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On the surface, it seems obvious. Carmelo Anthony should pick the New York Knicks.
Anthony, the current Denver Nuggets All-Star forward, would be crazy to pass up a chance to play at Madison Square Garden, in a great city steeped in basketball tradition.
But it's not that simple.
That's why Anthony -- who will likely be traded by the Nuggets before the NBA's Feb. 24 trade deadline -- should meet with New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. Anthony reportedly already met with Knicks owner James Dolan in L.A. on Thursday night.
On Friday, it was also reported that the Nuggets and Nets have the framework of a deal in place. The trade could be made if Anthony agreed to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension.
|Carmelo could really kick-start a new era in New York basketball -- by signing with the Nets.|
Anthony should go for it. Because the Nets -- gasp! -- might be just as good an option, if not better, than the Knicks.
New Yorkers don't want to hear it. Yes, we know. They have suffered so much -- especially the past decade, when such a proud franchise was turned into a laughingstock.
Now here's their chance to land a superstar to play alongside Amare Stoudemire, and yet they haven't made it happen.
Worse, there's a chance the Knicks could lose out in the Anthony sweepstakes to the Nets -- the stepchild, the New Jersey cousin no one really cares about or wants to visit.
The reason Melo shouldn't be so quick to make the World's Most Famous Arena his new home is the results of the past 10 years or so.
Given their resources, their clout and the idea that the league wants nothing more than to have a strong franchise in the biggest city in the country, the Knicks have failed miserably.
Sure, if you want to jump up and down about this season, go ahead. At 28-26 and in second place in the Atlantic Division, they are at least worth watching, unlike the past few years. And it's fun again to go to MSG.
Sadly, though, they are no closer to winning a championship than when Dolan took over day-to-day control of the team.
For all the hopes and dreams about the Knicks, they haven't won an NBA title since 1973. Granted, they made two trips to the Finals in the '90s. Still, you have to wonder if they will ever get it right and be able to win with Dolan at the helm.
For sure, Dolan and the Knicks finally cleared a lot of salary cap room and made a legit pitch for LeBron James this past summer in free agency. They had enough room for two max-contract players, and were able to lure Stoudemire from Phoenix.
But you have to believe that Prokhorov and part-owner Jay-Z will eventually put together a winning team. Prokhorov has the cash, and Jay-Z has the credibility with today's players -- it's a great combo. And soon they will have a showpiece, a new arena, to help recruit the best players in the league.
It's hard for people to get excited about basketball in Brooklyn. It's been talked about for so long. There were so many delays. But it's real, and it's going to happen. The Nets will start playing there in the 2012-13 season.
It will change basketball in New York forever. For the first time, fans will honestly have a chance to choose a basketball team to root for, the way New Yorkers have been able to in baseball with the Mets and Yankees, in football with the Jets and Giants, and in hockey with the Islanders and Rangers.
In basketball, there was never really an option. It was the Knicks, and only the Knicks.
But Melo, who was born in Brooklyn, has a chance to do something special. First and foremost, win. That should be the No. 1 priority.
Secondly, Melo could create his own legacy, and be the building block to something potentially great. How cool would that be for a kid from the Red Hook projects? Today, many of his family members still live close to where the new arena is being built.
Plus, that Anthony jersey with Brooklyn across the front would be the biggest seller in the league -- especially if black is in the color scheme.
And let's not forget the history of Brooklyn, home to 2.5 million people, and pro sports. One of the most famous franchises in this country, the Dodgers, called Brooklyn home. One of the most important athletes in this country's history, Jackie Robinson, also played in Brooklyn.
Either way, Anthony will be in New York.
Yes, Knicks fans, Brooklyn is in NYC. Melo would be smart to recognize that as well.