Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks: it was worth it

Most of the negative reaction about the trade is just buyer's remorse. Ok Melo could have been had for less, just like you could have paid less for that 2nd-hand car you bought if you had waited till summer. Or it could have been gone forever.  Do you really want Donnie Walsh to say he passed on 'Melo for Timofey Mozgev? Nope. Yeah the Knicks went all-in for 'Melo and maybe it won't work out, but it's the kind of gamble every NBA team has to take in order to make themselves into championship contenders. As Donnie Walsh said in a radio interview, you have to choose whether to get your superstars now and build the supporting cast later, or vice-versa. The Knicks chose the former. Miami is probably going to contend for the next five years at least - the Knicks aren't getting out of the East without superstars to match the Heatles. That's how the game is today - you need superstars to win. Even if the Knicks don't win in the near future, the chances of CP3 or Deron Williams signing here in 2012 with 'Melo and Amare and forming their own supergroup just increased massively.

Billups, if he comes ready to play, is an upgrade over Felton until 2012, especially in the playoffs. Billups ran the Team USA offense under D'Antoni very well or so they say. Chandler was most likely gone after this season without a much bigger contract that would have eaten into the Knicks cap space, so that's no big loss. Gallinari had potential...but that's all he had. He's just very inconsistent and only D'Antoni would probably play him as a starter. Anthony replaces both those guys, plus the Knicks got a whole gaggle of swingmen like Walker and Azubuike and Williams and Brewer to step into that position. The biggest loss to me was at C and PF. Mozgev...well he looked like he had potential, but D'Antoni's ridiculous small-ball system froze him out for most of the season. Ditto Randolph. So I mean it's no point holding onto guys that your coach isn't going to play. The real test is for D'Antoni to effectively utilize Anthony in his system. If he can't do it he's most likely gone after this season. Donnie Walsh is also gonna have to work some more magic to get the Knicks a legit big man up front.

But to me one of the most appealing things about the trade is just simple karma. The pieces the Knicks gave up represent fair value for Denver. They can keep them, or flip Gallinari and Mozgev to New Jersey for first-rounders. But there's no way Denver fans can say 'Melo stiffed them and left them with nothing or less than what he was worth. So maybe the basketball gods will smile on New York, just for once.

The most puzzling question is exactly what part Dolan and Isaiah Thomas played in this and how much Walsh was on board with the bigger offer that was made. But I doubt very much Walsh will consider this  a bad trade. He's the guy who pulled the trigger on Amare for $100 mil in the summer, when everybody said it was overpaying the guy. And so far Amare has been worth every penny - when last did a New York Knick start and drop 29 in a All-Star game? My respect for Donnie Walsh has grown a great deal - he's not impatient like Thomas but he's also not afraid to go all-in on a true franchise player when a real opportunity arises.

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