Carmelo Anthony has officially opted out of the last year of his contract with the New York Knicks. After months of speculation and rumors, the All-Star forward decided to explore his options in free agency and is set to be courted by many contenders — Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat among others.
So what’s next for the New York franchise?
This is surely nothing to panic about. Despite the fact that Melo becomes a free agent on July 1, there are many reasons for him to come back and re-sign with the team for five more years. He’s got his family set up in New York, he loves the city and the fanbase, he would make more money and he would become a true franchise player for life if he comes back. That alone should keep Knicks fans from getting desperate, but the main reason for people not to panic is the fact that the franchise is now managed by a winner and gigantic basketball figure in Phil Jackson.
The Knicks have a plan B. It has been reported how Jackson stated vehemently that the team is moving forward with or without Melo, that the franchise is in a revamping process, changing its culture from short to long-term success and championship contention. This is going to happen whether you like it or not. With Carmelo coming back, the summer of 2015 (when the Knicks will have an almost full salary cap space) will be one of pursuing one more superstar who fits the triangle system and improves Carmelo’s style of play. With Carmelo leaving, the summer of 2015 will be one of pursuing two superstars to carry the load of the team while still having a competent and consistent system ofbasketball implemented for the long run. So the catch is the fact that regardless of the superstar the team acquires, the team will be good.
Starting this offseason with coaching changes, roster moves and future planning, the Knicks will be ready for contention starting in 2015. Trading Iman Shumpert or Tyson Chandler for a first-round pick is likely to happen, and that’s something that will reduce the financial commitments even more while having young guys to be developed on the roster. But I would hate to see Shump go, considering how praised he was by Jackson and how much potential he has.
So Knicks fans, don’t fear — Phil Jackson is near. A financially stable and improved roster will be back strong in 2015 to represent the New York City. Whatever happens, Spike Lee and I will always stand beside you, dear Knicks.