started leaking things to the media while Melo stayed above it all and remained professional. For a long period of time, Jackson’s apparent strategy was to antagonize Melo into lashing out in the media and losing his cool which would then cast Melo as a “problem” thus justifying his desire to trade him, but Melo never took the bait.
In the midst of it all, long time Knicks die hard and loyalists Spike Lee told ESPN “I still believe in Carmelo, but Phil Jackson is making it very difficult for him. Spike Lee also added when asked who he would rather choose between Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony he responded with, “I’ll pack Phil’s bags for him”
Many questioned the decision to bring Phil Jackson to the Knicks in the first place as it resulted in nothing but further frustration to an already disgusted Knicks fan base.
So here we are, this far into free agency and no team has signed Melo.
It was reported that NBA Executives Believe Carmelo Anthony Will Not Play Another Game. It’s almost as if Carmelo has been blackballed.
Chris Broussard said on FS1
“I said it a year ago. Carmelo Anthony needs to retire because this is unbecoming to a first ballot hall of famer, and I think that’s what he is. His first year in the league, he took a 17 win Nuggets team to the playoffs in the west as a rookie. It took Lebron 2 years to get Cleveland to the playoffs from 17 wins”
I wholeheartedly agree. Carmelo should be on a team this year. There are numerous title contenders where he could be not only effective but valuable part of their championship run.
This apparent shunning is actually disrespectful. Carmelo Anthony deserves a better ending