Eastern Confernce Exec Urges Knicks to Avoid Nostalgic Reunion

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

Getty Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

When a team is starved of success, it’s only logical that they look to nostalgia to inject a feel-good factor into the fanbase and raise excitement for the upcoming season.

According to reports, the New York Knicks are considering just that, as they discuss the notion of bringing Carmelo Anthony back to Madison Square Garden ahead of next season. However, the Knicks should look no further than Kemba Walker if they wish to learn a lesson about nostalgic storylines turning sour.

And, according to an Eastern Conference executive, who spoke to Heavy.com under the condition of anonymity, the move wouldn’t benefit either the Knicks or Anthony at this point in their timelines.

“They’re considering it, a lot of teams are. He shot the ball well and he is a minimum (contract) guy. Every team is going to talk about him ahead of free agency. It would be a surprise. It would not be something that Thibs wants. He was not crazy about the Kemba Walker thing, but the Knicks had it as a homecoming thing and a good story but you saw how that worked out. So you bring in Melo and he is a defensive liability, Thibs does not play him and all of a sudden that becomes the story, just like with Kemba.

Melo needs to go to a better team (than the Knicks) where he is not a distraction. If he leaves L.A., Brooklyn is a lot more of a possibility. Remember, he almost went there once before, Kevin Durant wanted him to come and the team said no. The way things have gone there, as much BS as he put up with last year, it might be time to do something KD wants. So if Durant still wants Melo, I don’t see how the Nets pass on that,” The executive told Heavy’s, Sean Deveney.

While the Knicks might feel that some additional veteran leadership is needed for their young roster, there are other options available that wouldn’t involve the fanfare that bringing Anthony back to New York would generate.

Anthony Still Has Plenty to Offer

Looking beyond the nostalgic aspect of bringing Anthony back to the Knicks, it’s clear that he’s still got plenty to offer, and would easily improve a team’s bench. Despite the Los Angeles Lakers‘ disappointing 2021-22 season, Anthony proved himself as a viable rotation option, and will undoubtedly have his pick of destinations around the league.

In his 69 games for the Lakers last season, Anthony provided 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and an assist per game while shooting 37.5% from deep on 5.8 attempts per game, and 44.1% from the field.

Sure, Anthony is at the tail-end of his career, but having a veteran who can still give you that type of production off the bench is a luxury few teams can boast of, and if he could sustain that type of production for the Knicks, he would rapidly improve their rotation – assuming he would buy-in on the defensive end of the floor.

Giving the Young Core Developmental Minutes

Unfortunately, a player such as Anthony commands a certain amount of playing time, even at this late juncture in his Hall of Fame-worthy career. The Knicks are in the early stages of a rebuild and look to have embraced the draft and developing talent from within.

As such, every high-potential player on their roster requires playing time, as it’s the fastest way to expedite their on-court development. So, while Anthony could ensure the Knicks make the playoffs – even as a low seed, his presence could hinder some of the team’s younger talent in the short term.

Regardless of if the Knicks do bring Anthony back or not, the front office clearly has a long-term plan for getting the Knicks back into championship contention, and it’s unlikely they make a move that hinders their progress.

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