It was nice to see Carmelo Anthony in the Big Apple again. On Thursday, the New York Knicks star forward was an honorary coach in a charity basketball game hosted by Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia at the Barclays Center, and he spoke to reporters about the work he has put in during the offseason and what the future holds for his team.
Anthony, who was all smiles, talked about how awesome the fans are and that it would have been hard to leave all the love they have for him in his hometown city. He made sure that he could stay in town after getting inked to a brand new five-year, $124 million deal. Many outsiders were quick to judge ‘Melo and say that he took the contract just for the money and winning is what comes second for him. What Anthony had to say on Thursday might make those doubters think differently.
“I don’t think we will have another season like we had last year. When I say that, I believe that we will make the playoffs, that’s where I’m coming from,”
It is safe to say the 11-year man out of Syracuse is looking at things realistically. A team that had high hopes of finishing at or near the top of the Eastern Conference failed miserably to accomplish that goal last season. He is not expecting an immediate turnaround, but he knows that the team can only get better from here. That is important.
For those who say that Anthony is not about winning and just took the money need to find a better argument than the one that they have currently. Why wouldn’t Anthony, a man who led a team to a national championship in one college season, join a team that has put Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher in two important positions? These guys are winners, 13 and five titles respectively. They do not know how to lose, so how could he join the team saying that he will never have a shot at winning?
It is not immediate. Anthony knows that. Fisher knows that. The Zenmaster, one of basketball’s all-time great minds, has to know that. But they also know that losing will not last long. With cap space, draft picks and an already improved roster, the sky could be the limit for the boys from Madison Square Garden.
It is also a very good sign that the Knicks were able to get a star like Anthony to buy into the system that the new regime will be installing. Obviously, Jackson has not had trouble getting superstars to buy into his system, and Anthony is the next example. With somebody like Anthony on board, who is respected highly as a person and as a player in the NBA, it will be even easier for Jackson to lure in the right pieces and other players of similar caliber in the near future.
Anthony also addressed what his former college coach, Jim Boeheim, stated about his decision. Boeheim said that from a basketball standpoint, the Chicago Bulls — one of the teams Anthony was thinking about joining — were a better team than the Knicks, but Anthony has bought into what Jackson wants to do and decided to stay in New York. Many took this as Boeheim, who has never been afraid to speak his mind, saying Anthony made the wrong decision. Anthony shook off the statements, saying that Boeheim is his “guy” and noted he has been saying crazy stuff for 40 years.
It is hard to disagree with Anthony regarding that statement and his decision. He wants to win and the Knicks want to win. New York is the place he wants to do it in, so why go anywhere else? With the season still a couple of months away, all we can currently do is debate, but we will soon know if Anthony made the right decision.