Tonight, Carmelo Anthony will finally take the court as a member of the Oklahoma Thunder when they face the New York Knicks, his former team. It’s a game that is sure to feature many insincere handshakes and passive-aggressive trash talk, as Carmelo’s latter half of his seven-season career with New York were famously tumultuous. Many will speculate that said tension is why Carmelo agreed to wave his no-trade clause and head to OKC. And they’re probably right, considering Carmelo said that coach Phil Jackson was “willing to trade him for a bag of chips.” But, according to the star himself, he was goaded into the move by an unlikely source: his 10-year-old son Kiyan.
“My son said he wanted me to play for OKC,” Carmelo told the Times. “Even before OKC was in the picture.”
Carmelo admitted that he had never really considered Oklahoma City as a good fit for himself. But once Kiyan put the idea in his mind, he began to wonder if maybe playing for the Thunder would be the right move after all.
As Carmelo’s relationship with the Knicks disintegrated, he was linked to several teams as a possible trade destination. He was even reportedly going to be sent to play with LeBron James on the Cavaliers on draft night but the deal fell through at the last minute. But when he was presented with the possibility of heading to Oklahoma to team up with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and former Pacer Paul George, Carmelo decided to take his son’s advice and accept the trade.
Now, the Thunder appear to have an offense that will be every bit as explosive as the Warriors or the Rockets, giving them a chance to compete in the ultra-stacked Western Conference. Let’s just hope Kiyan also told his dad to stop taking plays off on defense or he might be in for a long season.