Not an hour ago, I said in the comments that we're better off just ignoring everything Carmelo Anthony says about the future because it is in his best interest to be vaguely diplomatic and diplomatically vague. He mostly says nothing, and understandably so. Well, Melo just did his All-Star media availability, and while he didn't go out and answer every question on Knicks fans' minds, he did say more than nothing, including:
1. According to Melo, Mike Woodson will not be fired during the All-Star break. It's funny that this is how we hear this (and nuts, if not surprising, that Woodson continues to survive), but I believe Melo.
2. Melo says he knows for a fact that he won't get traded before the deadline. I think we were already pretty certain of that.
3. Melo, for what I believe is the first time, entertained the possibility of taking less than maximum salary from the Knicks to allow them additional team-building flexibility from 2015 forward:
Melo said "without a doubt" he would take less money if it helps give the Knicks flexibility to bring in other players .— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 14, 2014
So, that's nice. That, to me, is the ideal Melo outcome, though the questions of 1. How much less? and 2. Can the Knicks be trusted to get the best, best-fitting value out of that extra money? remain. Melo said some other stuff about free agency today:
Melo said he'll talk to management about players or type of players he wants to play with. if it gets done he'll have a long future in NY.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 14, 2014
Carmelo says his "first priority" is to stay with Knicks. Says he wants to hear from them legit plan and if so he sounds like he stays.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) February 14, 2014
Melo on Sportscenter: "I want to win a championship. If I have to become a free agent in order to do that, then that's what I have to do."— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) February 14, 2014
Melo: "I can’t sit here and say this is my last All-Star Game as a Knick. I’d be shooting myself in the foot by saying that."— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 14, 2014
Carmelo: If it takes me taking a paycut, I’ll be the first one on Mr. Dolan’s steps saying, 'Take my money, let’s build something stronger.'— Scott Cacciola (@ScottCacciola) February 14, 2014
4. Most important, Melo says the Knicks need a mascot. I agree. If I weren't against humanoid mascots, I'd be okay with a life-sized Father Knickerbocker. I'd be happier with a big weird pigeon or a friendly rat.
So, I'm a hypocrite. There are some semi-actual-things from a Melo press conference, and I am reading into them a little because they're relatively straightforward. There are still waaaaaaay more questions than answers, most immediately relating to the trade deadline, but we know a couple more things than we used to. Or at least we think we do.
Update: More from Marc J. Spears