Thoughts On the Melo Era

Now that the Knicks have finally found a suitor for Anthony, the book is closed on the ‘Melo era in New York. The Knicks acquired Carmelo in the middle of the 2011 season, and the forward spent 6 1/3 seasons with the team.

Initially after Carmelo’s addition, the team had reached a level of success that eluded them in the decade prior. New York made the playoffs in 3 straight seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2013. However that year would be the high-water mark for Anthony’s Knicks. The team would average only 29 wins over the next 4 seasons, including a franchise low of 17 games in 2015 when an injured Carmelo missed 42 games.

It would seem from these facts that the Knicks were reliant on Carmelo in those years, rising and falling with their leading scorer. However this would be inaccurate. For instance, ‘Melo led the league in minutes per game in 2014, and yet the Knicks still fell 4 games short of .500.

The true story of the Knicks during the Carmelo Anthony era wasn’t defined by Anthony, but by his teammates and the moves made by the organization. New York performed extremely well in 2013 because they paired Anthony with Tyson Chandler, flanked with a young pair of guards in Shumpert and J.R., got career years from Pablo Prigioni, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, a geriatric Jason Kidd, and filled out the depth of the team with players who could give timely production like Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, and Rasheed Wallace.

Unfortunately the year after the Knicks failed to build on their success, because they jettisoned many of these players (either due age, injury, or incompetence) and replaced them with sub-par players. The Knicks only had Chandler for 55 games, while Andrea Bargnani managed to play 1200+ minutes, and the end of the bench was filled with the likes of Beno Udrih, Jeremy Tyler, the animated corpse of Metta World Peace, and Toure’ Murry. The year after Chandler would be gone, Carmelo would get hurt, and the top minute getters for New York were Shane Larkin and Jason Smith. (Good goink Phil!)

The Knicks didn’t fail because of the narratives pushed by media and fans alike such as Carmelo undermined his coaches, his lack of defense, or his selfish play. They failed because the franchise was mismanaged from coach up to owner. The team lacked draft picks to help rebuild, partially because of the ‘Melo deal, but also because of other trades like the Andrea Bargnani disaster. New York had no first round pick in ’12 and ’14 and also had a low first pick in ’13. But their incompetence went beyond the draft as they acquired players (Shane Larkin, Jason Smith, Quincy Acy, Brandon Jennings, Sasha Vujacic, Derrick Rose, etc.) for roles greater than their production should warrant. In other words, they failed at all methods of building a team.


While the price for Anthony was high (and one I would not have paid), the Knicks didn’t seem to suffer immediately after. It could be argued that had the team been run competently from that point forward, the team would have seen a moderate amount of success. Certainly they would have made the playoffs in more than 3 of their years, and absolutely they should have avoided the catastrophic 65 loss season.

For his time in New York, Carmelo Anthony’s production was nearly identical to his production in Denver. The Knicks got the same player they saw in a Nuggets uniform, so it wasn’t a scenario where the star player let them down (*cough* Amar’e *cough*).


Ultimately ‘Melo was neither saint nor savior for this team. But he was not the cause of the team’s downfall either. The Knicks went all-in to acquire a scorer like Anthony in order to win now. They successfully followed that script for a short time, and it appeared the move would pay off for them. However like so many other opportunities in life, the devil’s in the details, and New York squandered their investment by behaving foolishly.

While I doubt that a Carmelo Anthony led team could win a championship, the Knicks could have had more exciting seasons like 2013 instead of what the fans were forced to endure over the last 4 seasons. Too bad ownership and the front office prevented that from occurring. Although given what I’ve seen since Dolan took full ownership of the team, I’m not surprised.

Knicks Morning News (2017.09.29)

  • [ESPN] Melo: Agreed-on Rockets, Cavs deals fell apart
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:32:27 AM)

    Melo: Agreed-on Rockets, Cavs deals fell apart

  • [NYDN] Kristaps Porzingis leaves Knicks practice with sore knee
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 9:24:08 PM)

    Kristaps Porzingis left practice early Thursday with what the Knicks described as a sore right knee.

  • [NYDN] Melo: Separate deals to Cavs with Paul George, Rockets were done
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:38:56 PM)

    Anthony twice thought he was traded this offseason before settling for OKC, including to Cleveland to create a team of super forwards.

  • [NY Newsday] Kristaps Porzingis sits out Knicks scrimmage with sore knee
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 8:28:18 PM)

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — As the Knicks were scrimmaging Thursday, Kristaps Porzingis watched from the side with his practice jersey off. Then he walked to the locker room favoring his right knee.

  • [NY Newsday] Carmelo Anthony talks about trades that fell through
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:00:35 PM)

    Carmelo Anthony revealed that trades that would have sent him to Cleveland and Houston were “done” but he said they fell through. Anthony was ultimately traded to Oklahoma City.

  • [NY Newsday] Lance Thomas emotional about Carmelo Anthony’s departure
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 3:36:32 PM)

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Lance Thomas admitted he “was hurt” when Carmelo Anthony was traded to Oklahoma City, and he’s still emotional about his close friend leaving.

  • [NYTimes] Commissioner Still Expects N.B.A. Players to Stand for Anthem
    (Friday, September 29, 2017 2:23:49 AM)

    The N.B.A. is known for being socially progressive, but Commissioner Adam Silver said the league’s policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem has not changed.

  • [NYTimes] After Kristaps Porzingis Leaves Practice, Knicks Play Down Durability Concerns
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:01:19 PM)

    The Knicks have put their faith in Porzingis, but nagging injuries, including a sore knee that forced him to leave practice on Thursday, continue to hound him.

  • [NYTimes] Sparks’ Alana Beard Finds a Home on the Waves
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 1:43:35 PM)

    Beard, the W.N.B.A. defensive player of the year at age 35, says the “best feeling in the world” comes not on the hardwood, but on a surfboard.

  • [SNY Knicks] GEICO SportsNite: Ntilikina impresses in Knicks’ camp
    (Friday, September 29, 2017 12:36:02 AM)

    Knicks rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina discusses his first NBA training camp with Michelle Yu and being compared to Kyrie Irving.

  • [SNY Knicks] Lance Thomas writes farewell letter to Carmelo Anthony
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 9:05:13 PM)

    Knicks F Lance Thomas thanked former Knick Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday via a letter in Players’ Tribune.

  • [SNY Knicks] Frank Ntilikina got advice from Michael Jordan at 16 years old
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:00:00 PM)

    At the Jordan Classic, the young French prospect got to meet the man behind the brand, Michael Jordan.

  • [SNY Knicks] Carmelo Anthony says Draft night trade to Cleveland fell apart
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:20:18 PM)

    Thunder F Carmelo Anthony said a Draft night trade that would have sent him to the Cavaliers this past April fell apart.

  • [SNY Knicks] Kristaps Porzingis left practice early on Thursday due to sore knee
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:36:33 PM)

    Kristaps Porzingis left Knicks practice early on Thursday due to a sore right knee.

  • [SNY Knicks] Hornacek: Won’t just be Rambis solely running Knicks defense
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 11:05:44 AM)

    Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek has made it clear even before opening night that the team will be coached a little bit differently this season.

  • [NYPost] Knicks catch a break with latest NBA draft rule changes
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 12:01:49 PM)

    The NBA’s attempt to eradicate tanking and teams resting star players has led to some new regulations, but doesn’t seem likely to extinguish either tactic. The league’s Board of Governors passed legislation Thursday on both fronts, according to ESPN. Most importantly for Knicks fans, changes to the NBA draft process will not take hold until…

  • [NYPost] The biggest Kristaps Porzingis fear has already surfaced
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 9:51:35 AM)

    Many NBA personnel men believe Kristaps Porzingis’ durability will be the only thing separating him from greatness. So far the jury is out in that department. Porzingis, who played a lot of basketball during the European championships this summer, left the third day of Knicks practice early Thursday with a sore right knee. He was…

  • [NYPost] Why Carmelo finally caved after Rockets, Cavaliers deals were close
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 9:00:12 AM)

    Carmelo Anthony thought he had been traded twice before he actually was. It was wishful thinking. During an interview on SiriusXM, Anthony said he was under the impression “a trade was in place’’ with Cleveland and “got called off” on draft night in which both he and Paul George were headed to the Cavaliers. It…

  • [NYPost] Michael Jordan’s advice for kid who’d turn into prized Knicks rookie
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 8:26:52 AM)

    Frank Ntilikina, the Knicks’ rookie point guard, thanked Michael Jordan for advice he gave him a few years ago before he played in the Jordan Brand Classic at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — words he’ll treasure forever. In an essay posted on The Players’ Tribune, Ntilikina said Charlotte owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan paid a…

  • [NYPost] Lance Thomas wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Carmelo
    (Thursday, September 28, 2017 6:17:33 AM)

    At least one Knick is going to miss Carmelo Anthony. Immensely. Knicks small forward Lance Thomas penned a gushing, 2,000-word, emotional letter to Carmelo Anthony published in The Players’ Tribune, branding Anthony as an incredible, unsung leader, forever his idol, and sharing an anecdote about him schooling a boastful young Knick who challenged him to…