Yesterday, the New York Knicks decided to fire their head coach and “Real Housewives of the NBA” reality star Derrick Fisher. A Phil Jackson pupil,who played point guard for the Lakers during their early 2000’s dynasty, Fisher was clearly unqualified for the job, and proved be another mistake by the Knicks President. The Knickerbockers are a dysfunctional mess without any clear direction. They don’t have a head coach. They boast an aging,and expensive roster laden with marginal to pretty good players. They don’t have a first round pick this year, in what many believe will be a deep draft. The Knicks are in NBA purgatory. They’re too good to draft top level NBA talent. They’re also too bad to compete for more than an 8 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks need to fully embrace a rebuild. They have a really good young player in Kristaps Porzingis. He is a foundational player the Knicks can build around for years to come. At this trade deadline, the Knicks should begin their full rebuild by trading star forward Carmelo Anthony. Before you throw your phones New Yorkers please hear me out.
- Melo is aging and expensive
Carmelo Anthony is a great volume scorer. But he isn’t a franchise changing superstar. He’ll be making max money as he moves into his mid thirties, for a team that’s not good enough to compete for Eastern Conference supremacy. I hear Knicks fans say,”Melo isn’t the problem”, and I understand what they mean, but judging by their record this season, Carmelo also hasn’t been the answer. For the money he makes, he should be a clear difference maker for the Knicks on both sides of the floor. He simply is not. The Sixers and Celtics have gone the long route of rebuilding through the NBA draft. They’re acquiring young assets and creating cap flexibility for themselves, a process which requires patience, but will produce great rewards in the future. By trading Anthony, the Knicks could clear cap space, maybe re-acquire their first round pick this year, and finally wash their hands of this disappointing era. If not, they’ll be old, and deeper into cap hell, watching the C’s and Sixers own the Atlantic Division for years to come.
2. The Experiment Has Failed
Since trading for Carmelo Anthony in the 2010-2011 season, the Knicks have made the playoffs 3 times. They were bounced by the Pacers in the second round in 2013, which was the only season they won a series with Anthony. The Knicks have missed the playoffs the last two years. It’s safe to say Carmelo and the Knicks have failed to live up to the expectations of many when they traded a king’s ransom for the forward. Melo isn’t a franchise changing player, especially at this point in his career. The Knicks haven’t been successful with him. Holding on to Carmelo points to stubbornness and an unwillingness to admit and accept the obvious; this experiment has failed.
3. Summer 2017
There’s hope Knicks fans. Your team plays in New York City, in the greatest basketball arena in the world. Your brand, and your city are recognizable enough to attract young talented free agents. If you trade Carmelo Anthony now, (along with Afflolo and Lopez I would add), you would free up money, acquire draft assets, and place yourself in a great position for a huge free agency summer in 2017. What do you think about Russell Westbrook? How about Kyle Lowry? Does Blake Griffin ring a bell? The 2017 FA class could have all those stars, including the “Greek Freak”, Serge Ibaka, Rudy Gobert, and wait for it…Greg Monroe! You don’t need a Carmelo Anthony in the twilight of his career as some bait to help attract free agents. How did that work out this past summer?
You might be asking, who would take on that contract? That is the tough part. The Lakers have young pieces and a ton of money coming off the books with Kobe Bryant retiring. I’m not so sure they would be against adding a notable name and star to replace Bryant for the near future. Another destination that might make sense? Sacramento. The Knicks could agree to take on Rudy Gay’s expiring contract (2017 FA) and hopefully gain a draft pick in the process as well to sweeten the pot. Think Carmelo (plus a George Karl firing) would make Boogie happy?
Knicks fans, if you want to win, and when I say win, I don’t mean competing for a 7 or 8 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, then you must rebuild around young fresh players, starting with Kristaps Porzingis. This means, it’s time to trade the aging, expensive, pseudo-superstar Carmelo Anthony.
By: Corey Johnson