Apologies to our man Devine, but my Knickerbocker hatred runs deep.
It was well in place a while before, but as a 7-year-old, this game cemented it. And then the 1992, 1993 and 1994 (Hubert, curse word, Davis) playoffs danced upon that cement. I love the city, love it. I appreciate the intelligence of its fans, and I appreciate what they've been through. When a mate of mine bought in to the "buy two, get three" promo for the Free Darko prints a few months ago, I chose the Knicks poster, straightaway. No hesitation. No tears and no hearts breaking. No remorse.
ESPN's Chris Sheridan used to work for the Associated Press, so you can be sure that he's not trying to break stories just to get on TV:
Carmelo Anthony has told the Denver Nuggets he will not sign the nearly $65 million contract extension he has been offered unless he is traded to the New York Knicks, a source told ESPN.com on Sunday.
The source, using the most definitive language possible, confirmed what has been widely speculated around the NBA over the past two months as Anthony has been at the center of trade talks involving numerous teams.
And while other franchises might be able to make better offers, Anthony will not agree to sign anywhere long-term unless he is dealt to New York, according to the source, who has been privy to private discussions between Anthony, his representatives and the Nuggets organization.
Bummer, Denver. You kind of have to start over.
Then again ... it's Carmelo Anthony.
(This is the part where you try to remember the time in your life where you said to yourself, "damn, ‘Melo's taking over this game.'")
This isn't a shot at Carmelo. It's just that, with a sometimes-working Internet connection, League Pass, a nationally televised (if you get NBA TV) game on every night, and all sorts of exposure just a click away, we've come to realize the difference between stars and absolute and utter superstars. And Anthony, clutch and smooth though he may be, just isn't on the same level as a LeBron James(notes), Dwight Howard(notes), Kobe Bryant(notes), Chris Paul(notes), or Dwyane Wade(notes). Not in that order, Laker fans.
He's a fine scorer. Little else. He's managed some able defensive rebounding games, this season, but otherwise this is a pull-up jumper cat, and little else. You'd still want him on your team, especially in the last two minutes, but you needn't get too enthused.
It's a nice No. 2 to have. But you should also step slow, in this regard. Carmelo's all-around play has only earned him about a 20 PER this season, and Wilson Chandler(notes) (in shape, in focus, all that stuff) is right behind him with an 18 PER. That is to say, Knicks, that you already have a near-Carmelo on board. So go easy.
So don't trade assets for him, right now. I don't think this winning run -- which was initially cute but, as a Bulls fan, eventually annoying and worrying -- will last, but that doesn't mean you drop everything to pull the guy in. Which means that, yeah, you kind of have to trade for Carmelo right now; but you can't toss in any assets of any lasting interest.
New York will have a small lick of cap space this summer, assuming that there is an NBA summer under the usual NBA summer rules, so the team won't be signing Anthony outright anytime soon. But it can trade for him, anytime soon. The complication here, is that it has to do it within the strata that it is working in right now.
It has to deal while operating as one of the league's hottest teams, with one of the league's freest offenses, with the finest metropolitan area in the world in its back pocket. It has to trade Eddy Curry's(notes) contract, and little else. No rotation player, no picks, no mercy on a Denver Nuggets team gone wrong. The issue is that the Nuggets take in the same sort of payroll savings letting Anthony expire this June as they do letting, say, Eddy Curry expire this June. There is absolutely no reason to trade Carmelo Anthony for expiring contracts, and it will cost them over a million bucks (if the Nuggies make the playoffs with Anthony) if they do start over midseason.
New York can't be mindful of that, even though everyone knows Anthony will take a contract extension in several markets save NYC, because we all love money. New York has to stick to a plan that doesn't give any rotation players up, even if it means losing Anthony as he heads to New Jersey in a trade.
Because anything else -- expecting Anthony to be a Pau Gasol(notes) -- will be wrong in le thinking and terrible in le execution. Pau Gasol passes, rebounds, screens, and (since May of 2009) defends. Carmelo, love the guy, scores by shooting a lot. If Kobe Bryant wished for a No. 2 in his own image, it came in Pau Gasol. Carmelo Anthony, and this is not a good thing, is a lesser Amar'e Stoudemire. Scores, sometimes rebounds, and that's it. New York is winning games, in December, but Anthony is not the cat to put this team over the top.
In the meantime, New York, love this. Some of my finer memories, as a Bulls fan (they actually won championships, if I'm allowed to smugly remind) came in 2004-05, when a team out of nowhere just decided that it was going to win a lot. Procuring Carmelo Anthony would be great for the Knicks, even if you don't need a crunch-time scorer; because that's what Amar'e does, brilliantly.
So sniff, reach out, or even trade for the guy. But don't give up anything you can use.