Why Are We All Acting So Surprised?

By John Schmeelk
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This summer I really tried to make myself a promise that I wouldn’t address Carmelo Anthony’s impending opt-out and free agency until the season was over.

Thanks to Carmelo’s foolish interview with the New York Observer, I’m being forced to break that rule in October, before the season even begins.

The fact this is a back-page story is infuriating for a couple of different reasons. The first was that Melo was dumb enough to say he wanted to be a free agent to begin with. He has said numerous times he has no interest in discussing his impending free agency and should have stuck to that rule. Allowing for the fact that the interview was conducted back in September, Anthony has to realize that anything he says about wanting to enter free agency is going to be blown out of proportion.

Hopefully this is a lesson he’ll carry into the regular season. Hopefully he’ll keep his mouth shut.


Just as annoying is the media making his statements out to be a big deal. Anyone who thinks Anthony is going to sign an extension before the season ends is fooling themselves. He maximizes his potential earnings by waiting until the summer to cash in on a new contract. Based on his actions when he was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks, this will be his highest priority. He won’t sign an extension during the season and sacrifice his maximum payout. The CBA (much like the potential lockout three years ago) dictates Anthony should wait until the summer to re-sign with the Knicks.

This is neither a surprise nor a big story. It’s simple cause and effect.

(A quick aside, wouldn’t it have been nice if Anthony had this desperate yearn to go to free agency the year the Knicks were forced to trade for him? That would have been really convenient. Strange how he only wants to test free agency when it allows him to get the most money. Shocking, I know.)

Even with Carmelo’s statements, the odds are overwhelming that he remains with the Knicks. Money talks and no team can offer more than the Knicks. The media enjoys stirring Knicks fans into a panic because it sells papers. Whether the Knicks should give Carmelo a max contract that would pay him more than $25 million per year is a topic for a different blog. In that regard, I’ll keep the promise to myself not write about that until the Knicks’ playoff prospects are extinguished.

Very quickly, some notes on the Knicks’ preseason win last night:

– Both Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni had to leave with elbow injuries. Prigs doesn’t seem too serious but Shumpert appears to still be up in the air. He hurt his shooting elbow and I wouldn’t be shocked if he misses a few games. If Prigs is healthy, he’s the obvious candidate to start. The Knicks says they haven’t scheduled any additional tests, but with the organization’s injury history, that really means absolutely nothing. Who needs a MRI machine when you can keep your fingers crossed, anyway?

– Anthony and Andrea Bargnani look like they will be able to play offense together quite efficiently. When Tyson Chandler left the floor, however, the Knicks’ defense turned into a disaster with Anthony and Bargnani at power forward and center. Both players are fine playing their man, but struggle terribly in help situations, leading to open layups and three-point shots. Perhaps Mike Woodson’s biggest challenge this year will be figuring out how to use both these players on the floor at the same time.

– Tim Hardaway Jr. looks very good so far in the preseason. His shot has been far more consistent than advertised when he was drafted, and he has shown good basketball instincts and IQ. He’s making a case for being in the rotation until J.R. Smith returns from injury. The one thing he still needs to improve on is his ball handling to get to the basket. He also had a nice pass to a teammate on a cut to the hoop, showing good floor vision as well.

– Ike Diogu appears to have the leg up for the final roster spot since the Knicks need depth in the front court behind Tyson Chandler. If Shumpert’s injury is serious it might change their plans, but Diogu has shown the ability to rebound and finish around the basket. He is undersized, however, which might open the door for Cole Aldrich, a true center who could back up Chandler.

You can follow me on Twitter for insight on the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and everything else in the world of sports @Schmeelk.

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