At a certain point, the Knicks have to stop being a comedy show and start being a respectable franchise. No, they won’t be able to rebuild without the constant ridicule of anti-NY fans, media and Twitter trolls, but that’s what comes with playing in New York. When you wear the colors of those high-profile pro teams from the concrete jungle, a target is automatically on your back.
Melo knew it when he took the money and decided to re-sign with New York instead of Chicago or some other “contender.” Phil Jackson knew the risks, having won a championship here in the '70s.
Now it seems as if these two temperamental men -- both legends in their own minds at the very least -- can’t find a way to lift NY out of the NBA abyss. When Jackson signed on for the job, making the Knicks championship contenders in The LeBron James Era was already a long shot. Then, Golden State started collecting All-Stars while the Knicks added a 7-foot-3 rookie to ball with Melo in hopes of at least ascending to a respectable position in the East.
There was optimism, but everyone and their mama knew the Knicks were far from reliving their most recent glory in the '90s. The Knicks had to clean the cupboard to get Melo, so he already started with very little. They overrated his attractability and ability to lure free agents to NY, and they underrated his unwillingness to set a rugged defensive tone or change his game for the good of the team.
Not to sound redundant, but they also never put anyone around him. Not anyone who could help him defeat the Miami Heat or Celtics or Cavs during that span. So now, the frustration has bubbled to soap opera levels, where Phil Jackson has his ghost-writing lackeys send subliminal messages through the press about a possible trade involving Melo.
Then that infuriates Melo, who has spent the last two seasons insisting to anyone who will listen that he wants to finish out his contract with the Knicks and build a winner. Melo feels like he's damned if he do and damned if he don't.
The Knicks are just damned.
If Melo stays or if he goes, the Knicks still won't be that good as currently constituted. And the tension is obvious.
At least the two bosses finally had a pow-wow. And despite everyone else in the world making destination plans for his future, Anthony reiterated that he wants to stay in The Big Apple, but he isn’t happy about how he’s been treated since Jackson touched down on the scene.
Jackson and Anthony had a meeting on Tuesday, and the New York Knicks Top Dawg asked Melo whether or not he wants to remain with the team, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. Anthony reportedly had to ask twice to get Jackson to talk to him, and he publicly expressed his frustration about Jackson's friend, Charley Rosen, writing that Anthony has "outlived his usefulness in New York."
There is no word yet on what Anthony told Jackson or how long their conversation lasted, but it was reportedly "far more contentious than previous sit downs between Jackson and Anthony." According to ESPN, the last time they talked before this, regarding Jackson criticizing Anthony on CBS Sports Network, it only lasted "a few moments."
It was a losing situation for everyone from the beginning. Phil wanted Melo to be MJ or Kobe.
Save for some offensive explosions, three modest playoff appearances and that Atlantic Division title back in 2012 under Money Mike Woodson, the Carmelo Anthony Era has not brought Knicks fans much luck or much success.
The team hasn’t brought him much help. A bunch of broken down, diminishing veterans who treat the Knicks as a high-paying retirement home, where players can suck away their final days as reputable NBA ballers in the losing comfort and low expectations of New York.
Did you ever think that in New York, where the media pressure is incomparable, fans don’t stand for perennial losers and coaches get the hook quicker than a bases loaded situation in the ninth, that Knick fans would come to accept mediocrity?
Well, Knicks fans moan and complain about everything from defense to ownership to their aging superstar player Carmelo Anthony. Let’s not even revisit the Derrick Rose AWOL situation. That’s like some Twilight Zone stuff. The only person, place or thing that gets a pass is Kristaps Porzingis. However, the morale in the Knicks community has gotten so low that most fans just want to see a competitive game at this point.
The life is being sucked out of the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” And most folks outside of NY are enjoying the hell out of the Knicks’ futility, so the only people that can help them are themselves. There’s absolutely nothing going on right now with the Melo-Phil drama and Rose’s fragile mental state and Porzingis’ suspect feet to give any indication that the franchise is going anywhere but further into chaos.
With all of the resources the Dolan's have and the Knicks being worth as much as any NBA team despite their losing, the franchise is truly one of the modern day sports tragedies in America.