New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony almost wound up back with the Knicks

Carmelo Anthony is still available, but that might not be the case if things had played out differently in free agency.

There’s a famous quote that goes “if ‘if’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk.” With NBA free agency behind us, the New York Knicks are surely pondering a lot of said “ifs.” According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required), the Knicks “planned to consider” signing Carmelo Anthony if they had landed two top-tier free agents. Of course, that didn’t happen, most notably as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant chose the crosstown Brooklyn Nets.

Anthony last played for the Knicks in 2016-17. He spent the 2017-18 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder after a trade, then the Thunder traded him to the Atlanta Hawks last offseason. After the Hawks waived him, Anthony landed with the Houston Rockets.

But Anthony lasted just 10 games with the Rockets last year, as he averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game over more than 29 minutes per contest. Houston eventually dealt him to the Chicago Bulls in January, but he was waived quickly and did not sign elsewhere or suit up again last season.

The most rumored landing spot for Anthony, due to his friendship with LeBron James, has been the Los Angeles Lakers. In April he did say he hadn’t ruled out a reunion with the Knicks, and it seems that was on the team’s radar too.

Charania quoted a league executive who suggested Anthony could “fill a spot on most second units” assuming a role that “works for both sides” could be found. Anthony once said he would not embrace coming off the bench, but in order to extend his career, that stance will have to change.

Even now, at 35 years old, Anthony’s scoring acumen would make him ideal for a bench role. Over (as an example) 10-15 minutes per game, his noted allergy to defense can be minimized and largely overlooked too.

Next: 5 potential destinations for Chris Paul

Anthony once said he would not embrace coming off the bench, but in order to extend his career that stance will have to change and it quite possibly has. Otherwise, his next move will probably be retirement.

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