With the New York Knicks in town to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, it is hard not to notice how the tide has changed surrounding the pending free agent status of Carmelo Anthony. New York is riding a wave of momentum, having won eight out of their last nine games and fresh off the hiring of basketball giant Phil Jackson as team President.
Just a month ago it looked like Anthony was out the door completely, with the Lakers being one of his prime targets. It’s interesting to try and figure out what he might be thinking at this point. Has he been successfully wooed by the signing of Jackson? Or is he smarter than that and realizes the 68-year-old Jackson isn’t coaching, along with the fact his team has no cap space to sign any player of significance for two years? So far he hasn’t given a clear-cut indication either way.
On the other end, it seems interest in Anthony has cooled on the Lakers’ part, as it’s becoming evident the organization has been turned off by his lack of all-around game. Perhaps Melo is looking at Tuesday night’s game as an opportunity to showcase himself to Laker brass; it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
These days, a lot of pro athletes like to do the opposite of what everyone is telling them. Right now, everyone is telling Anthony how good it will be for him to stay in New York and to trust Jackson in the process. Going to the Lakers at this moment is a classic buy-low situation where he would get full credit for revitalizing a fanbase currently in the dumps.
If he stays in New York and it doesn’t work out, he will get the lion’s share of blame, not the Zen Master. In a strange way, he might have more power to choose future free agents to play with in Los Angeles than New York.
It certainly sounds like Jackson isn’t going to listen anyone in regards to personnel moves, as the Knicks are his new toy, one in which he plans on putting his personalized stamp on. If the Lakers are indeed interested in Anthony, they might give him the freedom to recruit as a bargaining chip. But that’s only if they are interested, and at this point all bets are off.