COMMENTARY | After years of losing highlighted by terrible free-agent signings and turmoil within management, the New York Knicks are finally back to relevance.
It began with the signing of Amar'e Stoudemire, which showed the franchise was finally serious about trying to win. The Knicks surrounded their star power forward with a variety of strong complimentary pieces and were a team worth watching again. With Mike D'Antoni engineering a fast-paced offense, the Knicks were an extremely fun team to watch.
Everything changed quickly, as the Knicks traded Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Timofey Mozgov to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony. In Anthony, Knicks fans hoped they had their superstar that the team had lacked since Patrick Ewing left. Hopes were high in New York, as were expectations.
Fast forward to 2013, and the Knicks have yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs. Anthony has put up some monster scoring numbers, but many wonder if the team can make a serious run at a championship with him leading the way. Even with a variety of shooters and a rim-protecting, active Tyson Chandler, Anthony has not been able to get the job done on the big stage.
Of course, all of the blame should not be placed on Melo's shoulders. Basketball is a team sport, and he is just one player on a team full of professionals. There have been times where he has carried this team, and the Knicks are certainly a better team with him on the roster.
After this season, there is no guarantee that he will be with New York as he has a player option in his contract. He could certainly choose to stay, although rumors have been swirling about him possibly ending up with the Los Angeles Lakers. With this in mind, could now be the time for the Knicks to consider trading Carmelo Anthony?
It appears that the Knicks currently have no intentions of doing so, as they have added pieces this offseason to help bring the team to the next level. In an improved Eastern Conference, however, the Knicks could quickly find themselves trying to catch up. The Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, and Brooklyn Nets all look to be major threats, and the Miami Heat have no plans of going away. If the Knicks get off to a poor start, and signs are pointing to Anthony possibly leaving, exploring the trade market would be a very smart idea.
The Denver Nuggets were able to construct a large part of their roster with the pieces they acquired in the Anthony trade, and they proved to be an extremely deep team. Before Steph Curry exploded against them in the playoffs, many considered the Nuggets to be a serious contender in the Western Conference. Anthony is in his prime, and the Knicks would be able to bring back plenty of assets in any potential deal. If this group proves to not be quite good enough and the New York media begins speculating, the team could look to head in another direction and start acquiring young talent and draft picks.
This is only a realistic option if the Knicks have a rough start to the year and Anthony doesn't guarantee that he will stay in New York. Winning will cure all, but losing will only make the rumblings louder. The Knicks cannot afford to have him leave in free agency without any compensation, which is the exact situation the Nuggets were in a few years ago.
Management must constantly assess how good a group of players can truly be. The New York front office will have to go through this process during next season and consider all options. If the team doesn't show significant improvement, Melo's impending free agency could mean big changes with the Knicks.
Chris lives in Connecticut and covers the New York Knicks.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Knicks
- Carmelo Anthony
- New York
- Denver Nuggets