Bill Simmons has written a great piece about Carmelo which is well worth your time. In it, Simmons demonstrates how good Carmelo is, but also correctly lays part of the blame for the Knicks situation on him. It was Carmelo who forced his way out of Denver and forced the Knicks to give up way too many pieces in that trade. If he had waited to be a free agent, the Knicks could have signed him and kept their players and their draft picks.
But Carmelo didn’t want to wait because the NBA lockout was looming and waiting would have cost him money. So he forced the trade, got the big contract, but left the Knicks diminished in the process. That is why Knicks fans were so ambivalent to his free agency. Carmelo made the mistake of talking about how he had been waiting for this opportunity to be a free agent two-plus years after forgoing that opportunity. Knicks fans knew he was going to take the biggest paycheck, it was just a matter of whether or not it would be a sign and trade or a return to the Knicks.
I made the case the other day that if you separated out the execution of it form the actual result, “The Decision” was a great move. It was a superstar player taking less money so he could surround himself with the talent needed to win a championship. LeBron won two and played in two more, that’s great. That’s what Knicks fans wanted to see from Carmelo. We wanted to see him take less and help the team get better. Instead he took $122-million of a possible $129-million. That’s why we aren’t cheering his return.