New York Knicks president Phil Jackson carries himself as a rather confident man. When you win eleven championships as a coach, you have every right to do so. But this may be one of his most brazen moves yet.
It’s been widely reported that Jackson has asked Carmelo Anthony to opt in to the last year of his contract and, by doing so, reverse a decision he made nearly a year ago. Quite frankly, Jackson would have better luck asking Michael Jordan to sell the Charlotte Hornets and to come out of retirement.
Obviously getting Anthony to opt in would be one of the best outcomes imaginable for the Knicks. They would get to keep their best player, remain competitive in the Eastern Conference next season and Anthony would come off the books at the same time as the rest of New York’s highest-paid players. Having salary cap flexibility in 2015, a summer packed with elite free agent potential, is definitely the right idea.
But why would Melo ever want to do this? He has an opportunity to get another max contract in a month. It makes no sense for him to hold off on signing it, especially if it means wasting another year of his prime on a team that will not be contending for a championship. Jackson is brash to think Anthony would make that kind of commitment without even knowing who his coach would be.
The one plausible argument for Anthony opting in is based on the assumption he will still merit a max contract one year from now. But 2015 is a stacked free agent class, including studs like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kyrie Irving, Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic, Kevin Love and potentially LeBron James. Why shove yourself onto a crowded dance floor when you can be the belle of the ball? And if Anthony were to get badly injured next season, he can kiss that max contract goodbye.
Reports say Anthony told Jackson he would “think about it,” but anyone with the slightest bit of discretion knows that’s a polite “no.” That’s like receiving a Facebook invitation and replying “maybe” even though you know there’s literally a zero percent chance you’ll attend. Melo doesn’t want to opt in, and he already knows it.
Unless Jackson can convince Anthony to sign a max deal with the Knicks, bite the bullet next season and commit for the long haul, it might be time to start getting nostalgic.