By: Opinionated MJ
With the 2015-16 season on the horizon, I wanted to put the focus on free-agent-to-be, Kevin Durant, and the player everyone thinks is most likely you be traded this season, Carmelo Anthony. These two players are arguably the two most prolific scorers in the game. The major differences reside in their respective teams position before and after the season. Oklahoma City is expecting to compete for a championship, New York is expecting to compete for a playoff spot and grow on the go en route to their goal.
There is chatter about both players being potentially traded with the most likely being Anthony. He is the offensive crust for a Knicks team looking to implement new players, proceed with the heralded triangle offense, and hang their hat on an inexperienced coach in Derek Fisher. This has all boiled down to Anthony, who many has said is selfish for taking his money, selfish for not sharing the ball more, not a bonafide star cause he doesn’t play on both sides of the ball (unless being motivated to defend a superstar on the opposing team), and basically a waste to have with the Knicks in rebuilding mode. Despite who they selected in the draft, who they selected for a coach, the offense they selected that takes 2-3 years to understand routinely, the murky off-season they’ve had, they end up aiming all of their collective frustration guns at Anthony. He’s the only one that could save them.
I actually expect Carmelo to come out with some fire in him with all the criticism he’s been receiving as of late. Fans questioning him, people making rumors about his wife, people having things to say to him through different media forms, you would think it’s going to give him a huge chip on his shoulder. Not to mention the criticism in comparison to his peers. No MVP awards, no championships, no significant playoff push since his Denver days, this all has to be boiling him. Or maybe he’s just coasting and isn’t taking any of this seriously nor using it as a tool for motivation. We’ll find out soon enough.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see Carmelo moved to Chicago, Dallas or (SURPRISE) Sacramento since there’s loads of chatter about him going to be shipped away. Depending on the season the Knicks have early on throughout the first half of the season, this all could turn out to be true. We’ll begin to feel the pulse in about two weeks.
On the other side of things, there’s good ol Kevin. Setting an early goal to be on Russell Westbrook’s good side and not get cussed out, saying the right things although Scott Brooks was fired and replaced, and coming off a season where he sat cause of foot issues and watched Westbrook rise to another level that may be impossible to coexist with. You have the Washington Wizards maneuvering to lure Durant to their team with them hiring people close to him into the organization. You have the chance of he and Russell suddenly not getting along. You have the chance that they’ll be intact but will lose in an early round to a stacked Spurs or Clippers team, although any team in the west is capable to be honest.
Kevin is seen as a potential next in line torch bearer from LeBron’s dominance to his overdue arrival by finally winning a championship. Should he fail at this during this season, would it drive him from the team he’s been with since day 1? OKC would be crazy to trade Durant knowing it can retain him but possibly crazier to let him potentially walk, so what do they do?
Durant just proclaimed himself the best in the game and didn’t flinch in saying so. That’s loud and clear enough to get the attention of the likes of LeBron, Russell, Anthony Davis, and Stephen Curry. He was clearly the game’s best player during his lone MVP season but can he regain the same magic (and possession of the ball) in order to carry himself to that mountaintop again? If so, would it be at the expense of the growth of not only his teammates but specifically, Russell Westbrook?
I expect to see both of these players of interest succeed this year. Oklahoma City may be the only team that could stop a Spurs team that could become an unbeatable machine with its parts once they all mesh. The Knicks could be a playoff team IF Carmelo is able to will them to a plus-.500 record. I don’t expect the east to become any easier with many teams having longevity and teams making decent off-season moves and drafts that should lunge them further into routine competitiveness amongst the rest of the conference. This may be one of the best seasons this era has seen thus far.