Carmelo Anthony will turn 33 by the time next year’s postseason comes around. The forward is entering the final phase of his career and could take extreme steps to get closer to that elusive championship.
Even though Anthony, a native of New York, has reiterated time and again that he wishes to stay with the Knicks for the rest of his career and pursue banner No.3 for the illustrious franchise, the possibility of the All-Star bolting for a championship contender cannot be ruled out.
Anthony still has three years left on the five-year, $124 million contract he signed in the summer of 2014.
Since Anthony would be 35 during the final year of his contract, it’s likely that he will pick up his $28 million player option for the 2018-19 season.
But if the Knicks begin the 2016-17 season on a poor note, expect Anthony to waive his no-trade clause by December, asking to be shipped to either the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers or even San Antonio Spurs.
Even though the aforementioned teams won’t have the salary cap to absorb his $24 million salary, Anthony asking to be traded could trigger all kinds of possibilities.
One source points out that Anthony has never been more desperate to contend for a championship. He’s nearing the “now-or-never” phase and could be willing to agree to a buyout with the Knicks just to get his foot out of the door.
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Even if the Knicks wish to trade him, they can’t do it without his consent.
Despite New York’s wide-ranging offseason season moves, which includes the acquisitions of former All-Stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, besides the additions of Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee, they are not guaranteed to seal a playoff berth this coming season.
Jennings, Rose and Noah are all trying to make comebacks from career-threatening injuries.
In fact, ESPN’s summer forecast projects them to finish with the 9th seed and a 40-42 record.
The reality is if New York begin the season 10-25, they would much rather get rid of Anthony’s massive contract and build the team around Kristaps Porzingis and add younger talent around the Latvian.
If president Phil Jackson could have both Anthony and Rose’s contracts come off the books for 2017-18, he’d open up a ton of cap space to pursue the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who headline the class of 2017 free agents.
Carmelo Anthony’s future in New York rests on how well the Knicks begin their 2016-17 campaign.