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NBA PM: Carmelo Also Downplaying Free Agency?
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On September 12, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
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Earlier this week, we looked at Miami HEAT forward LeBron James’ approach to potentially becoming a free agent next summer; it sorely lacks the intrigue and uncertainty that his last run through free agency in 2010 had. Back then, James was content to play along as it became the biggest story in the NBA for two seasons, but now he wants to finish the season before doing anything other than saying he’s not talking about free agency.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony went through a similar saga, although his did not end in hitting the free agent market. Instead, Anthony made it very clear to the Denver Nuggets going into the 2010-11 season that he was not going to sign an extension. He intended to hit the free agent market, where he could have signed with another team outright while leaving the Nuggets with nothing in return but a vacant roster spot.
In fear of that happening and finding themselves in the same spot the Cleveland Cavaliers were when James left, the Nuggets decided to deal Anthony before the trade deadline. Only, Anthony had all the leverage there as well. Anthony was able to posture his way to the Knicks by making them the only team he would sign an extension with, despite multiple attempts by the Brooklyn Nets to acquire the superstar forward.
Upon being traded to the Knicks in a monster three-team deal that included 12 players and multiple draft picks, Anthony agreed to a three-year extension with an early termination option for a fourth year that will pay him $23.3 million should he decide not to exercise it.
Anthony has yet to officially indicate what he’s going to do, but the logical guess is that he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, if only to secure a new long-term deal with the Knicks rather than listening to other suitors.
There have been a couple of instances where Anthony has made it seem like that may be his plan.
Earlier in the summer Anthony was being questioned by TMZ and responded, “I doubt it,” when asked if he could see himself playing in purple and gold soon.
And then this week, in the most clear cut explanation of his current mindset on free agency, Anthony gave the Knicks his biggest endorsement yet.
“I’m not going nowhere,” Anthony said on Bloomberg Television Market Markers. “That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to New York, just so I could take on those pressures and those challenges. A lot of people do not like to deal with the pressure. A lot of people do not know how to deal with challenge they face. To me, it is everyday life.”
The Knicks are coming off of a 54-28 campaign in which they advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs – their best season with Anthony. While they didn’t have as splashy of an offseason as some of their conference rivals, Anthony is confident the team can surpass last season’s marks.
“I actually see this team being better than last year,” Anthony said. “That’s just my opinion. That’s the way we feel. And if we feel that way as a unit, then there’s nothing that can come between us.”
While Anthony is downplaying free agency right now and making it seem like he is completely committed to the Knicks long-term, the fact of the matter is there’s a lot of time between now and late June, when Anthony will have to make his decision. The story isn’t going to go away and questions will continue to be asked.
There will also be plenty of teams trying to lure Anthony away from the Knicks this offseason; the idea of leaving could be a lot more plausible if the team underachieves in the playoffs, especially if it’s to a team where he has a better chance to compete for a championship.
Rivers Raves About Garnett: When the Los Angeles Clippers originally started talking to the Boston Celtics about receiving the rights to negotiate a contract with Doc Rivers to be their head coach, Kevin Garnett was supposed to be a part of the deal as well.
However, as both sides found out shortly after, the Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits such package deals. Players cannot be traded with coaches and two separate deals that are contingent on each other are not allowed either. So, the Clippers were forced to settle for just Rivers, trading a future first round pick to Boston for his rights; part of the terms of the agreement in order for the transaction to be approved was that the Clippers and Celtics could not deal with each other for a year afterwards. Garnett ended up with the Brooklyn Nets a couple of weeks later, but in his return to the Garden as a part of a charity event Rivers sounded like someone who wished he was still coaching the future Hall of Famer.
“Fans never got to see Kevin’s personality,” Rivers said to WEEI. “I wish the city go to know Kevin more. He’s the single best athlete that I’ve ever been around as far as being a team guy. He’s as ‘team’ of a star as I’ve ever seen. A lot of stars are stars, but he’s unselfish, to a fault at times, but every coach should be able to coach Kevin Garnett just to see what a true team player should be.
“He did a lot of good things that people don’t know. When rookies came in, he would bring them up to my office. He’d sit them down, and then he would bring his tailor in and say ‘If you want to be a pro, you’ve got to dress like a pro.’ And he would buy each rookie two suits, and he did it every year. To me, that says a lot about Kevin Garnett as a teammate.
“He’s full of life and a great guy in the locker room. He’s so unselfish, I think he would have scored another 10,000 points if he wanted. He’s the only player I’ve ever yelled at for not shooting. He always felt like if he took three or four shots in a row, that was too many. He needed to share the ball.”
It’s never easy to move on from a partnership that was as successful as the one that Rivers and Garnett had in Boston, but considering that it had to come to an end, both parties couldn’t have ended up in better situations, even if they’re different.
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