What will you remember about Carmelo Anthony’s time in New York?
Beyond a trip to a bodega in a bathrobe, the answer is a little more complicated than anyone hoped for at the outset of this marriage. The Knicks brought a merciful end to the Melo era on Saturday after swinging a surprise deal with the Thunder. Safe to say, it had been a long time coming.
2017 has been many things, and in the Knicks’ case it has been rife with trade rumors and organizational change, with Phil Jackson making an exit, and Anthony now moving to Oklahoma City days before the start of training camp. How did we even get here?
Well, let’s take a look. We'll being last season, for convenience’s sake.
December 8, 2016
We were a quarter of the way through the 2016–17 NBA season, and the Knicks were 12–10. Things weren’t that bad, except that LeBron James and the Cavs had just smacked them around at the Garden for a 126–94 loss the night before, a game in which the Cavaliers would make headlines for...attempting to flip a water bottle on the bench during garbage time.
Then, then-Knicks president Phil Jackson did what became an infamous interview with CBS Sports, in which he made the point that Carmelo tends to hold the ball too much (true) but that he was capable of playing a Michael Jordan-slash-Kobe Bryant type role in the triangle offense (RIP). Anthony responded with a pair of ominous, thinly veiled Instagram posts that took shots at Jackson. Then he confirmed they were about Jackson.
January 16, 2017
Carmelo went on record and said that he hadn’t thought about waiving his no-trade clause. The Knicks were 18–23.
The next day, reports trickled out that Anthony told Phil Jackson in a meeting that he wanted to stay in New York, following a column by noted Jackson mouthpiece Charley Rosen that stated Anthony had “outlived his usefulness” as a Knick.
Melo eventually responded that if the Knicks wanted him gone, “that‘s a conversation we should have.”
January 25, 2017
ESPN reports that the Knicks approached the Cavs with a trade proposal built around Anthony for Kevin Love, pairing Melo with close friend LeBron James. In the days that follow, the Celtics and Clippers will also be tied to Anthony. As the trade deadline loomed and the Knicks continued to lose, these discussions came to the forefront of the rumor mill, despite the fact that Anthony was not an easy fit with any of the rumored teams.
February 8, 2017
Twitterfingers Phil Jackson returns after Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding wrote a column that detailed Anthony and Jackson’s relationship — and suggested Melo didn’t have the desire to win.
You don’t change the spot on a leopard, eh?
February 23, 2017
The trade deadline passes. Melo remains in New York.
April 15, 2017
The Knicks’ season came to another underwhelming end, and Anthony had just admitted that a trade is totally on the table.
Then Jackson went for it, telling reporters “I think the direction with our team is that [Anthony] would be better off somewhere else.” The NBAPA called it inappropriate. Melo responded with...a meme. Welcome to 2017.
June 28, 2017
The Knicks part ways with Phil Jackson. They eventually replace him with veteran executive Scott Perry, who becomes general manager.
July 24, 2017
Bill Simmons tweets that the Thunder are circling in Melo trade talks.
This came amid what appeared to be serious links between Anthony and the Rockets and Cavaliers, who were viewed as the two most likely suitors and teams who might convince Anthony to waive his no-trade. The Rockets were weighed down by Ryan Anderson’s contract, and the Cavaliers still had Kyrie Irving and were working with a heavy cap sheet. There were rumors that the Blazers were interested, there were rumors that all talks had shut down, but ultimately nothing happened.
Sept. 23, 2017
After a summer of playing pickup basketball in hoodies, Anthony finally gets traded to the Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and Chicago’s 2018 second-round pick. In short...the deal presents new life for both sides.
And then...Phil Jackson tweeted about it. Fitting.