It all starts tomorrow. Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks to explore free agency and is about to receive the Dwight Howard treatment starting Tuesday, when he will be courted in person by the the NBA‘s best.
‘Melo will go to Chicago to meet up with the Chicago Bulls‘ representatives, followed by a trip to Texas, where he will talk to the guys from the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets. He will then go to California, where the Los Angeles Lakers are going to host a dinner for him.
It’s yet to be confirmed if he will go to South Beach to meet Miami Heat president Pat Riley, or to Arizona to visit the Phoenix Suns, a possibility that surfaced this week when league sources brought up the possibility of the Suns making a run for the Carmelo Anthony/LeBron James duo.
No matter what happens, however, Anthony is likely to return to the Knicks to finish his career in the city.
A few months ago, the speculation was strong that the desire to put himself in a position to win made Anthony strongly consider leaving New York, but things have changed. Back then, the franchise had a president who didn’t know anything about basketball, a broken roster, a bad coach, and nothing to really look forward to. That’s not longer the case.
The arrival of Phil Jackson and everything that followed have shown Carmelo and the most skeptical of fans that the franchise is moving in another direction, a place the Knicks have never been before. Effective administration by the Hall-of-Famer has guaranteed the Knicks a new coach, improvements to the roster, and a much-needed change in mentality, putting the Knicks back on the map.
The Bulls have Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and coach Tom Thibodeau, the Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, the Rockets have Howard and James Harden, and the Lakers have Kobe Bryant, but the New York Knicks have Phil Jackson — that means security and a winning culture that will not be shaken for years to come.
The triangle system to be implemented is the most successful basketball system ever, and Jackson is its most prominent professor. If Anthony really wants to win more than anything, New York is the place to be. The roster upgrades for next season and the way Jackson is going to build the team around Anthony will surely take his game to the next level, and he knows it.
One can only assume that after this courting process, ‘Melo will realize he ought to be part of this new era, where competitiveness and money are linked together and back to stay at the Big Apple, and it will eventually lead to him making his triumphant return to Madison Square Garden.