No play for Mr. Gray:
Could Walt “Clyde” Frazier have been alluding to Carmelo Anthony in those Just for Men commercials all along? Probably not, but six years after the fact it’s actually quite fitting. With four years left on his contract, Anthony is right in his prime, but the Knicks have started a rebuilding process that may take a couple of years. Could Anthony’s individual value run out before the Knicks look to grow as a team into a title contender? Frazier thinks it’s a real possibility.
This whole topic of discussion arose during a Q&A with Frazier earlier this week. In the midst of the interview, a very good question was asked about the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis and how that selection fits in with Anthony’s window to be at his best. Frazier answered with hustle and muscle (via ESPN’s Ian Begley):
“I’m sure Melo wasn’t happy. His future is now. You know, he’s not getting younger. This is going to be a pivotal season for him to see really how he fits into the Knick plans and how this is going to go from here. Will he ask out, you know what I mean, if he sees that this is not happening? Because right now the Knicks, [it’s] going to be tough to make the playoffs. They are a few years away and Melo knows that his days are numbered, so stay tuned.”
Frazier is anticipating a potentially awkward situation. Although they have no quotes from Anthony himself, their speculations are valid, especially coming from Clyde. Anthony had the opportunity to sign elsewhere prior to the 2014-15 season, but instead re-signed with the Knicks. Had he gone to a team like the Chicago Bulls, a team that showed interest in signing him, he would’ve had a much greater chance to win immediately.
Anthony obviously made a conscious choice that overruled his desire to play for a new team. The $124 million contract that Phil Jackson offered him certainly contributed to his mindset, as did his loyalty to the city of New York.
But Anthony also probably believed that he had a great chance to win with the Knicks with Jackson running the show as president and Derek Fisher as head coach. A consensus not only among Anthony but among many Knicks fans that entered the 2014-15 season filled with hope. The horrors of a 17-win season quickly erased a lot of hope and had many fans shaken up.
Perhaps Anthony was just as shaken up as the fans. An injury sidelined him for about half the season and was a fresh reminder of the mortality of an NBA star. When healthy, Anthony is still one of the most difficult players to defend, especially one-on-one. But the Knicks will more than likely be a few years away from making a run to the championship, and one has to wonder where Anthony will be at that point in his career.
If Melo wants out he’ll get out. He exhibited that process very clearly when he left the Denver Nuggets midseason and was traded to the Knicks several years ago. Anthony displayed his desires with both his words and his actions. And as many NBA stars do, he got exactly what he wanted.
Will the independence of Melo’s career overshadow the oncoming development of the Knicks as a franchise and force Jackson and Anthony to go their separate ways? Frazier’s comments should cause all fans to at least raise their eyebrows at the possibility.
There are many factors that need to occur though before this potential situation is unveiled. Most important of which is time. So as Clyde said in his interview, “stay tuned” with that situation as Knicks fans wait for the next unclear episode of Anthony’s feelings and the New York media.
In the meantime, the good news is in the same interview, Frazier admitted that Anthony has the best facial hair on the team. If only sources could tell us whether or not Melo uses Just for Men.