Carmelo’s Thirst for Cash Contradicts Miami’s Thirst to Win
But at what cost?
Forget about the players the Knicks gave up, what about the money?
Prior to the Carmelo trade, the Knicks got the chance to sit in a room with Anthony and have a conversation with they player to see where his mind was at. Clearly, in the interest of the Knicks, Knicks brass must have asked Carmelo whether he was willing to wait out the season and allow the Knicks to sign him without having to give up anybody in a trade.
Clearly, the answer was no. It had to be. Otherwise, the Knicks would not have traded four starters to land one guy.
So the question is, why? Why would Carmelo say no to that? Especially when waiting to go to New York in free agency was in the best interest of the Knicks, which means it was in the best interest of Carmelo’s on-court success, should the Knicks be the team he goes to.
As is the answer to most things, the reason Carmelo forced the Knicks to pay too much for Carmelo is because of money.
Money won out again, as it usually does in the NBA. Carmelo did not want to go into this off-season without a new deal, knowing that possible NBA CBA talks could result in him losing as much as $30 million over the life of his next contract, during a time that would be his prime earning years. Carmelo didn’t want to risk losing that much money just to make his future team better, so he told the Knicks to make a trade for him now or that he would indeed sign a contract extension to assure himself the 3-year, $65 million deal that he had left on the table for quite some time.
So we have a quintessential, “he did it for the money” situation here. Carmelo tapped the Knicks of all their talent so he could get his money and have his way. Now, I’m not going to get into whether or not that was the right thing to do, because I can’t sit here and judge a man for demanding his worth. However, I will compare Carmelo to some of his NBA basketball contemporaries.
It wasn’t even a year ago that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all decidedly took less money to play with the Miami Heat. If you don’t recall the particulars, let me tell you what they are. LeBron James and Chris Bosh could have signed six-year contracts worth $125 million. Dwyane Wade could have signed a contract worth even more since he wasn’t changing teams. Instead, Bosh and LeBron signed contracts worth $15 million less than the max, giving them each $110 million, 6-year deals. Wade took an even bigger cut, signing at $107 million for six years.
To add to that, they didn’t just take those cuts to play with each other, they took those cuts to bring in additional role players. Pat Riley first got the three to take less money to bring in Mike Miller. And Dwyane Wade implored Bosh and LeBron to take even less money to keep Udonis Haslem, and to demonstrate his belief that Haslem would be a stellar addition to the team, Wade volunteered to give up more money than Bosh and LeBron.
That’s what the three stars of the Miami Heat did to do everything in their power to put together the best team they could this past off-season. However, Carmelo took another route.
When faced with the opportunity to risk some cash, albeit an unknown amount, Carmelo essentially said, “No thank you.” He said “no thank you” to having Danillo Gallinari hit threes. He said “no thank you” to having Wilson Chandler play defense with him. ‘Melo even said “no thank you” to having a big man like Timofy Mozgov or a quintessential Mike D’Antoni point guard like Raymond Felton.
Carmelo did, however, say “thank you” to a boatload of cash and a stripped down Knicks team, which last night, wasn’t even better than the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Again, I’m not questioning Carmelo’s decision, it’s totally understandable to take the option with more money over less—everybody across the world makes similar decisions everyday. However, in this new NBA, in which three of the NBA’s top 15 players decidedly took less money to make the best team possible makes it hard for players to make money-based decisions that will help their team win championships.
Speaking of championships, perhaps that’s something Carmelo didn’t consider when opting for more money. Moving past the fact that Carmelo’s decision resulted in the loss of valuable Knicks players, how about the fact that Carmelo’s large contract may prevent the Knicks from landing the third superstar that they need in order to win a championship over the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. Of course, Amare Stoudemire’s contract is just as much of an issue, but Stoudemire was never in a real position to choose to talent over income. Carmelo was explicitly faced with the decision of letting the Knicks keep their players or at least signing for less than the max. He chose neither.
So, I leave you with this question? Did Carmelo’s thirst for money cost him and the New York Knicks organization a championship? It’s quite possible that it did. Only an NBA Finals victory will give us the true answer to that question, but much like the likelihood of the Knicks having the room to sign a third superstar, the Knicks odds to win a championship under a new CBA aren’t looking too good in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony trade.
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