Howard Beck: ‘Another Year Lost For Melo If He Stays With Knicks’
John Feinstein opened Monday’s segment with Howard Beck with a question. Only this time, the question had a catch.
The question: On a scale of 1-10, how surprised are you that Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks?
The catch: If you go higher than zero, Feinstein said, I’ll be stunned.
“Can I go minus-1?” Beck, an NBA insider for Bleacher Report, asked on The John Feinstein Show.
Yes, you can!
“Okay, cool,” Beck said, chuckling. “Yeah, this was expected, obviously. The Knicks did make a little bit of a pitch to say, ‘Hey, maybe opt in or don’t opt out. Stay the extra year. Finish out the contract and see where you stand a year from now’ – which had a lot of logic to it for both sides, frankly. I think it would have been a smart move for Carmelo competitively if he wants to stay with the Knicks to let them see what they can do in the meantime and have him come off the books the same time as Amare Stoudemire and (Andrea) Bargnani and Tyson Chandler next summer and then he could be part of that whole scenario where they have cap room.”
“(But) you understand it,” Beck continued. “He just turned 30 and this is the last big contact of his career as an elite player. He’s not going to be in his prime necessarily when this contract’s over, so it does make sense financially at least to opt out now and lock in the security. But I think if he wanted to stay with the Knicks and give him max flexibility and give himself a chance to see where they’re headed under Phil Jackson, he could’ve not opted out and let that play out. But that’s a moot point at this point.”
The most money, of course, involved staying with the Knicks, but will Anthony do that? Or might he want to play for a team in better position to win a championship?
“This is a really interesting question,” Beck said. “Because at one point, you would have said, ‘It’s a no-brainer. The Knicks can offer the most – five years (and) $129 million under a max deal. Nobody else can offer more than about $96 million over four years, and in the NBA, we know that the money usually talks, and guys usually stay put.
“However, this is not the usual scenario for two reasons,” Beck continued. “Phil Jackson has already indicated he wants Carmelo Anthony to take a pay cut. How steep? We don’t know. But he doesn’t want to bring him back at the max salary – nor should he, by the way. If they give Carmelo the max, they’re just doing the same thing they’ve always done, which is locking themselves up to a player who’s not worth a max deal (and) they’re putting themselves behind the 8-ball with regards to the salary cap, hamstringing themselves and making it that much harder to get the talent around Carmelo Anthony. And by the way, if they did that, he’s going to be making nearly $30 million at age-35. That’s not a wining formula.”
“That’s the first consideration. The other one is, I think Carmelo Anthony has to think beyond the money this time. He’s made over $136 million, I think, in his career. He’s 30 years old. He’s never won anything. He’s been out of the first round twice in his 11-year career, and this might be the time for him to consider whether the money is more important (than his) legacy. What’s he want to be remembered as? What does he want to accomplish before this is all over? This is the last chance to really decide that for himself.”
“And if he goes to Chicago, if he goes to Houston, he could link up with some other great players (and) established teams and be a much better postseason presence and maybe have a chance at a title. If he stays in New York with J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton for another year, that’s another year lost – and you don’t know what you’re getting in 2015 in free agency.”
“So the Knicks’ advantage on the money side might not be as great of an advantage as people made it out this time.”