New York Knicks small forward Carmelo ‘Melo’ Anthony has $45 million left on his two-year contract, including $21.5 million for this upcoming season. Melo’s statement on Tuesday night about wanting to be a free agent is probably one of the most arrogant statements a player can utter.
Melo has the option to opt out of the final year of his contract in the summer of 2014 if he wants to. There is nothing wrong with a player choosing to be a free agent because any player can do it. The thing that can make the fans and media view a player as arrogant is the reasoning behind choosing to be a free agent.
Many fans dislike Miami Heat power forward LeBron James because in the summer of 2010, he chose to leave his hometown team that adored him, the Cleveland Cavaliers, to try to build a dynasty in South Beach. Melo’s reasoning for wanting to be a free agent sounds like he is desperate for attention, when he already receives a lot of it.
“I want to be a free agent. I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career.” Melo told New York Observer’s Rafi Kohan. “It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do.”
Melo may not realize it, but opposing teams do evaluate him on a nearly daily basis. It does not matter if it is something like a team trying to devise a game plan to limit his lethal offensive game or developing a scouting report on his strengths and weaknesses — team are always evaluating him.
His statement makes it sound like he knows every player’s mindset on free agency, when that is obviously not true. There are players like Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard and Heat forward-center Chris Bosh who once desired to be free agents prior to signing with their current teams. However, not every player is like them.
One example is San Antonio Spurs forward-center Tim Duncan. Duncan is entering his 17th season with the Spurs and he has never given any indication of wanting to be a free agent. Another example is Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has also never desired to be a free agent and who is entering his 16th season with the Mavericks.
The biggest reason of all why Melo’s statement was arrogant is what the Knicks have done for him.
The Knicks have gone out of their way to try to satisfy their star player in hopes that he will sign a long-term contract with them. They have put together a formidable team since Melo arrived that can compete for a NBA Championship on an annual basis if everyone is healthy.
Their organizational hierarchy must be appalled by that statement and think that all their hard work to satisfy Melo meant nothing to him. The players will probably also feel slighted because they will feel like they are not ‘good enough’ for Melo.
The Knicks do have a very good supporting cast around Melo such as shooting guard J.R. Smith, power forward Amare Stoudamire when healthy, and center Tyson Chandler. Those three players along with the rest of the deep roster should make a deep playoff run this season.
If Melo wants to avoid the fans perceiving him as a villain at Madison Square Garden on a nightly basis this season, then he needs to issue a public apology for his arrogant statement.