Following the completion of The Basketball Tournament final, an event which he helped bring to his native Baltimore, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony sat down with Scott Van Pelt to talk about his future.
Let me just start off by saying that growing-his-hair-out hippie Melo is right up my alley.
Clearly stoned, wearing red and black and white, guess who's a Blazer next year pic.twitter.com/taxkDtSqrD— Corbyna Smith (@corbinasmith) August 4, 2017
(Only in our dreams, Corbin.)
After months of silence, Melo was in full diplomat mode, claiming that both he and the Knicks—particularly recently-hired GM Scott Perry—at the very least have an understanding.
"There've been plenty of conversations that have been had on both sides. I think we both know where we stand as far as myself, as far as the Knicks organization. They know how I feel. I know how they feel. We have been in communication. At this point, I want to see what happens. I just want to enjoy my offseason despite everything that's surrounding me.... I've had great conversations with new GM Scott Perry. He understands my mindset, where I'm at. My career right now, what I'm looking for. Things were put on the table. It was great dialogue, great conversations from both sides. Respectful from both sides.''
The word “respectful” is key here, I think. Gone are the days of the caustic Phil Jackson tweets followed by Charley Rosen hit pieces. Gone are the days of Melo responding via Instagram memes. That was perhaps Phil’s biggest weakness as a team president—so many executive decisions took on a petty, occasionally personal bent, aired out in public for all to see. You can get rid of J.R. Smith without blaming his relationship problems for his struggles. You can put Melo on the trade market without comparing him to a player who washed out of Georgetown in the ‘80s due to a coke habit.
The Knicks and Melo remain at an impasse—he only wants to go to Houston, and they don’t want to cripple their salary cap even more by taking on Ryan Anderson’s deal. Melo is well within his rights to exercise the no-trade clause he negotiated for in good faith, and the front office is likewise within their rights not to deal him for a crappy return. These are all business decisions, and for the moment, at least, both sides are treating it as such.
Will that last? We can only hope.