Dollars & Sense – Why Melo Was Right for Re-upping with Knicks for 5 Years, $120M+

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Earlier today, Carmelo Anthony confirmed his decision to resign with the Knicks for a five-year deal that will reportedly be under the maximum $129 million he could have received. With that move, Melo’s worth was immediately re-evaluated. From the perspective of Chicago Bulls fans, he transformed from the missing piece to their championship aspirations to an athlete simply concerned about money over a winning legacy. Knicks fans are mostly happy to have back our most consistent player, but there is a vocal minority among us who blame Melo almost exclusively for last season’s failures. Through it all, Carmelo Anthony is back with the Knicks, and despite what you’ll read from other disgruntled fan bases, it was the right move.

 

1. THE CHICAGO BULLS ALTERNATIVE

The Bulls are a well-coached team that has had their potential hampered by injuries to their most dynamic player (Derrick Rose) and a horrid contract (Carlos Boozer). For the last three years, they’ve failed to attract a consistent scoring threat to take some of the pressure off of Rose. In that regard, you can’t blame them for looking at Carmelo Anthony as a savior. In Melo, they would have one of the deadliest scorers in league who could thrive in the post, from mid-range, or as a catch n’ shoot option on the three-point line.

But if you look at it from the supposed “win now” angle that the Bulls were selling, problems start to arise. The first issue is Derrick Rose himself. Melo forced himself to NY three years ago on the gamble that his co-star, Amar’e Stoudemire, would be able to share the offensive load with him. That has been the furthest thing from the truth, with Stat having to undergo back and knee surgeries. Add to that the minute restrictions and we’ve seen Melo essentially be forced to carry the team.

How does that tie back to Rose? Consider the fact that as hobbled as Stat has been over the last two seasons, he’s still played more games than Rose, who went down early last season with more knee problems following a previously missed season for ACL damage. By coming to the Bulls, Melo would have basically put himself at the mercy of Rose’s health. If Stoudemire’s recent years have taught Melo anything, it’s that knee problems rarely go away. A move to Chicago presented a strong possibility of not only replicating his last few years in NY, but also with a substantial pay cut (over $30 million dollars).

 

2. STOP THE NONSENSE OF GETTING YOUR WORTH= “BEING GREEDY”

The only fan I excuse for having that “stars should take less money” mentality are teenagers who have yet to enter the workforce. I cannot fathom how any working adult can share that stance.

Let’s do a quick scenario. You walk into your job with a potential raise on the table after years of hard work, building your skills/resume etc. However, your employer tells you that it would be easier for the company’s tax bottom line if you not only didn’t take the raise, but took a pay cut. Most of us would balk at our salaries being reduced $5000 per year, let alone the millions we expect NBA players to give up. Remember — more money, more problems. Just because they have a higher pay grade doesn’t mean they don’t have higher expenses and family obligations to take care of.

I say all that to drive home the importance of this contract for Melo. At 30 years old, this is very likely the last time he’ll be able to generate money on this level. Furthermore, he’s one of the few players that deserves it based on his skills and level of play. Yes, he’s not as good as LeBron. But in a league where the likes of an Avery Bradley can command $8 million per year, are you really going to try to argue that Melo, who averaged 28 points and 8 rebounds last year, isn’t worth a max salary or close to it?

 

3. A TRIANGLE WITHOUT A DYNAMIC SCORER?

It’s no secret that Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher are looking to implement the triangle offense. Every championship version I’ve ever seen of the triangle had a dynamic scorer. Melo fits that perfectly. Yes, I understand the skepticism that he can adapt to it. However, those thinking Melo isolations were his idea need to remember the track record of his previous Knicks coaches (D’antoni, Woodson). Melo has yet to have a competent coach or system here in NYC. Not to mention, last year had several players post career-lows in scoring (Felton) and shoot awfully for the majority of the season (Shumpert, JR). Iso Melo wasn’t simply the first option — it was damn near the only option due to how inept our offensive sets were under Woodson.

 

4. THE OTHERS

Aside from the Bulls, Melo also had the Lakers and Rockets on his free agency list. LA is crippled by Kobe Bryant’s contract and have no prospects of improving their roster anytime soon. Outside of maybe getting Lala a few more movie roles, the Lakers made no sense. The Rockets would have been an interesting mix, but I believe watching Harden’s style of play flame out in the playoffs probably deterred Melo from seeing a Houston signing as really creating another “Big Three.”

 

5. OUR MOVES AREN’T FINISHED

Resigning Melo was just one of the steps on Phil Jackson’s agenda. As noted a few days ago, he’s begun looking at potential trades that can ship out the real albatross contracts on the books in Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani. But unlike past regimes, Phil is being patient. He wants to develop our younger players and is totally against shipping out guys like Tim Hardaway Jr. just to rid the team of Bargnani or Stat.

Let Phil do his job. The man got rid of Raymond Felton for Christ’s sake. I have full confidence we’ll see another big move or two in the coming months and very likely during the season as well.

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[Video] Carmelo Anthony Talks Opting Out and Free Agency Decision

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Just one day after officially opting out of the last year of his contract with the New York Knicks, I’m already over “Melodrama 2014.” Unfortunately, the drawn-out process has just begun. For Knicks fans, don’t give up hope yet, as this interview with Vice Sports shows that Melo is still leaning towards staying home. In this short but informative video, Melo talks about his family loving New York and dismisses the much-reported story that his main reason for opting out is that he wanted to “win now.”

One very important thing to keep in mind — this video was reportedly filmed on June 3. A lot could have happened with Melo’s mindset in the last 21 days.

[Video] For Pride Only: Knicks 100, Bulls 89

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The was an overall somber mode last night at MSG with the Knicks playing their first game since being bounced from playoff contention. It was also the first time in Melo’s career that he hasn’t led his team to the playoffs. So how did the team respond? It’s not a big consolation prize, but New York put together one of their better defensive efforts of the season, holding the Bulls to 39% shooting and getting several emphatic stops in the 4th quarter to seal a 100-89 victory.

Melo, still nursing a bum right shoulder, managed to be very productive in his limited 28 minutes, notching 17 points and 3 assists. He had a lot of help tonight with three additional starters hitting double figure scoring, Iman Shumpert (10 points, 7 rebounds) providing strong perimter defense, and Tim Hardaway Jr. (20 points) serving as a 4th quarter closer by hitting four key free throws and a three-pointer to hold off a late Bulls run.

To contend with Chicago’s frontline, Coach Woodson wisely gave Cole Aldrich 18 minutes. The big man didn’t disappoint with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. It makes you wonder how much of a difference he could have been if Woody has played him more after Kenyon Martin went down.

The Knicks are off to the Barclays Center to face the Nets on Tuesday night.

Bulls Snap Knicks Win Streak, Sweep Season Series

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All good things must come to an end. After weeks of stellar play, the Knicks fell into some bad habits last night (cold shooting, bad perimeter defense) and had their 13-game win streak snapped by the Chicago Bulls, who seem to have had their number this season. Even with all our bigs out, Melo having his first off night of April, and having to start Chris Copeland at center, the Knicks were still within a jumper of winning this.

ALL IS WELL THROUGH 3 1/2 QUARTERS: The Knicks came out strong in the first quarter behind their three-point shooting and jumped out of a 23-6 lead. Copeland in particular was hot behind the arc. The Bulls went on an 10-0 run to get back in it, but the Knicks kept them around the five-point deficit mark through halftime (59-54).

In the third, Copeland heated up from three again and got a fourth foul call on Luol Deng, The Knicks went up by as much as 77-62 midway through the third and seemed to be on their way to a nice victory until two-plays started the slow downfall.

THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT, PABLO!: Pablo Priginio threw two telegraphed passes that were picked off by Jimmy Butler for fast-break dunks. From there the momentum shifted completely to the Bulls. The Knicks guards of Kidd, Felton and Prigioni started losing Robinson badly on screens and gave up countless three-pointers. Next thing you know, the Bulls had gone on a 16-3 run to end the third and  the Knicks were clinging to a 82-80 lead.

MELO NEARLY SAVES THE DAY: The Knicks picked the worst time in the fourth quarter to start bricking their shots. It wasn’t like it was all due to the Bulls defense either — guys like Kidd and Felton got wide-open shots out Melo and JR double teams. On the other hand, Nate Robinson continued his hot hand from the second quarter on and hit a three to extend the Bulls lead to 97-90.  However, a 15-6 Knicks run tied it at 105 with the Knicks in possession with a little over a second left. Melo got a good look at a long jumper, but failed to convert.

The way the Knicks had been playing, this was their best shot to pull this out. The jumpers still weren’t falling in overtime and the refs swallowed their whistles (particularly Joey Crawford), who seemed to have a grudge against JR Smith for his complaining at the lack of calls inside. As a result, the Knicks were outscored 13-4 and ended up losing 118-111.

NOT WORRIED: We were due for a bad game and considering it was a nine-man rotation without our best defensive players (Martin, Chandler). And when you let Nate Robinson score 35 points off the bench, you’re giving yourself a hard time to win. This was the first time in a minute that Melo was forcing it (13-34, 36 points), but he really had no choice with the rest of the team outside of JR shooting so poorly.

Copeland had a good first half, but went 4-14 overall and couldn’t hit anything over the second half. And when Copeland isn’t scoring, you’re not getting anything but blown assignments on defense.

The Knicks get a chance tonight to start another little streak to end the season when they face the lowly Cavaliers. NY already holds two wins over the Cavs this season.