Remember way back when we thought Carmelo Anthony’s injury was minor and that if surgery were required, it would be a rather inconsequential one? The notion was that the 13 games he had missed in the first half of the season weren’t too alarming because it was just rest? Yeah, I remember that too.
Turns out, we were all wrong. Carmelo Anthony, who recently played 30 minutes in the All-Star game, just underwent season-ending surgery that will sideline him for the next four to six months. Wow!
The issue is that Anthony at one point knew that surgery was imminent, but somehow his desire to play in the NBA All-Star Game because it was in Madison Square Garden was of the utmost importance. What does this tell you? He is blatantly sending the wrong message to his team. As a leader on this Knicks roster, your job is to do what’s best for your organization. If you’re hurt, don’t play; if you’re not, suit up!
The season is over and their best bet is to land the number one pick which would enable them to pursue Jahlil Okafor, who is averaging 17.9 points on 66% shooting, 9.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest for the Duke Blue-Devils. They are also in position to reap the harvest of cap flexibility this upcoming summer.
All along people thought it wasn’t a terrible idea for Anthony to continue playing because we thought the recovery time wouldn’t be too long. Now, he’s set to resume basketball activities around August, and if he experiences any setbacks, he might not even be ready for training camp. Are you kidding me?
So what Carmelo Anthony has essentially done is that he’s made it conspicuous that he doesn’t mind that he may have jeopardized his teams future success because playing in an exhibition game was far more fulfilling at the moment. If my star player is so vehement about putting on a show in a meaningless game than he is about preserving himself for the benefit of my team, that’s not just an indictment on him, but it also reflects on MY organization.
Which brings me to Phil Jackson, who should also be vilified for this. Jackson in a press conference upon breaking the news of Anthony’s surgery said that it was Melo’s decision to continue playing and hold off on surgery. Really Phil? You are the one with the power as Dolan saw to it to relinquish all player personnel authority to you and the best you have to offer is, “This is his choice?’ Bananas.
Over the past summer, the Knicks signed Melo to a five-year deal worth $124 million after he went on a free-agency tour in an attempt for teams to garner interest for the 12-year veteran. Ultimately, he bought into the system and plan of the recently hired President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson. Phil signed a five-year deal worth $60 million. Collectively, these two individuals are owed $184 million over the next half-decade.
If I were a fan of this team, I would be excoriating these two to the superlative degree. There is no way you can look at the direction of the Knicks organization, devoid a championship title since 1973, and think they are primed for glory days. They brought in Phil Jackson and so far he has been abysmal.
The best-case scenario is that Melo returns to 100 percent and the Knicks land marquee free agents. But if he’s not ready for training camp, and somehow you hear players hint that they didn’t sign with NY because of their aversion to how the whole knee situation was handled, suggesting that it served as a deterrent, the media should scrutinize him forever.
There is no defense to this kind of egregious behavior and New York fans are too passionate and have been too patient to be subject to this kind of foolery.
How important was playing in the ASG? Melo shot 6-of-20, scored 14 points and had a negative plus-minus of 9. His East team lost the game and in the end, it had no impact on the NBA season. This isn’t baseball, where the mid-season classic determines who gets home-field advantage in the final round of the playoffs. Even so, if it was set up that way, what difference did it make for a 10-43 Knicks team who are going nowhere near the postseason?
Congrats Knicks fans. The city may never sleep, but your team is awful and somehow this new regime gives you the feeling that the front office needs some much needed sleep, a nice long nap, until next season, then maybe, just maybe… they can do something right. Aberration much?