Monday, January 24, 2011

New York Knicks Can Build Champion Without Trading For Carmelo Anthony

As reported here, the New York Knicks recently offered a package for Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony that included Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler and a future first-round draft pick.

However, the Nuggets front office declined the proposal, leaving Knicks president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh no other option but to sweeten the deal if Anthony is to don a Knicks jersey this season.

The most obvious question is why the Knicks, or any other NBA team for that matter, would aggressively pursue a trade for the three-time All-Star, who has made it abundantly clear he wants to play in New York when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"That's like the ultimate dream at the end of the day," Anthony, a Brooklyn native, said in an interview with ESPN. "Who wouldn't want to go back home to play?”

So the Knicks’ willingness to part with a promising rookie in Fields, the top rebounding guard in the league, and a budding star in Chandler (16.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg) to acquire ‘Melo just doesn’t add up.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the Knicks to sign Anthony as a free agent, to play with Fields and Chandler, as well as Raymond Felton (17.5 ppg, 8.7 apg), Danilo Gallinari (15.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and Amar’e Stoudemire (26.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg)?

The NBA’s precarious labor situation could result in Anthony leaving a significant amount of money on the table in the aforementioned scenario. Nevertheless, playing in the league’s largest media market, Anthony, who’s averaging 23.5 points and eight rebounds per game this season, would more than make up for the difference in endorsements.

If Anthony is willing to sacrifice up-front money for the greater good of his future team, the Knicks could bring another player into the fold to instantly transform New York into championship contenders next season.

With the addition of Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler (9.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.25 blkpg), an unrestricted free agent this summer, New York would have the rebounding and shot-blocking presence that would allow Stoudemire to play a natural power forward.

That said, head coach Mike D’Antoni could potentially roll out a starting rotation comprised of Felton (PG), Fields (SG), Anthony (SF), Stoudemire (PF) and Tyson Chandler (C), with capable reserves in Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, Shawne Williams and Ronny Turiaf.

Like the Jackson 5 classic tune declared, it’s as easy as 1-2-3, but the Knicks appear insistent on turning this situation into a complicated algebraic equation.

To reiterate, New York is Anthony’s preferred playing destination, and he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Therefore, since the Knicks have the high ground, why are they in a rush to mortgage their future to bring a superstar into town this season that they can sign in July while keeping the current roster intact?

Mikhail Prokhorov got hip to the game when he broke off negotiations for a blockbuster deal that would have sent ‘Melo to the New Jersey Nets.

When will Donnie Walsh finally wise up and follow suit?

The Nuggets may act like they’re holding all the cards in the Car-Melodrama, but if the Knicks call Denver’s bluff the whole pot will come to the Big Apple, and so will the franchise’s first championship in nearly 40 years.

Do the math.

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