Carmelo Anthony Should Have Shut It Down Earlier


Jacob Langston

Carmelo Anthony should not have risked further injuries by continuing to play until the All-Star Game, even if it took place in New York this year. (Photo Courtesy of Jacob Langston/Orlando Sentinel via TNS )


On paper, it makes perfect sense for Carmelo Anthony to have played in the 2015 All-Star Game. New York has not held the All Star game since 1998, and the fans want to see the biggest (and really, only) star of the New York Knicks represent the host city. Anthony himself said that it is ridiculous to think he missed games earlier in the season just to play for the East. Yet all of these reasons to play, in reality, are reasons the Knicks should have had him sit out.

Anthony is the only player on the Knicks that is definitely in their long-term plans. Having just signed $124 million for a five-year contract, the Knick’s number one priority should be to rebuild around him. That requires keeping him healthy, and playing one more unnecessary game simply for his star power is another risk to further aggravate and prolong his injury. The Knick’s season has been, in all honesty, lost for months. As soon as it was known that the team’s biggest star for the next five years requires surgery, he should have had it and begun recovery.

That brings us to the next issue with keeping Anthony going for the All-Star Game: it prolongs his recovery. Anthony himself said that he has been hurt since the beginning of the season, and the idea that he sat games out just to make it to the All-Star Game is ridiculous. The key point is that he has been hurt since the beginning of the season. So the surgery that followed his All Star appearance could have been scheduled and finished months ago. Anthony could have been healthy before the season ended, and either come back to give fans a high note to end on or had more time to get in shape for the next season.

A healthy Carmelo Anthony serves more than one purpose as well. The Knicks, more than any other team in the league, need to persuade some high profile players to come to New York. Aside from Anthony there is no well-established, highly productive player on the Knicks roster. Their best shot of landing some stars in a city desperate for something positive to cheer for is offering high contracts, and the chance to play with one of the best scorers in the last decade. But Anthony is only an effective tool for convincing free agents if he is healthy and effective on the court. Had he taken care of the injury earlier, sitting out the All Star game in favor of his health, Anthony would be ready to go by the offseason. Now, any potential free agents signing will have to take it on faith that Anthony is going to be 100 percent in 2016. Phil Jackson will manage to rebuild the roster to some extent but the quality may suffer.

The fact is that, with or without Anthony, the All-Star Game is a huge event for basketball fans, and there would not be a shortage of viewers and ticket buyers. If it has been 17 years since Madison Square Garden hosted the event, fans won’t pass this year up over one player alone. Playing in just one more game may not seem like a huge deal, but when all the time that the Knicks could have saved in bringing their best player to full health is considered, the focus should be on why the Knicks did not shut him down before the All Star votes even came in, rather than whether or not he should have participated in the one All-Star Game.