|"Come on, do it! Do it now! Trade for me, I'm here!"|
You know, this would all be so easy if Carmelo Anthony just decided to wait it out and sign with the knicks in the off-season. But alas, things are never that simple.
If James Dolan did in fact meet with Carmelo the other day, this is how the conversation should have went.
Dolan: "Carmelo, just tell me what you want us to do. If you want us to wait for you we will. However, if you really would sign with the Nets and want us to trade for you now, then we'll do that. Of course we would be better if we were able to keep Gallinari and sign you, but what ever you want us to do, we will do it. Just tell us what you want us to do ..."
And that is that.
Now, what does it say about Carmelo that he would sign with the Nets? I don't know, probably not anything too good. But really that is irrelevant. Will getting Carmelo now make the knicks a contender right now? No, but that too is irrelevant. And finally, will getting Carmelo address the knicks defensive issues. No. But you know what, neither will keeping Gallinari and Chandler.
There are really two trades here. Gallinari and Chandler for Carmelo. And Felton for Billups. I'll address both.
Remember when the knicks started the season 3-8? Remember when they were talking about firing D'Antoni? There would have been no hesitation to trade any to of the knicks starters for Carmelo at that time. Then the knicks went on this great run to flirt with being a 4 seed in the east. Well, back to reality: The knicks, in all of their improvement this year, are really no better than a .500 team. Sure they will make the playoffs in the east, maybe compete, but they are not serious threats. While it is much more suitable to the last decade, it's not what we have waited for in New York. It's not what we have sacrificed the last two years for leading up the the free agency period. And let's be honest, that's really no different than had they kept Zach Randolph (20 and 13), David Lee (16 and 9), and Jamal Crawford (6th man of the year).
I was furious with the knicks when they didn't land LeBron and Wade/Bosh (or who ever). They sold us on this dream for two years, which I knew was total crap to begin with. But think about this, what if the knicks end up with, instead of LeBron and Bosh, Carmelo and Stoudemire? You know what? That's actually not that bad of an alternative. Especially when you think of who the knicks can then add after that.
I feel bad for Chandler and Gallinari. They were there for the really bad days the past few years and made it through to see the knicks above .500 this late in the season - only to potentially go back to another rebuilding situation. And don't get me wrong, I would like to keep Galo, he is a unique talent. A 6'10" player who can shoot, put it on the floor, and potentially (although not so much right now) guard 4 different positions on the floor. He is only 22. What if he matures and gets a post game? It's not crazy to say with longevity, he could be the next Dirk Nowitzki. But, as the current knicks motto goes, "Now!" And right now, Galo in all is youth is not Melo.
For the other trade, let me say I really Like Raymond Felton. He is much better than I thought. He is tough and has swagger. He is averaging 17 points and 9 assists and should have been an all-star. Most importantly, I felt is was a knick. But you know what, it seems all along the knicks have just been renting him for the next two years till they try and get Chris Paul in 2012. If that is the case, why not trade him for Billups? Especially if it means getting Melo. And Billups is no slouch, he may actually be better than Felton, still. He won a championship and finals MVP. Last summer he won a gold medal for the USA. He is a better shooter and can slide over to the two. He's played on the biggest stage and can run a team. Plus he already knows D'Antoni's offense from team USA. And let's not forget, the Nuggets didn't get to the conference finals and challenge the Lakers till Billups got there.
Again, I feel bad for these two. For Billups because it seems like he wants to retire in his home state. And for Felton, who is having a breakout year only to be traded. But let's not forget, it's the Nuggets that want to include Billups in this deal. The knicks are the ones that have to oblige.
With that said I think a starting 5 of Billups, Fields, Carmelo, Williams/Mozgov, and Stoudemire might actually be a little better than that of Felton, Fields, Gallinari, Chandler/Mozgov, and Stoudemire. They will still make the playoffs and could very well compete in a potenial first-round match-up with the Bulls.
But let's be honest, this trade is really about adding star power to the knicks. It's about adding more swagger and more credibility to make the knicks more attractive to other stars. When was the last time the knicks had two stars and potentially three? When was the last time a star said they wanted to play for the knicks and demanded it?
This is the real legacy of the 'The Decision.' It wasn't so much that LeBron James going to Miami changed the landscape of the NBA this season. It wasn't so much that you need a super team to compete (think about all the teams that won the championship the last 30 years. How many have done so without at least two super stars/ hall of famers/ 50 greatest players/ multiple all-stars? The only team I can think of is maybe the pistons in '04 - which oddly enough had Chauncey Billups). Really, 'The Decision' ushered in a new era of of how rapidly super teams can evolve. The '08 Celtics were a pilot test. But it was a trade between two bad teams where the forming stars were a little past their prime, paid their dues and deserved to win a championship. Now, we are in an era in which star players - in their prime - can choose where they want to go, to pair up with other stars, and then force their current team to meet their demands (via twitter)...or else.
How long after Carmelo comes to New York till Chris Paul or Deron Williams (whom I actually would prefer) demands a trade or threatens to leave via free agency? Or simply doesn't accept a contract extension? What about Dwight Howard?
The reality is, making the trade for Carmelo is a no brainer. Who knows if it makes them significantly better now. It makes them better suiters next year. Who knows what will happens in the off-season. What if the Lakers decide to trade for or sign Carmelo in the off-season, and then go after Paul, Williams, or Howard? Could the Knicks (and New York) live with the fact they let Carmelo get away? No.
And I'm sure there is at least one other person who agrees with my line of thinking......