Albert Einstein quoted that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” The New York Knicks All-Star small forward Carmelo Anthony can easily slip into this characterization with the decision he makes this summer.
On February 2001, Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks from the Denver Nuggets in a multi-player deal at the expense of key players Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, not to mention valuable draft picks (including a 2014 first-rounder) for New York. Since the trade, the Knicks have won125-112 games; this season they are 22-40 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference due to key injuries, team mismanagement, and a lack of a winning focus.
Anthony can opt out of his three year/$64.2 million dollar contract with the Knicks at the end of this season. If the seven-time All-Star wants to win right now, he has to leave money on the table (the Knicks can offer Anthony $30 million more than any other team) and search for a contender. Carmelo will be 30 years old on May 29th and in his prime as a player. It will take the Knicks at least three years to reach the level of a playoff team again; they won’t have cap room to sign another star player for a year and they traded every draft pick they’re permitted to until 2018.
Playing for less money for another team shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Anthony. He’s finishing his 11th season in the NBA and has been paid approximately $135 million, almost $10 million more than LeBron James, who is playing for less money while appearing in three straight NBA finals and winning two of them. Anthony’s off-court income from endorsements and other enterprises was recently estimated to be $8 million annually. His wife, Alani “La La” Anthony, is a television personality – bringing in even more cash into their household.
Right now, the Chicago Bulls looks like the best team for Anthony. They have everything in place to be a true playoff contender for years to come, but they are in desperate need of a pure scorer, and Carmelo definitely fits the bill. For that move to happen, Chicago’s ideal cap number would shove Anthony’s pay check down greatly.
The Bulls are speculated to amnesty Carlos Boozer to shed the $16.8 million due him in 2014-15. They would also have to renounce cap holds on players such as Kirk Hinrich, D.J. Augustin, Nazir Mohammed, and a few other players near the bottom of their payroll. Without losing the nucleus of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj GIbson, Jimmy Butler, and Tony Snell; the Bulls may only be able to offer $11 million or $12 million in starting pay, accumulating to about $52 million over four years. That’s even a lofty discount from approximately $95 million over four years if he maxes out with a new team.
Anthony should have learned from the recent history of what happened to the Knicks during his trade, tearing down a roster too much can send a team backwards before they can move forward. There has to be a move that makes sense and serves the needs of both parties.
Carmelo’s decision will tip the scale at either staying in New York and getting richer, but getting stuck in a repetitive losing cycle (which is insane), or taking less money and going to a contender that needs his scoring ability and accomplishing something he is not used to doing – winning playoff games and eventually a championship.
The choice is yours Carmelo.