Can the Knicks convince Anthony that his future lies in the Big Apple?
While speculation continues to link Carmelo Anthony with a move to the Chicago Bulls ahead of the trade deadline on February 20, there is an argument to suggest that he is better off staying with the New York Knicks.
Fanatix NBA experts Sumeet Paul and Scott Hazlewood discuss why it would make sense for both the franchise and player to remain in the Big Apple…
Sumeet Paul: The trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and the rumours continue to suggest Melo may well bid farewell to New York if not now, then in the summer in free agency. What argument is there to suggest he would be making the wrong decision?
Scott Hazlewood: One word, cash. The Knicks can offer him a max deal that he simply can’t get anywhere else at $129 million over five years. New York offers other chances to brand himself because it is New York, and apart from Los Angeles, there aren’t any bigger markets in the NBA for a big name player like Anthony to have their impact felt beyond the court.
Also, his wife La La is a businesswoman herself, and while she has said publicly recently she will support Carmelo no matter where he wants to play the rest of his career, you can’t help but think she would prefer to stay in New York. But really at this point of his career, around 30 years of age, Melo just wants to win and do it regularly and get into a conference final again much less a winning finals series.
SP: Factor in the ‘magic’ of playing at Madison Square Garden, and it would appear a less straight-forward decision to make for Anthony. His 62-point night last month was a prime example of when he shoots lights-out basketball, there aren’t many bigger stages to do it on.
However, the biggest criticism of Melo since he started his career, is his inability to lead a team to a championship. While he is undoubtedly one of, if not the best, scorers in the league, he needs pieces around him to succeed against the top teams as he isn’t a LeBron James or Kevin Durant in terms of improving those around him.
Therefore, the onus then falls on the Knicks’ front office, known for their previously questionable dealings, to build a competitive roster around him that he believes he can win a championship with. Can the Knicks realistically provide that for him?
SH: I think part of this falls back on Melo himself. Other star or marquee players in recent years have said to their front office, ‘What are you doing to help me’. Kobe Bryant was tipped to leave the Lakers in 2008, with the Bulls the favourites to land him, before he want to the LA front office and asked what they were doing to get the team to the finals. They secured Pau Gasol and the rest is history.
Melo needs to kick down the door to the Knicks front office and demand certain players, he thinks will complement him and go as far as to to suggest what style of play the Knicks will have going forward. Because as much as Knicks fans would like to hear otherwise, if things continue as they are their team will keep failing to live up to their potential and their front office will keep making moves for players they should’nt, think Andrea Bargnani, and spend too much on players, sorry Bargnani.
Do you think they should tank the rest of this year or try and look at players like Kevin Love and Kevin Durant and make moves for them in 2015-2016?
SP: Evidently, this season thus far has been a disaster for the Knicks (19-30),but they remain just seven games adrift of the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Tanking I think would be extreme as they can still make the playoffs, and having proven that on certain nights they can compete with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers, they could be a tricky proposition if they get their heads together and fire up the Garden.
Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire, Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih are all unrestricted free agents this summer, and my advice would be to try and move them all if there is interest.
The Knicks were on the money last season for a stretch when they utilised their three-point shooters, and for me they need to re-discover that formula, bring in the right personnel, and let Anthony do the graft and win games when required. Are Love and Durant realistic targets? Arguably not, as I see the former heading to the bright lights of LA while KD in my opinion will be a part of Thunder Nation for the majority of his career.
SH: I just think they would all be damaged goods and given some of the money hanging over their heads, I wonder how many teams could afford them much less want them.
Really if Anthony and the Knicks can’t figure something out and it looks like he is going to leave, they have to do a sign-and-trade rather than have him leave in free agency, otherwise the Knicks will find themselves in the same place as the Orlando Magic when Dwight Howard left, without their biggest drawcard and best player with nothing to show for it.
SP: The Chicago Bulls have emerged as the favourites to land him either this month or in the summer, and if sources are to be believed, they are Anthony’s preferred destination too if he were to leave New York.
Speculation suggests that the likes of Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich could move the other way in a potential trade deal, with some future draft picks in addition. On the face of it that doesn’t really appear to be such an appealing move despite Gibson’s potential contribution, and so I think ultimately the Knicks need to convince Anthony to stay or risk being set back years in their bid for success.
Whether or not they can successfully do so, remains to be seen, but they need to convince him that there is a project, with evidence of what they plan to do, and they will bring him success if he commits to a team, and city, that he loves being in.