Walt Frazier believes the rafters of Madison Square Garden will be a Carmelo Anthony-free zone.
Walt “Clyde” Frazier never holds back his opinion, and he has a surprising one about Carmelo Anthony. The commentator for all games at Madison Square Garden doesn’t think Melo’s jersey will ever be retired and raised to the rafters.
“Probably not because he didn’t win a title,” Frazier said to SiriusXM NBA Radio on Tuesday. “I’m surprised they didn’t put Allan Houston up there. I’m surprised Bernard King, who is in the Hall of Fame, they haven’t put Bernard up there. So those two guys I think are deserving. Perhaps maybe John Starks. Even the Oak Man, Charles Oakley, but that probably won’t happen with all the stuff he’s done at the Garden. So he’s not held in high esteem right now but I don’t see them putting Melo in there because of that.”
The other retired jerseys include the likes of Frazier, Dick Barnett, Willis Reed, Patrick Ewing, Earl Monroe, Dick McGuire, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and coach Red Holzman. That’s a tough list to crack, and Anthony might have to make a late-career return to a New York superteam to make the cut.
In the interview, Frazier also touched on the fact that the Knicks will need Kristaps Porzingis to come back healthy for any chance of contention next season, and he expressed that Kevin Durant’s championships will have an asterisk next to them because he left Oklahoma City.
The Knicks will look to sign players like Durant, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler in the 2019 offseason, and, even though Frazier’s not a huge fan of superstars teaming up in free agency, he acknowledges that New York could be attractive for one or two of those players. The Butler-Irving combo seems to be a possible scenario. Butler’s relationship with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Karl-Anthony Towns in particular has grown quite frosty, and the Boston Celtics might trade Irving or let him walk away for nothing if they don’t like the way his knee is recovering.
The Knicks won’t have to make a decision about Anthony’s jersey for a long time, but the bad news for Melo is that Frazier will continually get asked about this in the years to come, especially if he keeps working as a commentator for the Knicks. The best revenge for Anthony would be winning the whole thing next year with the Houston Rockets, because then he’d pretty much guarantee himself a place in their rafters.