Ahead of Thursday night’s matchup between the New York Knicks and Miami Heat, plenty of questions loom over superstar Carmelo Anthony and his future with the beleaguered New York franchise.
At 21-36 the Knicks are 15 games below .500 and five games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 25 games left in the regular season.
Anthony has never missed the playoffs once in his 10-year career, but missing the postseason for the first-time could seriously affect New York’s chances of re-signing the career 25.3 point scorer.
This summer Anthony can opt-out of his current contract and hit free agency, much like Miami’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. However, Anthony’s name has been the one most tied for a change of scenery with the Knicks struggling to create any sort of championship momentum.
The Knicks can offer Anthony one more year and $30 million more on any new contract, and the 29-year-old said earlier this month that he would take less money if it could help New York sign a free agent.
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However the Knicks salary cap is loaded with bad contracts, namely the remaining year and $23.4 million owed to oft-injured forward Amar’e Stoudemire as well as Andrew Bargnani and J.R. Smith.
Thus New York won’t have any real cap space until 2015, which means Anthony will likely have to wait a full season for a legitimate running mate to done orange and blue with him.
There are plenty of pros and cons to both staying and leaving the Knicks. New York represents the big market Anthony craved while he was in Denver, but the franchise’s above mentioned salary cap issues are a major sticking point.
Especially when the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls are likely to have enough cap space to outright sign Anthony if he opts for free agency this summer.
Knicks fans have another four months before they really have to worry about Anthony leaving, but a bad loss to Miami could keep New York in a downward spiral and make Anthony’s decision to leave much clearer and easier.
Nevertheless, the question boils down to yes or no.