COMMENTARY | With most of their cap space eaten by Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, the New York Knicks have been financially strapped to add significant pieces during the offseason.
They brought back J.R. Smith to come off the bench, following a postseason where he couldn't throw a rock into the ocean. For the most part, they will be bringing back the same roster, while a few Eastern Conference competitors have made huge upgrades.
In a trade with the Toronto Raptors, the Knicks acquired Andrea Bargnani for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, and a collection of draft picks. Bargnani has a reputation as a floor-spacing big man who creates issues with his perimeter shooting. He seemingly wore out his welcome in Toronto, as trade rumors had been surrounding Bargnani for quite some time. It seemed as if nobody would bid on him until the Knicks made a move.
Bargnani's potential value to the Knicks is as a floor-spacing power forward complement to Carmelo Anthony, allowing Melo to operate with more room in the middle of the court. This is something the Knicks have lacked, with Kenyon Martin's limited range and Amar'e Stoudemire constantly being injured. Melo loves to isolate, for some reason, and needs the proper shooters around him to do so.
On a very basic level, it seems like Bargnani could fit in nicely in this role. If you dig deeper, however, it's tough to see him earning a place in Mike Woodson's rotation.
Bargnani has proved to be unbelievably soft as a defender and rebounder, two areas of weakness for the Knicks. In many senses, he is the complete opposite of Kenyon Martin.
A lineup with Bargnani at center and Anthony at power forward would be laughably terrible on the defensive end, and the Knicks would not be able to stay afloat with that pairing. Chandler or Martin would have to be in the lineup to bring the defense to a somewhat acceptable level, thus moving Melo to small forward. As we've seen the past few seasons, he is a much more dangerous player at power forward, where he can take advantage of his size and strength on the block. Additionally, Anthony struggles when having to chase around quicker small forwards.
Woodson could pair Bargnani with Chandler while Melo is on the bench, but at that point, why bother? Bargnani was brought to town to be a floor spacer for Anthony, and he probably provides very little value outside of that.
Not to mention, Bargnani hasn't proved to be a decent shooter since the 2010-2011 season. He has not shot better than 31 percent from 3 the past two seasons, and he has not shot better than 43 percent from the field during that same time. Steve Novak and Chris Copeland probably could have stood around on the perimeter and made a third of their 3s at a much cheaper price.
At this point, it seems that the Knicks are willing to try anything to push them to the next level. Even if that means paying a player $23 million over the next two seasons who will struggle to find a way to contribute regularly.
Chris lives in Connecticut and covers the New York Knicks. He grew up in New York and is a lifelong follower of the NBA.
- Sports & Recreation
- Andrea Bargnani
- New York Knicks
- Carmelo Anthony
- Kenyon Martin
- Tyson Chandler
- Steve Novak