I can honestly say, don't worry about Carmelo Anthony. Don't worry about Carmelo Anthony getting in the way of success.
As the Knicks wrapped up a successful homestand, with a 113-111 OT victory over the Charlotte Hornets, I believe it more and more. Anthony hit the game-winning jumper, and admitted after the game that he wanted that moment, and rightfully so. His 35-point performance followed an uneven effort against Portland, in a win, in which he finished with just 17 points while shooting an ugly 7-of-22 from the floor. He heard some boos from the MSG faithful.
I will not go as far to say that Anthony does not want the Knicks to be HIS TEAM in which he is the driving force - but I do get a sense that he just wants to win. As former Raiders owner Al Davis used to say, "just win baby!" That is the mindset that I believe Anthony has right now. He is tired of the losing. He is tired of hearing about the "triangle" offense. He is tired of all the drama off the court and the lack of success on the court. Who can blame him? Aren't we all tired of that?
I had a caller to my radio show last week ask me, "why don't you just change the conversation and talk about the play on the court?" In essence, why do you focus on the drama instead of simply the game action? Great question, with a difficult answer. It is downright impossible to avoid the storylines when Phil Jackson is getting involved in coaching the triangle offense and Kurt Rambis is being named the team's defensive guru. The Knicks, as a franchise, are their own worst enemy, and for that very reason I think Anthony will no longer be a distraction.
Yeah, Anthony did not enjoy playing for Mike D'Antoni and had issues with the popularity of Jeremy Lin when Linsanity took over this great city and the NBA. Anthony still can't stop himself from taking shots at Lin when he said earlier this season before the Knicks played Brooklyn that Lin was, "the face of that franchise, believe it or not." Still, the past is the past for the most part, and the Knicks have to continue to move forward and Anthony needs to continue to lead the way.
Anthony knows the clock is ticking as he is an aging 32-year-old that has played 13 seasons in the NBA along with a number of international competitions for Team USA. Even though he tried to spin the importance of the gold medal in legitimizing his career this past summer in Rio, Anthony knows winning a championship in the NBA is the last and biggest mountain that he has to climb. He has already made a ton, having earned nearly $182 million in contracts coming into this season.
In the summer of 2014, Anthony tested free agency and was wined and dined, but he decided to return to New York because the Knicks could pay him the most and he wanted to finish what he started here. Now, let's not get delusional and think the Knicks can win a title soon. They can't. But, what you should not worry about is Anthony being a divisive force. I don't think he will be. He has gotten paid. He won in college and on the international stage. He is tired of the drama and wants to win in New York.
Whatever chance the Knicks have to win this season is debatable, but I don’t think you should worry about Anthony getting in the way. Melo is going to be Melo some days, with his ball-stopping nature on display on offense, but I actually think he is tired of the drama and just wants to win.
Will he do so? That script has yet to be written.