As the Knicks continue their way back to NBA respectability, no one seems to be able to ignore the elephant in the room—Carmelo Anthony will be a free agent after this season.
Furthermore, Anthony, the New York native and former Syracuse star seems to prefer the appeal of playing in his hometown. ESPN even reported Anthony told the Nuggets that he would only sign a contract extension (upon a trade) to the Knicks, which Anthony later denied.
While Anthony may not bring all the added hype that LeBron James or Dwayne Wade would have brought, one thing is for sure: Anthony is a bona fide playmaker who would change the makeup of the Knicks dramatically.
As good as Anthony may be, he brings the one thing the surging Knicks certainly do not need—change.
The Knicks are playing their best basketball in nearly 10 years, led by a star of their own in Amar’e Stoudemire. Although the team hoped to pair up another star with Stoudemire over the summer, he has been more than coping with the depth Donnie Walsh brought in instead. In fact, Stoudemire has become a legitimate MVP candidate while leading his new squad.
Also upping his game has been point guard Raymond Felton, who is making a serious all-star bid next to Stoudemire. It took the two a while to form some sort of rapport, but their chemistry has seemed to click. That same rapport has spread throughout the entire roster.
That is why bringing Carmelo Anthony in to don orange and blue at this point would not be the smartest idea. Sure, Anthony is a star, but at this point, the Knicks are playing more than well enough without him. The likes of Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields should absolutely receive credit for their team’s early success.
However, all three would be susceptible to being traded in a midseason move for Anthony. Replacing any of those three players, who are all presently comfortable in their supporting roles, with a more dominant Anthony, could severely alter this team’s chemistry for the worse.
While that’s not to say Anthony would not improve the Knicks (as he very well probably would), it just may not be the right time; not when the Knicks are competing on such a high level. If something isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix.
Having said that, the friendship that Stoudemire and Anthony already have is quite strong, peeking with them both talking about being teammates together on the Knicks. Such a bond could also be infectious on the Knicks roster as well, working Anthony nicely into the offense.
However, everything is all hearsay for now, as Anthony is not yet donning orange and blue. Amid the reports that a Knicks acquisition of him is more likely, the Nets have been scurrying over the last 24 hours to make a final push for a trade. The team has already made multiple moves, including one that sent highly regarded young talent Terence Williams on his way to the Houston Rockets, in order to acquire multiple first-round draft picks.
The draft picks figure to be a major component in any Anthony trade. However, the Nets would also likely have to include Derrick Favors, the No. 3 overall pick of this year’s draft. Trading away so much of the team’s future seems a little much for the Nets to give up, if Anthony were not to sign a contract extension there.
Nevertheless, ESPN maintains that it is only the Knicks, not the Nets, who are still in play during the Melo-sweepstakes.
While the Knicks do not have a first rounder to send the Nuggets’ way, they do have 21-year-old (and seldom used) Anthony Randolph who could be packaged in any such trade as well.
At the end of the day, the Knicks still appear to be Carmelo Anthony’s preference. While he may ultimately make the Knicks better than ever before, he may alter the team’s current remarkable success.
The city of New York has been waiting for a winning squad for years, and it finally has one now. If Anthony’s strongest desire really is New York, perhaps the Knicks should keep all their young talent, in order to make the team a stronger one (and not potentially ruin chemistry this season), should Anthony join them next summer.