After trading star forward Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks just so happened to have an opening night matchup against his former team.
Earlier in the off-season, the New York Knicks got rid of disgruntled star forward Carmelo Anthony. It’s been a long time coming and it capped off one of the craziest off-seasons in NBA history. After the deal got done, aside from people pointing out that Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager (GM) Sam Presti is a genius and that the Knicks got robbed, the quickest thing people pointed out was that the Knicks play OKC on opening night. As history has repeated itself on multiple occasions when a superstar returns to play against his former team, after an ugly breakup, this situation will be no different. The Knicks are going to go in there, play to the best of their ability and go home just as disappointed as they were after the Phil Jackson era.
First and foremost, the Knicks are playing on the road in this game, so they won’t even have a raucous home crowd to cheer them on as they attempt to put up a fight against a team that is vastly superior to them. Even if they were playing at home, the Knicks faithful have been known to boo their team off their own floor when things aren’t going their way.
It’s hard enough as it is to make a game competitive if you are on the road. Add in the fact that the Knicks simply don’t have the talent to match up and nothing good will come of this game for them. Ultimately, the home crowd won’t make a difference in this situation.
People shouldn’t be expecting Melo to go in there with some type of vendetta against the Knicks organization either. Although he was severely mistreated by management, he was reportedly in good relations with his teammates, even going as far as having workouts with them during the off-season. It’s not like when Russell Westbrook gave Kevin Durant the cold shoulder after his departure. Melo had the common sense to know that he still might be playing with the same team, so he remained civilized with his teammates. That means that there won’t be any drama in that department.
Finally, the fans shouldn’t be upset about Melo’s departure either. Melo didn’t receive such negative feedback the same way that LeBron James or KD did when they left their teams and rightfully so. The Knicks gave Melo every reason to want out. Yeah, sure, he did hurt the Knicks by giving them limited trading options, but who would want to go play for a non-contending team? Melo even made an effort to stay put, after reportedly telling Knicks management that he would like to stay on the team before Jackson was let go. However, one can only take on so much criticism. Of course, almost all of that came from Jackson, but by the time he had been let go, the damage was already done.
Because there was absolutely no drama involved with his departure, Melo won’t have any feelings to reciprocate any anger he might have had. If anything, the fans are probably still upset with management over the trade. The Knicks didn’t get any major value for a guy of Melo’s caliber, granted he didn’t give them much of a choice. Ultimately, there is no bad blood involved between the Knicks and Melo. Nobody should be expecting Melo to go in there and try to score 40 because he has a personal vendetta because that’s really not the case. If anything, Melo is probably going to go into this game, well mellow, pun intended. He probably won’t even be the star of the game. No one should expect him to be when he has Westbrook and Paul George to handle the scoring load.
This game is simply going to be a boring match, with the only excitement Knicks fans can look forward to is watching KP take over, as he drops fifty points in an attempt to lead his team to victory. This won’t even be an interesting game back at the Garden either. Just like the Warriors destroyed OKC all four games last season and like the Heat did with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010, the Knicks will most likely get obliterated in their two meetings with OKC this season. This game will only serve as a reminder of what will be another long season for the Knicks.