Monday, February 14, 2011

Knicks and Carmelo

The New York Knicks are starting to blame their losses on the rumors that Carmelo Anthony, one of the most talented players in the NBA, might join the Knicks in the near future. Such an excuse is unacceptable. With the February 24 trade deadline approaching, the Knicks need to pray that they can add talent in the coming weeks, but they also must be prepared to go forward without 'Melo.

Carmelo Anthony

The story of Carmelo Anthony begins in New York City and may return there. He loved the Knicks as a child growing up in Brooklyn but moved to Baltimore at age eight. He was initially cut from his high school basketball team but grew five inches in one year to become one of the most sought after players in the country. He led Syracuse to the NCAA title in his freshman year and then entered the NBA, losing out to LeBron James in the Rookie of the Year battle.

'Melo, though young, became a leader on his team as well as a dominating offensive force in the NBA very quickly and was rewarded with large numbers of All-Star votes as well as tremendous success against the elite teams of the Western Conference in the play-offs.

As we fast forward to 2011, Carmelo Anthony stands as one of the three or four most feared offensive threats in the NBA with no signs of slowing down. His defense improves every year, and he has slimmed down in recent years to become a more athletic player in every element of the game.

His team, the Denver Nuggets, has promoted rumors that they are looking to trade 'Melo before the February 24 trade deadline, and the New York Knicks have emerged as one of his potential destinations. The New Jersey Nets, who are slated to move in two years to Carmelo Anthony's birthplace of Brooklyn, have stated that they are no longer part of trade talks with the Denver Nuggets. We don't believe that the Nets are truly out of the running, but only time will tell.

Knicks Excuses

The New York Knicks recent disappointing performance has been blamed (by the Knicks themselves) on the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors and speculation.

The excuses are not acceptable. Professional players need to be professional. They have a responsibility to their employers to provide a full and focused effort and get beyond distractions, whether on or off the court. The 'Melo rumors are not grounded in anything meaningful. The Knicks have the desire and the funds to land Carmelo Anthony, but they do not have the talent to offer Denver in a trade. Therefore, the Knicks are not well positioned to acquire 'Melo and should set aside all speculation and focus on the task at hand - gaining momentum heading into the playoff this year after a decade of being left out of the playoffs by poor performance on the court.

During the off season prior to this NBA season, Carmelo Anthony married a woman from New York, fueling speculation that he might push for a trade to the Knicks or Nets. But, Carmelo has stated emphatically that his wife's geographic connections to New York are not at all affecting his decision-making regarding his future as an NBA player. Nonetheless, the New York Knicks want 'Melo, and 'Melo and his wife are both from New York. The Nets are coming to New York and might be just as attractive geographically, if not as attractive in terms of talent.

Knicks fans want Carmelo to come to NYC (even Knicks fans who play for opposing teams), but no one can name a compelling set of talented Knicks that should go to Denver and satisfy the Nuggets' desire to get better as they lose their best player.

In the end, the Denver Nuggets will need to obtain enough talent from a trade counterparty to make the trade of Carmelo Anthony a wise move in Denver, and that makes the New York Knicks and the Nets unlikely counterparties. Yet, the rumors rage, and now the payers themselves blame the raging rumors for their poor performance. Silly and unacceptable.

Message to the Knicks: Play ball. He's probably not coming here, and if he is, obsessing about his future is not making yours any brighter.

Message to Knicks Fans: Keep praying for 'Melo (and his wife) to make their way to Madison Square Garden. It has been a decade of embarrassment and frustration. Stoudemire has more than lived up to the hype that surrounded his move to New York, and combining his all around effectiveness with the offensive dominance of 'Melo would make the Knicks an elite team (assuming that they learn to play defense). But, there is nothing you can do but pray. February 24th will be here soon.

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