I wish I was as shocked over Carmelo Anthony choosing to return to my beloved New York Knicks as much as I was over LeBron James leaving South Beach for Cleveland. However, I had a feeling that Melo would return to the Knicks when it was all said and done.
In fact, Melo had over 120 million reasons to do so.
Thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams that currently employ soon-to-be free agents could offer those players the most money. In this case, the Knicks could offer Melo the max, which was a five-year contract worth $125 million dollars. The most that other teams such as the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers could offer him was four years and $88 million. Let’s face it, there was no way in hell that Melo would leave a year and over $30 million on the table.
And let’s focus on the Lakers for a minute. If Melo felt like a one-man band in New York, how bad would it have been in L.A. with a hobbling, aging Kobe Bryant. And we all know how Kobe likes the get down. He could have a wooden leg with a kickstand and STILL want to be the man. As much as Melo loves Kobe (and as much as Kobe wanted Melo), it would not have been a good fit.
As for Chicago, even though Melo would have taken less to go there I still thought it was the right spot for him. The Bulls simply have better personnel than the Knicks. The Bulls have Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and a healthy Derrick Rose gives Melo a better chance to win. I just don’t see a Knicks team the employs Amare Stoudamire, J.R. Smith, Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert making any noise next season.
Yeah I know, Rose may not be 100% ever again. But if you watched how Chicago competed the last two seasons (and postseasons) without Rose, you’d know that the Bulls were a dynamic scorer away from advancing in this year’s and last year’s playoffs.
Alas, Melo chose money and comfort over a better chance to win – and I am not mad at him. His wife loves it in NYC, and his son attends school there and probably made some good friends.
As a Knicks fan, I am happy as hell Melo is staying in New York. I just don’t need to hear him say “I just want to win” when it was clearly about him getting paid.