Friday, June 13, 2014

Carmelo Antohny Leans to Opting Out, First Challenge for Derek Fisher

Even with Phil Jackson running the show atop a Madison Square Garden office/suite, and even with a new coach in Derek Fisher it is not enough to persuade Carmelo Anthony from opting out of his contract with the New York Knicks.

Sources confirm that even with the Knicks best offices to keep Anthony in New York for another year, it may not be enough. Anthony wants to test the free agent waters and see how much he could make.

It would be an unsurprising turn of events if Anthony decides to leave New York for greener pastors. While he would lose out on making $23 million if he remains in his contract this season, and could potentially lose out on a more lucrative deal if he resigns a major contract with the Knicks, he could end up in a better situation to win a championship at this stage of his career.

The Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavareicks, Miami Heat, and even the Houston Rockets are all in better position to win now as compared to the Knicks. The Mavs can offer Anthony the opportunity to play with Dirk Nowitizki, the Bulls can give him Derrik Rose, Jokim Noah and Carlos Boozer, and the Rockets could give him Dwight Howard and, yes, Jeremy Lin. However the Heat might be the more intriguing play.

With Miami down 3-1 in the NBA Finals, and the Big Three they signed four years ago about to hit free agency again, the Heat are more likely to rebuild their team around LeBron James. While James will likely test the waters himself, it is not likely he will make the same mistake he did four years ago. He is going to want stability at this point in his career, and nothing is more stable for LeBron than South Beach. If LeBron stays put, why wouldn't Anthony go there and replace D-Wade as Miami's Robin to James' Batman?

It would make sense.

If Anthony does leave New York it would be perceived as big strike against Jackson and Fisher. Fisher is trying to establish himself as a first time coach the way Jason Kidd did so successfully in Brooklyn. He needs to have star power to make it work.

Fisher would love to have Anthony around; he would make his job easier. It will be hard enough for Fisher to run a team on the court where Phil Jackson will get the credit for every victory by a silly media. 

At the same time, lets remember that Anthony hasn't exactly been Dr. Clutch the past few years for the Knicks. While he has been the catalyst that kept a bad Knicks team alive this year, he wasn't the sole reason for any postseason success before.

Losing Anthony won't be the worst thing, as painful as it sounds now, because losing his salary would give the Knicks some flexibility to go out and get players that fit the Phil Jackson brand.

So if Anthony and the Knicks move on, as painful as it would seem, it could be the best for both sides. We'll wait and see how this saga plays out. Remember Anthony has until June 23 to tell the Knicks yes or no.

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