As the Chicago Bulls picked up their ninth win in the last 10 games on Sunday afternoon, the freefall of the New York Knicks continued as they lost their sixth straight and third straight in humiliating fashion; all of which were nationally broadcasted.
Even with teams like Milwaukee (11-47) and Philadelphia (15-45) sharing the same conference, the losses have only helped to make the Knicks one of the league's laughingstocks.
“It’s embarrassing. It’s frustrating; the outcomes of the games,” Carmelo Anthony said after the 109-90 loss that kept New York from making any ground in trying to claim one of the conference’s last two playoff spots. “Teams win and lose night in and night out, but just the way that we’re not approaching the game from that standpoint with a winning attitude. It’s just not happening. I know I’m rambling right now but it’s just frustrating. I don’t like being embarrassed like that.”
This has little to do with the Bulls in terms of playoff standings and potentially a lot to do with the future as Anthony can and will hit unrestricted free agency this summer. The Bulls like many teams are sure to show their interest in bringing Anthony aboard.
There’s been plenty of embarrassment lately for Anthony and the Knicks. On top of the team’s struggles, last week Anthony’s teammate Raymond Felton was arrested just hours after a loss to Dallas and charged with two counts of felony possession for ownership of an unregistered, armor-piercing firearm that he allegedly waved around in an altercation with his wife.
Felton’s future aside, the embarrassing and frustrating outcomes might continue with the Knicks in no position to acquire or move talent this summer and the core of the team all set to be under contract next season.
There were fans who showed up to the United Center to make their want for Anthony known by way of signs and even some wearing custom-made Anthony Bulls jerseys.
“I saw a couple of those tonight,” Anthony said. “I can’t even see next year. I can’t even see tomorrow at this point. It’s hard for me to focus on that while going through this journey right now. I’m just trying to stay with it, stay focused and stay positive throughout this situation.”
The Knicks can offer Anthony more money ($30 million more) and an extra guaranteed year. They also can make promises of aggressively pursuing top talent in the summer of 2015 when the needed cap space to do so. He’s sure to have organizational control – like a voice in who is the next head coach – that he wouldn’t in Chicago and he would remain the franchise player of the league’s most valuable team – currently valued at $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.
While this sounds good to most, Anthony will turn 30 in May and another wasted season trying to shoot his team to victories while waiting on others to make decisions to come and play with him doesn’t sound too reassuring giving the Knicks history.
The Bulls would have to do some maneuvering to be able to sign Anthony in the summer and they might have to depart with a fixture in the current core, but without losing too much, it could place Anthony in a position with a hard-playing supporting cast, a superstar-level point guard in Derrick Rose, if he returns healthy and arguably the game’s best coach who can and will demand that he dedicates himself to areas that help team success rather than individual.
While he can’t look forward to the future now with games continuing to come his way, it was hard for Anthony not to compliment the style of play that has Chicago 21-8 since the start of the new year.
“They’re always going to be there and compete, play hard; for whatever reason that is,” Anthony said. “I don’t know if it’s Thibs system, but for whatever reason, they’re always going to be there competing.”
And isn’t that all Anthony should want at this point?