Charley Rosen: New York Should Nix Carmelo Pursuit
The hullabaloo surrounding the prospective trading of Carmelo Anthony has an abundance of subplots. Will he meet with the Nets ownership? If he does, will he accept whatever offer might be forthcoming? Will New Jersey have to satisfy Denver by throwing in another first-round draft pick? How many more of Denver's undesirable contracts will the Nets be forced to absorb? Will Anthony ultimately decide to stay in Denver? Will the NBA undergo a lockout in July?
But another scenario that seems to be gaining credibility is the Knicks' being able to match Denver's demands by augmenting their player-package by obtaining a first-round pick (or picks) with trades of their own. This possibility has become more viable after 'Melo publicly stated that playing for New York has always been his "dream," as well as rumors of his wife La La's persistent lobbying for his signing with the Knicks.
Be that as it may, it says here that there are several reasons why 'Melo's coming to New York makes little sense for the Knicks.
First and foremost, additional scoring is the last thing the Knicks need. They already lead the league with 107.5 points per game. Plus, the rumor mill has them sending at least Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari to Denver, both of whom combine to average 33.0 points per game. Given Amar'e Stoduemire's fervent desire to be the team's go-to scorer, it's hard to imagine that Anthony could equal this number.
Moreover, with Chandler and Galinari gone, the Knicks would have absolutely no scoring off the bench -- unless they agree to the return of Al Harrington, a player whom Mike D'Antoni detests.
Since 'Melo plays no discernible defense, it's highly doubtful that New York's per game yield of 106.7 points allowed per game, -- which currently makes them the league's third-worst defense -- would improve.
In addition, despite his protests to the contrary, Stoudemire would surely resent having to share the spotlight with Anthony. After all, Amar'e's biggest beef in Phoenix was that he wasn't the focus of the Suns offense. And Stoudemire is blissfully delighted with being the biggest noise in the Big Apple.
Given their woeful defense (particularly in the paint) and the fact that they capture only 71.5 percent of available defensive rebounds (also third worst in the league), the Knicks have much bigger holes in their roster that must be addressed. Most importantly, a center who can rebound and block shots -- Sam Dalembert would be a perfect fit since scoring from that position would not be necessary.
Ronny Turiaf plays the center spot with admirable energy, but he's too undersized to be able to adequately defend without being in chronic foul trouble, and to be able to finish in a crowd of opposing bigs. In truth, Turiaf is best suited to be a second-string front-court player.
Also, because D'Antoni normally goes with a short playing rotation (7 ½ players as opposed to the 8 ½ man rotation that most coaches employ), his full-speed ahead offense demands above-average physical exertions from those who do play. That's precisely why Raymond Felton and even Stoudemire are beginning to wear out. Since Toney Douglas is a scorer desperately (and thus far unsuccessfully) trying to learn how to run a team, a pass-first backup for Felton at the point will become even more critical as the season progresses.
Why then are the Knicks so determined to acquire Anthony?
Simply to keep him away from the Nets.
Just imagine how much media and attendance competition the Nets will offer if 'Melo becomes their featured player when they move to Brooklyn. And with unlimited rubles to spend, how many other superstars (Chris Paul?) might be eager to join Anthony?
The superstar chase initiated by LeBron James and Chris Bosh has obliterated any semblance of rational thinking on the part of many NBA franchises. This is particularly true of the Knicks' current obsession with Anthony.