Jake Brown | Twitter |
After six and a half seasons and three playoff appearances, the Carmelo Anthony era with the Knicks is over. Anthony had his supporters, he had his critics, and he had those stuck in the middle. His ending in New York unfortunately did not come the way he hoped for.
Looking back, should the Knicks have traded all the guys they did to get him? Well, they could have waited until the offseason in 2011 when he became a free agent, but they wanted to win right then and now. I spoke with former Knicks GM Glen Grunwald last week, who was in the Knicks front office when they made the deal for Anthony.
"We did make some progress with Carmelo," Grunwald told Justin MacMahan and I (filling in for Jim Duquette) on The Jim and Justin Breakdown. "It didn't not work. Ideally, what we would have done is waited for Carmelo to become a free agent that summer and retain all those other assets and then sign him as a free agent. ... but it didn't work out that way and there's a lot of reasons for that. You can't say it was completely unsuccessful, but if your goal is to win a NBA championship, then it was unsuccessful."
Say what you want about Melo, but when he got here, the Knicks started winning again. Sure, they didn't win a title, but the team hasn't won since 1973. One player isn't going to bring you a title. Just ask LeBron James.
Also, when you're in the same conference as King James and his "Super Teams," your chances are slim-to-none. But Melo gave this city some magical moments. I'll never forget being at Madison Square Garden for his record-breaking, 62-point performance in 2014. It was a miraculous night and the energy was through the roof at the World's Most Famous Arena.
Anthony was honestly not treated as well as he should have been, especially in his final season. With the constant trade rumors that were fueled by Phil Jackson, it was an ugly ending.
Being a superstar in New York is not easy, but it became more and more difficult with a new GM, head coaches, and roster turnover. A lot of pressure was put on Melo and it was honestly unfair to him and his family. For these reasons along with the fact the team wasn't ready to contend, it was 100 percent right for him to want to go elsewhere.
He'll carry around with him the fact that he hasn't been to a NBA Finals, but in this day and age, getting there is almost impossible unless you are surrounded by stars. Even now with a big three in Oklahoma City, it's going to be incredibly difficult taking down the Warriors, Rockets, and Spurs.
Melo wasn't the greatest Knicks player ever -- he wasn't in the top five. You can argue that he was in the top 10. I believe he performed up to expectations when healthy. He was an All Star and made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. He battled through injuries and put a lot of weight on his shoulders.
You couldn't have asked for much more from him. When he was on, it was incredible to watch every night. And with him gone, the Knicks will make a transition to a new era. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott aren't a bad return, but they're far from franchise players. Those only come along every now and then, and the Knicks hope Kristaps Porzingis can fill that role now, but that won't happen overnight.
Thank you, Melo, for your contributions to the Knicks franchise on and off the court. There were some ups and a lot of downs, but you were first-class throughout it all. Your work in the community also did not go unnoticed. I know I'll be rooting for Melo to win with the Thunder, finally securing a title before his career ends.