When Phil Jackson joined the New York Knicks everyone in the NBA believed he would bring them back from the bottom of the eastern conference and back into contention (well at least Knicks fans believed he would). The only positive thing Phil has been able to accomplish for the franchise was re-signing Carmelo Anthony although most knew he would not turn down the lucrative offer that only the Knicks could offer. Even bringing ‘Melo back is looking like a bad idea as he missed 42 games last season due to injury and will soon be turning 32. There have been rumblings amongst Knicks fans online that they do not believe ‘Melo will take them anywhere with his “hero ball” style of play and that is justified by his past, only getting passed the first round of the playoffs once in his 12 year career. Carmelo has recently had a few unexpected answers for Knicks fans who have constantly been taunting him such as replying to a fan with an Instagram post claiming fans are stuck with him.
CBS Sports’ NBA writer James Herbert has recently reported that the Knicks are inching closer to engaging in Carmelo Anthony trade talks. The only problem the Knicks will have if they would seriously like to trade ‘Melo is that they don’t have much leverage in the situation as ‘Melo would only waive his no trade clause if the trade is to a team he wouldn’t mind going to. That would likely minimize the return the Knicks could get for their star forward which might entice them to keep him. I have recently caught up with 3 lead Real Ball Insiders authors and asked them their thoughts on the Knicks situation…
No matter how you slice it, the Knicks had a dissapointing season last year. Sure, no logical fan expected the team to return to their glory days, but the season New York had last year was utterly pathetic. From opening night against Chicago to the final buzzer on the season, the Knicks were a trainwreck. The questionable trade before the season that moved Tyson Chandler should’ve been a sign to many that this team was looking to strip it down. And as the season wore on, the dynamic of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith had totally evaporated, and Smith was moved to the Cavaliers. As was Iman Shumpert, viewed by many as the team’s top remaining defender. Matters were made worse when Melo injured his knee, missed a ton of time, returned, and then shut it down when his knee was deemed too sore to play on. The Knicks final lineup of the season looked more like a D-League lineup than an actual NBA roster. Philadelphia may have had a better roster. Many players were moved out when the offseason began, and the draft was seen as the turning point for the team. Alas, the Knicks didn’t get any of the players they were targeting, ending up with Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is a nice player who some say is the Spanish Dirk, but the franchise was admittedly hoping for Jahlil Okafor or DeAngelo Russell. Next was free agency, where many delusional fans anticipated the team being major players and signing major names like LaMarcus Aldridge. And Knicks fans were surely dissapointed yet again when the teams major acquisitions were Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo. The starting lineup looks like a potential 8-seed with Lopez at center, Louis Amundson at power forward, Melo at small, Afflalo at the shooting guard, and Langston Galloway at point.
Which brings us to the next question: If these Knicks aren’t in playoff contention come the trade deadline, what does the team do with Anthony? We all know who Carmelo is at this point in his career: The pound for pound top scorer in the game who can also rebound like a center but doesn’t always give his best effort on defense. Any way you slice it, Melo is still a top 10 player in the game, and any team would be lucky to have his services. Elite talents like Anthony are rarely available, and to acquire him, a team would have to give up a boatload. Something I don’t see any team willing to do. Melo’s cap figure is just too high to facilitate a trade, and the amount of talent a team would have to give up to get him is just too much. I also don’t believe the Knicks honestly want to move him. Melo is New York, and he signed the deal he did with the Knicks not due to money, but because New York is his home and where he wants to play. I think the Knicks keep Melo, for better or worse.
When Carmelo Anthony signed his new 5 year, $124 million dollar contract last summer to stay with the Knicks, he basically chose money over winning any time in the near future. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, you try turning down $30 million extra dollars. I’m sure he was promised everything under the sun to be the foundation that Phil Jackson builds around. But what was he really expecting to happen? He had been there since 2011 and hasn’t been able to recruit any big time names out to the Big Apple. He has denied trade rumors but c’mon, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Do you really think the Knicks want to trade him? I mean, if I was them, I would. He still doesn’t play defense. It’s like a black hole for the basketball when the ball lands in his hands. And let’s get one thing clear; he is not the purest scorer in the league. There’s a guy by the name of Kevin Durant who also plays in the league.
With that being said, even if the Knicks do want to trade him, who is realistically going to take on that deal? ‘Melo is 31 years old. He’s an aging “superstar” who needs a certain type of team around him to be successful. He had his chance in 2014 to go elsewhere and try and win. I think they will try to shop him around but the size of the contract and what the Knicks probably want in return is going to be the reason it doesn’t work. Their Off Season signings were decent, Robin Lopez adds size and rebounding and Arron Afflalo adds the grity perimeter defender every team needs. ‘Melo wasn’t very keen of the Knicks 1st round pick this year, Kristaps Porzingis. It seems like ‘Melo is going to try and bully his way out of town after committing to them long term, but I honestly think he’ll be in NYC for the foreseeable future.
At this point in time, the New York Knicks should not trade Carmelo Anthony. It would not make sense to trade Anthony after acquiring Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, and a couple decent bench players. If the Knicks aren’t competitive at the trade deadline they may want to explore the market. Anthony was recently signed to a five year 124 million dollar deal as the Knicks finished with a 17-65 record. If the Knicks can’t at least be competitive after the next offseason then it’s time for Anthony to go. In the weak eastern conference the Knicks could surprise some people, but they probably won’t. Expect improvement from last season, but still a team that needs a player alongside Carmelo.