A Knick Fan’s Lament
By Nick Guy
So there I was back in February of 2011, screaming to anyone who would listen, please do not give up the house for Carmelo Anthony. We had chips, lots of chips, and to trade some of them for a super scorer who did not make his teammates better would only serve three purposes. First, it would create a team that would win 45 to 50 games per year. Second, that team would never get past the second round of the playoffs and that was if they even got that far. Third, it would fool the masses and sell lots of tickets.
Let’s look back at what happened on February 22nd of 2011. We did indeed make that trade that concerned me and acquired Carmelo Anthony. The town was abuzz. Tickets were hot. I was disgusted. We knew Denver needed to make the move so we played hard to get, right? No, not the Knicks. Instead of having our experienced GM and team president Donnie Walsh do the negotiating, our team owner Jim Dolan took over the negotiating and he did not give up SOME of our chips. Instead, he gave up ALL the chips we had amassed. Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov, Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, 2012 & 2013 2nd round picks, a 2014 1st round pick, the option to switch 2016 1st round picks and of course the obligatory 3 million bucks. Eleven assets in all. But we didn’t just get Melo. No, we were also able to snag Chauncey Billups and his 15 million dollar salary and four other spare parts who would be gone within a year. And of course we would lose our potential amnesty provision with this deal, as we needed to use it on Billups. And as a byproduct, it also cost us our team president in Walsh because who could blame him for not wanting to work with Dolan and his personal advisors.
That brings me to the next question. Where are we now and what can we do to win a championship? Well its simple really. Trade Carmelo Anthony or bring in a guy above him!! I agree with all of you who will tell me that Melo is a great player and one of the ten best players in the league. I could see him winning a couple of scoring titles in the next few years. He will NOT win a championship as the lead dog. You can look it up. Bernard King, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Alex English are just a few. Scoring forwards who hog the ball do not win NBA titles. They never have and they never will. They need to play second fiddle to a player who makes their teammates better. Melo, for all his greatness, does not make his teammates better. Great centers and great guard play win. Scoring forwards just score. The Knicks had a golden opportunity and missed it. Would they be better today with Chris Paul or Deron Williams and Dwight Howard? Could a scorer be added to that combo? Maybe even Melo? Now we’re talking. Knick ownerships shortsighted view cost us as Knick fans. If the Melo trade was not made we could have used the amnesty on Amare instead of Billups and brought in three guys the same way the Miami Heat did. Our three guys ended up being Melo, Amare and Tyson. Where’s the guy to run the game? WOW….
And so in conclusion, what do we do? Start over! My only qualifications as a GM are that I’ve been a Knick fan and a basketball guy forever. Does it make me an expert? No, but if I knew not to make the Melo deal, it makes me more competent than the guys running the Knicks. So, here’s my stab at it. Trade Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline. Send Melo to the Lakers in a three team deal but they must take Amare too. What I want in return is simple. I want Pau Gasol and his expiring 19 million, a good young roster player that the Lakers would need to acquire elsewhere and two first round picks. I want their 2014 pick because they probably won’t make the playoffs in a very strong draft year and I want their 2016 to replace ours that’s been traded away. Why would the Lakers do it? Kobe is a lead guy! Nash is a lead guy! Melo will score 30 a night in LA and they will win with Kobe and Nash running the show. Amare can even chip in for the year that’s left on his deal. When Kobe comes back fully recovered for 2014-2015, showtime will sell tickets, be relevant and win alot, which will make Jim Buss a happy guy.
As for the Knicks, it gives us a mulligan to build a championship contender. With a few additional veteran departures in trade, we clear out the cap and add draft picks and young potential cornerstones. Free agents over the next couple of years will include some big time players that we could add. Flush with draft picks and loaded with cap space is the way to go. Getting to the first or second round of the playoffs is not acceptable. I want to feel what its like to win it all! Will the Knick fans or ownership stand for rebuilding again? No way! But if we want to celebrate a Knicks championship in the next ten years there really is only one viable option. I know it won’t happen, but a guy can dream can’t he?