posted 2011-02-23 13:00:09

Landing Carmelo Anthony: How Much Is Too Much?

Carmelo taking names and breaking ankles. (Photo: Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Carmelo taking names and breaking ankles. (Photo: Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Landing Carmelo Anthony: How Much Is Too Much?

Making sense of the ‘melodrama’


Arthur Kapetanakis

Sports Editor

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, in the final minutes of a bad Knicks home loss against the Clippers, the Madison Square Garden crowd began chanting “We Want Melo,” urging management to make a trade for the disgruntled superstar. The Knicks players on the court would likely have preferred the standard boo-birds.

But putting the team’s psyche aside, the chant highlights a major problem with the New York fan base: a majority of Knicks fans are taking a “Melo or Bust” stance on the Anthony situation.

While it is understandable that Knicks fans are tired of waiting for their team to return to the upper echelon of the NBA, the ramifications of a panicked deadline-beating trade must be understood.

Recent reports indicate that the Carmelo Anthony’s Nuggets are requesting three starters from the Knicks in addition to Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and Anthony Randolph (or a draft pick). These three starters could be Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, and Landry Fields. All this would be in exchange for the services of Anthony and the aging former all-star point guard Chauncey Billups.

Three of the four Knicks starters I mentioned are all under 23, and at 26, Felton is still fairly young. Giving away any more than two of those four in a deal would be counterproductive for the Knicks. Of the four, Chandler and Felton would make the most sense to include in any deal because of the similarities between small-forwards Anthony and Chandler and point guards Felton and Billups.

The current Knicks roster averages 106.2 points per game, second in the league behind none other than Anthony’s Nuggets. This highlights an important point about the Nuggets star: he is a scorer. His 25.2 points per game is currently sixth highest in the league.

But as good as he is at scoring on the offensive end, Anthony is equally skilled at allowing the other team to score on defense. He requires the help of defensive-minded teammates around him, something the Knicks seriously lack. New York is currently the second worst statistical defense in the league, giving up 105.8 points per game.

Why should the Knicks blow up their young, meshing, offensively stellar roster for even more offense when, in reality, a defensive stopper in the paint would prove more useful?

While a blockbuster trade for Anthony may appease fans in the short run, a superstar combination of Anthony and Stoudemire will simply not be enough to compete with the “big threes” in Miami and Boston and the reining champions in Los Angeles.

Not if three-fifths of the Knicks starting lineup is gone.