Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Even If Knicks Gave Away Promising Talent, Carmelo Anthony Installs Prominence
For now, anyway, it's about survival for the New York Knicks, an urban community that can finally sigh relief with the Carmelo Anthony acquisition to significantly cease the perpetual drama in the Big Apple, to diminish the mystery of uncertainty amidst the melodrama and even to abate prolonged and strange rumors which had been fueled by the over-hyped business issues.
This isn't the same team that we saw at the beginning of the season, not after the Knicks wisely chose to upgrade its roster, not after the Knickerbockers pulled off a massive deal, probably one of the most blockbuster deals in franchise history, for an opportunity, a chance to contend in the Eastern Conference.
All of a sudden, as the NBA advances near the midway point, the Knicks resurrected, and for once, aren't a mortal franchise deprived of talent or a shot to rise to preeminence or even into top-notch contention, maybe not this season, but a couple of seasons from now, if the Knicks manufacture talented role players to supplement in the company of a legit superstar tandem.
It's as if a party visited Broadway for a celebration to welcome the Knicks newest addition, and as it all ended so sweetly for New York; owner James Dolan finally relaxed after he won the Anthony sweepstakes over the Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and his cryptic Nets. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers poured onto the streets, perhaps to crowd the busiest location in the urban town, thrilled over the business deal that sent Anthony to the Knicks, tempted to dispatch a horrid era of woes and heartaches when traditionally the franchise was once well-known in the NBA.
It was all done by Dolan, one of the richest owners in the league, when he moved late Monday night to put a halt to the drama that lingered forever it seemed. That's how the Knicks were brilliant buyers and also granted Anthony his wish to play in New York, a place that will uplift his professional status. It's the opposite of Denver, a place he called home, but he truly had the enthusiasm to join the Knicks and had regularly begged to migrate to the East Coast.
Thing is, if he had never pulled the trigger and traded for 'Melo, Dolan would have clearly been lambasted for turning down a proposed deal from the Denver Nuggets in hopes to obtain Anthony. Point is, if he had never aggressively invited in offers for the availability of the targeted star on the market, Dolan would have obviously been labeled a moron for not constructing a deal to lure Anthony to Broadway, where he'll be a primary asset for a revitalized basketball team that obliges fans.
There's no doubt that the Knicks needed Anthony, just as much as he really wanted to wear a Knicks uniform, that fans implored for him and he wanted to form a sturdy nucleus with Stoudemire. All along, the Knicks were one player away from climbing into contention, and with Anthony, a clutch superstar and one of the centerpieces to the recreation of a championship-caliber team, New York has reclaimed relevancy and ended abysmal disasters.
The reality is that the mediocrity has faded away, as the Knicks are at long last, relevant by the creation of strong talent to frighten its opponents if they dominate at will. What could be a way to bolster the likelihood of a championship, is clearly the main attraction on Broadway, particularly if he delivers the prize to New York. The fear of gambling a promising lineup wasn't a problem for Dolan, a brave chairman who decided to trade his stars in the future in exchange for Anthony, the Brooklyn-born All-Star forward and former Syracuse star.
When he chose to send his promising stars elsewhere, mostly anxious to win a title sooner than later, the Knicks theoretically vaulted to the top of a premier franchise. For months, as we know already, Anthony had aimed to be a resident of the Knicks, and indeed, his dream came true after all. Growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, he was optimistic that he'd suddenly land with the Knicks as they plan to retool in what has been a rebuilding mode.
It's apparent that the Knicks ambitious plan to likely bring in either Chris Paul or Deron Williams next season is the next priority, when Dolan was dauntless to do away with point guard Raymond Felton, 26, although he averaged 17 points and 9.0 assists. That is, of course, only a bit of the nucleus lost. The price for Anthony was steep, but the Knicks are winners after all and benefited in the end.
This forced Dolan to make drastic maneuvers in which he traded his two talented forwards. He shipped off Danilo Gallinari, a sharpshooter who had posted nearly 16 points a game, and he sent away Wilson Chandler in that deal also, a shooter who was having a breakthrough season. Throw in his rookie center Timofey Mozgov, who was sent to the Nuggets.
So mostly, the Knicks mortgaged the team's future to take a gamble on 'Melo, daring enough to threw in his club's 2014 first-round pick, two second-round picks it possessed next year and in 2013 from the Warriors, $3 million in cash. Alas, he could have sadly ruined his relationship with veteran general manager Donnie Walsh, a mastermind who may opt to leave after he had disapproved of selling much of its current roster.
Was Dolan listening to Isiah Thomas, the juvenile manipulator and instigator? Maybe he took advice from a former NBA personality with no coaching personality whatsoever. Maybe he's close to rehiring Thomas, coach of Florida International University, a mediocre basketball program with no driven mindset or spirit.
If he does rehire Thomas, we can imagine the dispirited souls of basketball fans in Time Square and the local tabloids ridiculing the outrageous decisions. Meanwhile, the Knicks received Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter. In a three-way deal, obviously, the Knicks traded Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to the Minnesota T-Wolves and will reportedly send Corey Brewer in return.
The awful thought of it is the Knicks gave up all of this for Anthony, and in all honesty, the Nuggets amazingly earned more in return, although the Knicks win the 'Melo sweepstakes. So this deal won't be a waste by the offseason, Anthony is expected to be given a three-year, $65 million extension. The addition of Billups is useful for the fact that he provides veteran leadership, but at the age 34, he is well past his prime.
The folks on Seventh Avenue will still celebrate for, surprisingly, the stud Landry Fields, an impressive rookie, who wasn't part of such a colossal package. Although he's the star player everybody in New York longed for, Walsh had not expressed interest in Anthony and didn't envision him in the future plans.
Whatever anybody believes, the Knicks improves greatly, without question.