Anthony turned 30 on May 29. Age is a concern, as is mileage -- Melo has 11 pro seasons under his belt. And so, the back end of this deal could prove problematic. But I'm not too worried. Anthony has been injury-prone at times, but he has never suffered the sort of catastrophic malady (read: leg injury) that would diminish his athleticism. He possesses a skill-based, largely floor-oriented offensive arsenal that should prove resistant to age.
Carter dropped off at 31, then, after three so-so years, reinvented himself as a sixth man for miracle worker Rick Carlisle in Dallas. Pierce didn't drop off until this past season, at age 36. He's one of the most consistent players of all time, and stylistically the most comparable to Anthony. He's a big, strong scorer who doesn't rely on elite speed or athleticism and does most of his work on the floor. Most of those same attributes apply to Melo. In other words, any player's chances of suffering a major injury increase markedly after age 30 -- but time alone shouldn't be enough to derail Melo.
The market value standard for one WARP is $2.405 million. Anthony's averaged 11.2 WARP over the last three years, a rate of production that makes him roughly worth $26.9 million per season. Given a standard aging curve -- appropriate according to Anthony's list of comparables -- Anthony projects to put up about 55 WARP over the lifetime of his new contract. That's worth $133 million at the present standard rate. Rising cap levels will only make the cost of a win more expensive over the course of the contract, and so a healthy Anthony should not transform into the type of albatross the Knicks have been weighed down by in recent seasons.
That said, outside of possible improved efficiency within head coach Derek Fisher's triangle-based scheme, Anthony isn't going to get any better. That's why it's imperative for the Knicks to get their rebuilding plan on the fast track. And so, we can't just take the fair value of Melo's contract into account -- we have to consider the impact of the deal on Jackson's ability to construct a championship roster.
Jackson's title-winning Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers teams each included star duos -- Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago; Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in Los Angeles. In Chicago, Jackson had a plethora of top role players at his disposal -- guys such as Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc and Dennis Rodman. The cupboard was similarly stocked in Los Angeles. It's likely Jackson will be looking for a similar balance of stars and supporting players as he builds a team in New York.
But while Melo might be in the same neighborhood as Jordan and Bryant as a scorer, he hasn't demonstrated a sustained ability to raise his teammates' level of play. He's been more Scottie Pippen rather than Michael Jordan. ... Anthony's teams have been just plus-2.9 points with him on the floor throughout his career.