Carmelo Anthony is the guy, of course, but fast forward a year and we could be talking about Kevin Love. In other words, what the Knicks are about to go through with Anthony is what the Wolves could very well go through with Love if they don't trade him this summer.
Love, like Anthony this year, has an opt-out next year. The Knicks begged Anthony to opt back in and delay his free agency, but the losing and the opportunity to play elsewhere made it too hard for Melo to pass up.
So now the Knicks are either going to flat-out lose him for nothing if he signs with another team or take back a hot load of garbage in a sign and trade if that's what both sides agree is best.
The Knicks felt it was worth the risk to get to that point, and to be fair the Knicks won 54 games and their division in 2012-13. They figured they would keep rising and Melo would want to stay; instead, the bounced back to 37 wins, and now he wants out.
The Wolves, too, are coming off their most successful season in a long time -- albeit modest success with 40 victories. The smart money still says they deal Love this summer, and possibly very soon. Interestingly enough, Anthony's decision to opt-out, hardly unexpected but now official, crowds the market a little and might distract some teams who had interest in acquiring Love (like Chicago and the Lakers, to name two).
Or the Wolves could roll the dice and hope, somehow, that Love changes his mind and wants to stay beyond this coming season. Those odds are remote, and as the Knicks are finding out now, the possibility of a player walking away for nothing can set a franchise back even more than dealing a star player.