Carmelo Anthony recently expressed remorse about being part of yet another losing season with the Knicks and the jealousy he had for his more successful peers like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. It was a very honest comment for Anthony to make. The Knicks are wasting his last remaining prime years during their quasi-rebuild and he could perphaps waive his no trade clause to help New York find him a better situation in the offseason.
But Anthony apparently has different plans for New York's upcoming offseason. He wants to help the Knicks recruit free agents and has already started making a pitch to Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo. Anthony believes that Rondo would be the perfect point guard for the Knicks and since they both attended Oak Hill Academy, he thinks that gives New York an upper hand when it comes to wooing the Kings guard.
In a candid session with a couple of reporters Monday — still four months from the beginning of New York’s offseason-of-reckoning — Anthony professed his desire to increase his role in free agency, and started it with a public pitch for point guard Rajon Rondo.
“Put me at the head of the (meeting) table,” Anthony said. “And let’s go to work.”
“I think Rondo — just me personally, I don’t want to be tampering — but I’ve heard he said he wouldn’t thrive in a system like this,” Anthony said. “I think he’d be perfect in a system like this.”
Anthony then refuted the idea that the triangle isn’t a system for ball-dominant point guards, or averse to those like Rondo who aren’t good shooters but create through penetration.
“It is a misconception about that. Some of the keys of our offense is penetration, getting in the paint,” Anthony said. “Pushing the pace, transition. Creating in the paint for bigs, for yourself, everybody else. I think a point guard would love that. Especially a point guard who can penetrate, create for yourself, create for others. I think it’s a perfect opportunity for him.”
If Anthony is indeed committed to the Knicks, then having him be their No. 1 recruiter is a smart tactic. He can use his first-hand experience to extol the virtues of playing for the Knicks. Plus, Anthony is a superstar in the league, so his words should carry some weight and free-agents could be wooed by the prospect of playing with an All-Star like 'Melo.
The idea of adding Rondo is an intriguing one. He would definitely be an upgrade over Jose Calderon and while Jerian Grant has shown some promising signs, his game is still developing and he probably can't handle a full-time starting role by next season. The Knicks also reportedly added Tony Wroten on Monday, who will definitely spend some time at the point guard spot as well.
The problem with Rondo is that he may demand too large and long of a contract for the Knicks to handle. At 30, Rondo is still a capable guard but he seems to be already past his prime. He went to the Kings to resurrect his career after a poor showing with the Mavericks last season. Rondo has had individual success with the Kings, and he is seen again as one of the better point guards in the league, at least offensively. Based on his success this season, Rondo is looking for perhaps the last long-term deal of his career this summer.
Meanwhile the Knicks, despite the presence of Anthony, are a rebuilding team, hoping to build around rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis. It would appear to be more beneficial for New York to continue developing Grant and even Wroten, or get a point guard younger than Rondo in free agency to team up with Porzingis. While the Knicks could probably afford Rondo, especially with the increasing cap space, it may not be beneficial for them to be tied long-term to him.
Anthony may just have to face the fact that the Knicks are not a championship team and adding a player of Rondo's caliber won't change that. If Anthony is content in New York and wants to finish out his contract with the Knicks, then he should as a recruiter help the Knicks get young talent that he can help mentor as Porzingis develops and takes on a larger role. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but if he wants to stay with the Knicks, it is probably the best course action for the team to take. And Anthony will have to decide if he wants to be around for New York's slow rebuild or not.