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‘Melo says he wants to be a free agent but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving New York

Oct 16, 2013, 6:31 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony AP

The conventional wisdom around the league is Carmelo Anthony isn’t going anywhere.

Sure, anything is possible, and it is extremely likely he opts out of his deal and becomes a free agent this season. However, after how hard Anthony worked to get traded to New York, how he likes being the biggest star of the team in heart of the nation’s biggest city, and when you think about how big five-year max deal will get for him ($29 million at age 35, in what will be a Kobe-like cap crippling deal), you understand why when you talk to people around the league and they think he likely stays where he is with a new five year deal.

That said, he wants a taste of free agency.

He admitted as much to the New York Observer for a story, but then was quick to quell the idea he was looking to bolt New York to win in Los Angeles or anywhere else.

“I want to be a free agent,” Anthony tells me, as our cigars burn close to the nub. “I think everybody in the NBA dreams to be a free agent at least one time in their career. It’s like you have an evaluation period, you know. It’s like if I’m in the gym and I have all the coaches, all the owners, all the GMs come into the gym and just evaluate everything I do. So yes, I want that experience.”

Take a breath, Knicks fans. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving.

“I came to New York for a reason,” Anthony adds. “I’ve been with you all my life, almost to a fault. I wanted to come here and take on the pressures of playing in New York. So one thing I would tell my fans: If you haven’t heard it from me, then it ain’t true.”

Fans might be wise to remember that as a storm of rumors circle around Anthony this season. There are going to be reports about how he is frustrated or how he wants out. The only thing we know for sure is that he will opt out next summer — it is the smart business move — but that is very different from wanting to bolt town.

Even if he stays, the hard truth of it all is it will be difficult for New York to construct a championship team around him — the Knicks are not title contenders this season, they are largely locked into the same roster next season, then in 2015 they will have some cap space (how much remains to be seen and depends on things like Anthony’s new contract). However, luring a star to pair with Anthony will not be simple. It is the reason Steve Mills is in and Glen Grunwald is out of the GM chair in New York — Mills has good contacts and relationships with players and agents.

On top of it all, there are a lot of people around the league who are convinced Anthony’s volume scoring style of play is not something you can build a title contender around.

Anthony has heard it all, and he understands the pressure that comes with being who he is in New York.

“People in New York, they expect higher than they should expect, let’s just be quite frank,” Anthony says. “Which is good. That’s what makes New York New York. But it was like, O.K., maybe I gotta put another layer [of skin] on.”

He’s got that. And it’s highly unlikely he takes it off to go anywhere else next summer.

  1. antistratfordian - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    So he wants to go to the Nets?

    You can build a contender around Melo. You just need Phil Jackson and prime Shaq or younger Pau Gasol.

    • kb2408 - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      I beg to differ in regards to a younger Pau. As good as Melo is, he ain’t Kobe.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM

        2012-13 Melo with prime Pizzau and Phil Jackson is a contender. The Melo of last season – the guy who somehow kept LeBron from a unanimous MVP – was every bit as good as Kobe has been since 2008.

        And no one can get chuckers to stop chucking for the greater good quite like PJ.

      • kb2408 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:21 AM

        At no time in his career has Melo been as good as Kobe. Maybe in scoring but never as good of a basketball player.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:57 AM

        Melo is clearly nowhere near as good as Kobe. Never has been. Even at his advanced age, Kobe was better than Melo last year.

      • zoomy123 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:59 AM

        Statistically speaking, there’s really no difference between Melo and Kobe. Carmelo Anthony is a poor man’s Kobe Bryant: he’s not as athletic, not as good a passer, and not as good a defender but every bit the volume scorer.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:54 PM

        “At no time in his career has Melo been as good as Kobe. Maybe in scoring but never as good of a basketball player.”

        “Melo is clearly nowhere near as good as Kobe. Never has been. Even at his advanced age, Kobe was better than Melo last year.”

        Both comments are just factually wrong. Do you want me to start throwing numbers at you that you will not be able to refute? It’s been years since Kobe was exactly as good as Melo was last year.

    • cambo0019 - Oct 17, 2013 at 3:04 AM

      Ok, you’ve proven your point…….clearly you make comments like this to agitate lakers/kobe fans. You articulate negative points about him so much that you’ve proven that you either don’t like him or you just enjoy firing ppl up?

      Don’t you get bored doing the same thing day after day?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        Why would this comment agitate Lakers fans? I don’t see anything wrong with that comment. When Kobe won his last two rings he was about as good as Melo was last year… just a fact. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

  2. mackcarrington - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Does he need to be a free agent for the Knicks to pay him max money?
    If not, what would be the point of him “shopping around” if he knows he’s not going anywhere?

    • lmoneyfresh - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      He wants to be wined and dined. We all know that Melo loves it when people worship Melo.

      • elcapitanfiscal - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM

        I agree..this dude thinks hes way better than he really is.

      • cruzan80 - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        Just like LBJ, Wade, Amare, Bosh, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Josh Smith, Dwight Howard. Steve Nash & basically every single NBA “star” who had the chance to become a free agent you Melo hating joke.

      • cruzan80 - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Duncan was literally wined & dined in Orlando by Doc Rivers & Grant Hill….he resigned with the Spurs. Jason Kidd was literally wined & dined by Pop & Duncan in San Antonio….he resigned with the Nets. Deron Williams got wined & dined by Dallas just last season….resigned with the Nets. Players do this all the time….there’s no news here…..unless LBJ is on your team….THEN you should worry.

      • lmoneyfresh - Oct 17, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        So you point out that maybe half of those players actually staying with their team is no reason to worry? Not your best point chief.

      • cruzan80 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        My point was all NBA stars want to be “wined & dined” at some point in their career…Melo isnt the only player who loves being “worshiped”. Like I pointed out in another post….Tim Duncan (arguably the most humble athlete on the planet)….was literally wined & dined by Orlando when he 1st became a free agent. So based off your logic I guess Duncan clearly just wanted to be worshiped by Doc Rivers & Grant Hill…being the ego maniac Duncan clearly is….right? Really, I just wanted to point out how much of a Melo hating comment that was to make. The FACT is he isnt doing anything that practiaclly every single star player in the NBA has done before & theres nothing wrong with that in my opinion. Its the one time in their career that they get a real idea of what their value is to the rest of the league. As Melo pointed out “It’s like you have an evaluation period.” Got it now……chief?

  3. mackcarrington - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Doesn’t this prove that these guys are egotistical divas? He wants everyone to grovel at his feet
    even though he knows he not going to leave the Knicks?
    “Yes, I want that experience.”
    Why would a GM waste the plane fare to massage this guys ego?
    I just don’t understand this.

  4. themagicfanguy - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Please, please stay in NY. I enjoy watching him play, but I’d never want him on my team.

  5. kb2408 - Oct 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    If the LAKERS are really interested in Melo, his staying with the Knicks could be a blessing in disguise. The last thing I want to see as a diehard LAKERS fan is for them to sign a “so-called” franchise player long term who can not take us to the promised land (Dwight). I am a fan of Melo’s but I just don’t view him as the type of player that can lead a team to a championship. Not a knock against him. He’s a great “scorer.” James Worthy is my 3rd favorite LAKER (behind Magic and Kobe) but I just don’t think he could’ve carried the LAKERS to championships. I’d rather have an average LAKERS team for a couple of seasons than for them to hitch the wagon for 5 years to a player that probably won’t take us to the promised land anyway. In L.A. Melo would be “expected” to lead the LAKERS to titles. Next season I think he’ll be 30. Now, if we’re talking about a 30 year old LeBron that’s a different story!!

  6. talkingfan - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Get real NY, he just wanna score nothing Denver has been much better since he left and you will to. Don’t spend max dollars on him.

  7. legend30 - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Miami or New York. Most likely he will re-sign with the Knicks.

  8. money2long - Oct 16, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    with all the rumors that always come about with a big name entering free agency , i love what melo said…
    “If you haven’t heard it from me, then it ain’t true”

  9. elcapitanfiscal - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    If Melo was really all in with the Knicks like he says, he wouldn’t be wanting to be a free agent. .

    I have a feeling he will bolt, but I feel bad for the team he goes to because hes not going to win you any rings, this guy is NOT a good team leader or championship material

  10. gdub520 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    i am probably way off base here, but i think that a contender or maybe even a champ can be built with melo. he has shown an ability to fit in with the olympic teams he’s been on, scoring when called upon. if you build a team that has the right players in the right positions, a good inside player, better and tyson chandler who isnt much more than a shot blocker and ocassional rebounder. another guy who can grab boards. and good point guard and good 2 guard i believe melo can be used and allowed to do what he does best: shoot the ball. he is a good small forward, can shoot from deep and can post up. get other guys to play the right roles and you can win with melo. i’ll take him on the lakers as a piece to rebuild for the next few yrs

  11. chargerdillon - Oct 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Please please please please please DO NOT come to the Lakers.

    The Lakers already know how to not play defense.

  12. kastout11 - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    He is a great offensive player, but will never win a title in NY or somewhere else, unless he plays with Lebron in Los Angeles.

  13. billsfanaddict - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    well yeah no duh
    he’s already proven he wants as much money and control as humanly possible and doesnt care what exactly it does to the teams hes on
    oh… im sure he’d like to win a championship, so would i, so would anybody, but there a grand-canyon-caveat, he just wont sacrifice [or stay focused on D] to do so

  14. mcsuave - Oct 17, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Big time scorer who never improves the players around him. Knicks gutted there roster for him and are in a precarious situation again. Maybe they should look at trading him as Denver did. Model worked for Denver. Also can free cap space to make run at others. We would hit the Lotto if he and Lebron opted out and switched teams.

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