The Knicks are imploding, they just fired their coach, and the future looks bleak. They went all-in on getting Durant and Irving this summer and had no backup plan. So when the duo decided to go to Brooklyn, the Knicks decided to recover by signing every power forward in free agency. KD explained that the Knicks are not "cool" anymore. Carmelo Anthony has a challenge for that interpretation.
Carmelo wanted New York no matter what, and for him, that meant playing for the Knicks. That desire crippled his time in New York - he pushed the Knicks to trade for him instead of going there as a free agent. The trade package for Carmelo included multiple first and second-round draft picks, two pick swaps, and players going out the door. One thing is for sure, Melo wanted to be in MSG. So when asked about Durant and Kyrie going to Brooklyn, this is what Melo had to say (via NY Post):
“Not everybody can deal with (playing for the Knicks). Not even a star, but role players. Not too many people can deal with what comes with that. I don’t want to say pressure, but everything that comes along with wearing the Knicks across the chest.”
Carmelo elaborated that he wasn't surprised by KD's decision and explanation. As he sees it, players today want to have fun and not worry about building a team - they want the team to be there already. The Knicks no longer have the pulling power for players to believe getting supporting players won't be a problem. To Carmelo, it wasn't only about winning (via NY Post):
“I wanted it. I wanted to take that challenge. Whether I failed at it or not. I wanted to be able to say I did it. I took it upon myself to say, ‘Give me it.’ I wanted that challenge. Not everybody has that same mentality.”
Melo said he has no regrets about his career path and the time he spent with the Knicks. Taking that challenge has meaning, despite the fact it didn't end with a championship ring. On the contrary - it's the challenge that made it enjoyable all along.