Let’s walk through an almost impossible scenario:
So, let’s say you’re the President of one of the most popular franchises in the NBA that also happens to reside in one of the most popular cities in the world. You’ve then assembled a roster composed of a former MVP as well as a former Defensive Player of the Year candidate -who are both objectively shells of their former selves- to go along with one of the most promising you big men that the league has seen for quite some time. Under normal circumstances this would be viewed as a conflict of interest as many people would prefer you build around the promising young big man who many describe as a unicorn, but mistakes happen sometimes. It’s no big deal.
Let’s also say that the face of your franchise for over half a decade is a future Hall of Famer who desperately wants to remain with your organization for the long-haul. So much so, that he signed a long-term deal with your franchise instead of accepting another contract from a separate team that would have made that team a serious playoff contender. In fact, at the time of him signing said contract you really wanted him to remain on your team. You wanted him so badly that you offered him a no-trade clause in the aforementioned contract (we’ll get to that a little later), and it worked. You signed him to a 5-year extension.
Everything looked great for your franchise. You drafted that previously mentioned promising, young big man and received high praise for doing so (after the fact). Then you decided that your plan was to make the playoffs as soon as possible, so you traded for that former MVP (let’s call him Derrick) and signed the former perennial Defensive Player of the Year (he’ll be known as Joakim going forward) in an effort to bolster your roster. These moves were met with mixed reviews, but you were confident in your plan.
But then things started to go awry.
The formula that you thought would resurrect playoff basketball for your franchise has created nothing but stress for a fan base that’s been put through the works since the team last won a championship in 1973. However, their could be a silver lining that involves going full-force with your investment of building around that promising young big man. All you have to do is wait for Derrick’s contract to expire at the end of the season and sit on the remainder of Joakim’s contract. Only it’s not that simple.
Remember that no-trade clause contract you gave to that future Hall of Famer (he shall be known as Carmelo for the rest of this article)? Yeah, he doesn’t want to leave… which kinda throws a wrench into your plans for the future.
As President of this franchise, you’d be left with a few choices on how to handle this:
A.) Act like a normal person and respond to this in a professional manner. That means talking to Carmelo and attempting to convince him that a trade is what’s best for both parties. If that doesn’t work, then you do what’s right and rebuild with Carmelo in mind.
B.) You turn the petty meter up to 10,000,000 and do whatever you can to force Carmelo out of New York. warning: may entail passing the Sacramento Kings as the most embarrassing NBA franchise of the past decade
Now I don’t know about you, but option A is clearly the right way to go here. Any reasonable person would see it that way, right? Well, apparently not. Phil Jackson, the President of the NBA franchise we’ve been talking about this entire time (big shocker there, huh?) chose option B… and goodness is he cranking that petty meter up.
On a non-hypothetical note, I’m sure we are all familiar with the attempts of shade that have recently been thrown by Jackson lately. If you look at this in a weird way, you can kind of see Phil’s side. But it’s buried in the gross unprofessionalism that he and his offices have displayed over the past two months. They’ve been doing everything to drive Carmelo out, and the Knicks are such a garbage organization that it might actually work. So, I think it’s about time that the NBPA and NBA intervene here.
It’s pretty clear to all of us that the Knicks are doing everything wrong on the operational front, but the latest debacle between Charles Oakley and team owner James Dolan have made New York a red zone for future players. Seriously, would you really want to come to this team? A team that is willing to destroy itself for the sake of a stalled rebuild. Yeah, I’d have to take the hard pass on that.
What makes this all worse is that the Knicks have always been considered as one of the premier NBA franchises, due mainly to them being located in New York (I mean, this fan base still manages to make Derrick Rose one of the top-selling jerseys in the entire NBA). This gray mark on the team will greatly affect the Association as a whole. So it only makes sense for someone to step in here.
It’s also a really tough situation for Carmelo. In his eyes, this should still be his team and New York is where he wants to win. But all signs are pointing to him getting the hell out and dodging the absolute nightmare that this team is destined to become for at least the next three seasons.