Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knows Carmelo Anthony well. He coached him for just one season in college, but the two remain close. Anthony said earlier this week he leans on Boeheim for advice.
So what would Boeheim tell Carmelo to do this summer during free agency?
“What I would tell him is what I’d tell any [great] NBA player. If you’re a great player in the NBA, for you to be recognized as a great player, you have to win a championship. It’s as simple as that. And I think you have to put yourself in the best position possible to win a championship,” Boeheim said on "Jim Rome on Showtime" -- echoing comments he made earlier this month on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show."
So where does that leave the Knicks?
“I think Carmelo loves New York but I would tell him let’s try to get someplace where you can win this thing,” Boeheim said.
Ouch. Boeheim's words are open to interpretation, but it seems he’s telling Anthony to leave the Knicks.
Boeheim was asked by Michael Kay if Anthony can win a championship in New York.
"Everyone I've seen win an NBA champoinship had a great player with him," Boeheim said, implying that Anthony's lacking one with the Knicks. ".... I think Carmelo wants to play in New York. He wanted to come there. I think he likes playing in New York. I think he would stay in New York if he’s got a chance to win.... He’s gotta try to go and play where they could win a championship or else he's going to be (viewed as) a failure."
It's worth pointing out that Anthony can make more money if he re-signs with New York instead of another suitor. With the Knicks, he could ink a five-year contract worth $129,135,806. If he signs with another team, the maximum he can earn is $95,897,372 over four years, according to calculations by ESPN salary-cap expert Larry Coon.
But do the Knicks give Anthony the best chance to win a title? That’s very much open for debate, and it’s a debate that Knicks backers are likely to lose.
New York has little to no wiggle room this summer to make wholesale changes to the roster, unless general manager Steve Mills can swing a trade.
If not, the Knicks will have to wait until the summer of 2015 to overhaul the roster. That summer, the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler come off the books, giving the Knicks enough cap space to pursue a big-name free agent.
Who knows whether that will be enough to compete for a title?
Anthony has said that winning a championship will be his sole focus for the remainder of his career. So it's sure to be a top priority for him this summer during free agency.
He also said he consults Boeheim for advice.
“He’s a guy I kind of bounce a lot of stuff off of, just get his opinion. I think he’s a great guy to have to pick his brain and get some insight on things. He’s a guy, he’s going to tell you straight like it is,” Anthony said. “For me, that’s probably one of the best people that I can talk to because he’s going to give it to me straight up, right or wrong.”
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.