After all the waiting and debating, Carmelo Anthony has decided to remain with the New York Knicks. This past weekend, Anthony, 30, signed a five-year deal worth in excess of $122 million.
And he’s being widely criticized for it.
Anthony was being courted by Chicago, Dallas and Houston – three teams contending for a championship – and denied them all. Heck, he even passed up on the opportunity to join forces with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.
Home may be where the heart is, but in this case, it’s also where the money is – and Anthony chose money over winning.
Is it fair to criticize him for that?
“Yes, it absolutely is,” Bleacher Report NBA senior writer Howard Beck said on The Damon Amendolara Show. “I’m making that criticism myself in a column that is yet to post. I don’t mean it as criticism personally. To me, it’s a missed opportunity. It’s a shame. He’s 30 years old. He’s done nothing.”
By “nothing,” Beck means that Anthony has advanced past the first round of the playoffs just twice in his 11-year career. For a guy who fancies himself a top-five player, that’s petty terrible.
“We talk about LeBron’s legacy all the time,” Beck said. “Carmelo Anthony came out the same year as LeBron did and was compared to him when he first came out. He’s got no legacy to speak of. He’s been to one conference finals – five years ago. Reputations are built in the playoffs. He has not done that. His best opportunity was to go to Chicago, join Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Tom Thibodeau. Whatever the financial sacrifice might have been, it’s not for me to say whether that’s right or wrong. But if you want to win, that was your best opportunity to win. Hands down. There’s not even a debate there.”
“The Knicks, if they make the playoffs next season, they’re going to be a 7th or 8th seed, at best, and a first-round out,” Beck continued. “And there’s another year gone and he’ll be 31 by then. They have cap room in 2015, but there’s no telling whether they’ll get somebody or not. The Lakers just showed that you can be the most glamorous franchise in the NBA and have cap room and still have no one come and take it.”
“So there’s no guarantees. He did take the money over winning. I’m not judging him based on the money. What I’m judging him on, if anything, is if you want to win badly enough, this isn’t about competition. This is about achievement. This is about legacies and what you leave behind and how people remember you as a player. Do you want to be remembered as just a great scorer? Or do you want to be remembered as a winner? He had that opportunity in Chicago, and he passed it up. I think it’s a shame. I think it would have been a lot of fun to watch him with the Bulls.”