League Rules Could Push Knicks to Sign Former Franchise Cornerstone

Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

Getty Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony of the Los Angeles Lakers fight for position.

Though the New York Knicks may only utilize nine players in their regular in-game rotation, they will soon be forced to make a few additions to their current assortment of talent.

Per league rules, every organization is required to carry a minimum of 14 players attached to standard contracts and, as a result of the February 8 trade that brought Josh Hart to the Big Apple in exchange for an outbound package consisting of three players, Tom Thibodeau’s club currently only carries 13 of such individuals.

According to Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors, teams who dip below this threshold are permitted a two-week window to try and fill their vacancies, and, for the Knicks, their deadline to do so is scheduled for this coming Thursday.

With this, some individuals, such as the Twitter account KnicksMuse, have suggested that this could prove to be an opportunity for the team to reunite with their former franchise cornerstone, Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony served as the focal point in New York for seven seasons from 2011 through 2017 and registered stellar averages of 24.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.0 steals on 44.3% shooting from the floor and 36.9% shooting from deep throughout his tenure.

On top of his per-game accomplishments, the forward also came across six-straight All-Star nods, two All-NBA selections, a league scoring title, and found himself finishing third in the running for the MVP award for his efforts in 2012-13 where he guided the Knickerbockers to the second seed in the Eastern Conference standings and a trip to the second round of the playoffs, making it their only semifinals appearance since the 1999-2000 season.

Currently a free agent, Anthony last saw himself suiting up for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the 2021-22 season, where he averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game on 44.1% shooting from the field and 37.5% shooting from distance and finished fifth in the league in total bench points scored.

Knicks Fans Open to Reunion

In the comments section of KnicksMuse’s post, several users were found gleefully discussing the concept of Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks possibly reuniting.

“God bring back Melo please,” tweeted one individual.

One user even took it upon themselves to suggest that the entirety of the fanbase wants to see the 38-year-old back in the Knicks jersey.

“You know who we want,” tweeted another user, accompanied by a gif of Anthony in a Knicks jersey.

The concept of seeing a reunion between Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks in 2022-23 is certainly nothing new, as ESPN analyst Bobby Marks got this proverbial ball rolling dating as far back as August 2 when he noted that a return to New York “is Anthony’s best option.”

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report even went as far as to report back in August on his “Please Don’t Aggregate This” podcast that he has “certainly heard that Carmelo’s got interest in a reunion,” thus only furthering the notion that the idea of seeing the two sides once again team up is far from new.

Knicks Guard Predicted to Win Illustrious Award

Now in his third season in the association, combo guard Immanuel Quickley is finding himself putting forth career-high averages seemingly all across the board and simultaneously has proven to be an integral part of head coach Tom Thibodeau’s nine-man rotation.

Not only has his production swayed the Knicks away from their reported willingness to move him from earlier in the season, but SNY’s David Vertsberger predicted in a February 20 piece that it could end up leading him toward the 2023 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.

“In his past 30 games, Quickley has averaged 15.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists on 47.8% shooting from the field and 39.1% from 3, turning around a slow start to the season. He’s been pivotal to the Knicks’ winning ways, especially on the defensive end as an elite-level pest. His performance is giving him a real case for the Sixth Man of the Year award,” Vertsberger wrote.

On the season, the 23-year-old is sporting averages of 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 35.2% from deep and ranks third on the team in box plus-minus rating out of those who have logged 1200 minutes or more.

Should Vertsberger’s prediction become a reality, and Quickley winds up taking home the illustrious hardware come year’s end, it would be just the fourth time that a member of the Knicks was awarded the title of Sixth Man of the Year, with the others being Anthony Mason (1994-95), John Starks (1996-97), and, most recently, JR Smith (2012-13).

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