As the New York Knicks begin to take stock of a failed season, the front office will be making plans for the future, as they look to return to the post-season at the first time of asking.
While a point guard is the team’s top priority, filling out the bench with additional talent is going to be imperative in helping Tom Thibodeau regain the momentum his team built during the 2020-21 season.
However, with New York in the early stages of a youth movement, they need to be smart about who they add to the rotation during the off-season. Veteran stars Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier both struggled to make an impact this season, and the team’s fortunes only began to turn around once Thibodeau began leaning on the team’s younger contingent of players.
Unfortunately, that means former star Carmelo Anthony will probably not be returning to New York this off-season, and according to an Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Heavy.com on the condition of anonymity, that could be a good thing for both parties.
“With the Knicks, it does not make a lot of sense to bring back Melo if they’ve got Cam Reddish and (Julius) Randle and (R.J.) Barrett and Fournier and Obi Toppin. It’s crowded for minutes. But if they move one of those guys, then obviously he could be a fit, he would be a positive story for them. Until Thibs benches him like Kemba of course,” The executive told Heavy.
Anthony can Provide Impact Off the Bench
Over the last three seasons, Anthony has been a viable bench player for the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers, providing both teams with an offensive punch in limited minutes.
The Knicks, while likely to remain committed to developing the talent they already have at their disposal, could benefit from a veteran scorer that knows how to manipulate a defense. Furthermore, Anthony has become a reliable perimeter shooter, and over the last three seasons is averaging 38.9% from deep on 4.8 attempts per game.
The downside to having such a young roster is that performances will likely continue to be inconsistent over the coming season, and for a coach like Thibodeau who wants to win every game, that might not be acceptable. By adding a veteran or two to the rotation, you can ensure there’s always an old head to help steady the ship and put some points on the board – Anthony provides value in both of these areas.
Anthony Should Chase a Ring
Despite being one of the top-10 All-Time scorers in the NBA, Anthony does not own a championship ring. When the veteran scorer joined the Lakers last off-season, the idea was that finally teaming up with LeBron James was going to give Anthony the championship that has always alluded him – unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
As such, should Anthony decide to continue his playing career, it’s likely he goes to a team that projects to be a contender next season. The 37-year-old has made no secret about wanting to become a champion, and it’s unlikely he starts to compromise on that dream at such a late stage in his career.
Furthermore, there will be multiple contenders who view Anthony’s presence as a positive, both for their young players, the team culture, and as an offensive threat off the bench. But, Anthony will need to ensure that any team he joins is planning on giving him playing time, otherwise, he could end up like LaMarcus Aldrige and Blake Griffin of the Brooklyn Nets who are both watching the team’s current playoff series in street clothes.
Regardless of where Anthony chooses to play next season, it’s highly unlikely that a return to the Knicks is on the cards.