Folks Down on Carmelo to Knicks Don’t Understand the NBA

| by Alex Groberman

It’s pretty amazing that in today’s media cycle, a trade that completely changes the prospects and championship potential of particular team can be viewed as a bad thing.

One would think, that by getting a top-five talent in the NBA in Carmelo Anthony for the sum total of complete and utter garbage, the New York Knicks would be regarded as gods in the news today. After all, they somehow convinced the Denver Nuggets that by accepting multiple mediocre-at-best nobodies, they were getting some sort of value for one of the premiere players in the league.

Yeah, Ray Felton, Timofey Mozgov, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are solid role players. Good little pieces to put around a team of stars. Cool.

You know who else had really good role players? The Cleveland Cavaliers circa 2009-10.

Role players have value when they are fully able to play their role. The only way they can play their role is if they have stars to lead the way, take the pressure off of them and allow them to do what they do best.

These role players are a dime-a-dozen in the NBA.

Yet instead of praising the Knicks for their shrewdness and never-say-die attitude when it came to obtaining Anthony, the media seems intent on bashing.

They could have gotten him through free agency…

Really now?

When the LeBron-athon was going on leading up to his free agency, everyone just knew that he would stay with the Cavaliers. Or, everyone just knew that he would go to the Knicks. And, of course, everyone just knew that he would pair up with Jay-Z in New Jersey and give the NBA 99 problems.

The only thing people didn’t seem to know until the final days was that he would end up in Miami.

There are no certainties in this sport. Zero. A player signed today is something that is guaranteed, something definite. A player that may sign over the summer is a risk.

The Knicks opted not to take that risk. Rather, they decided to show the player whom they hope will be their cornerstone for the next decade that he is a priority. That the same way they expect for him to give it all for their franchise, they’ll give it all to get him.

And what exactly was the oh so steep cost?

Chandler? An overrated swing man whose contract wouldn’t have been picked up over the summer anyway to make room for big free agent signings?

Felton? An under-achieving point guard who thrived in a Mike D’Antoni offense that always makes stars of the playmakers? Chauncey Billups will not only easily step into Felton’s shoes, he’ll thrive in the position with poise, experience and an understanding of what it takes to win.

Gallinari? A nice little piece who isn’t anywhere as good as Anthony and likely would see his totals and production level drop significantly upon Anthony’s arrival?

Mozgov? Seriously?

Draft picks?

Get outta here.

This was a brilliant move.

Who cares if James Dolan stepped in and undermined Donnie Walsh? It’s Dolan’s team. It’s Dolan’s call.

Walsh is an employee who can come and go as he pleases. Walsh is stuck with whatever happens in New York, and his legacy is on the line every single time the Knicks players suit up. He needed to make a big call, a management decision – and that’s what he did.

Was Isaiah Thomas a factor in this whole thing? Maybe. After all, A.W. is rarely wrong. But either way, even a broken clock gets the time right twice a day. Anthony needed to come to New York ASAP, and anyone who was pushing to make that happen was on the right side of this battle.

It won’t be easy at first.

Anthony and Billups, although extremely talented, don’t mesh perfectly with D’Antoni’s run-and-gun offense. The former tends to halt the offense and attempts to attack the basket with isolation plays, and the latter prefers a more contained, intricate plan of attack. Nevertheless, both are professionals, and everyone will adapt.

After all, the chemistry issues would have existed regardless of when Anthony came to New York, be it February 22 or this coming summer.

For now, as the squad learns to grow and succeed together, they can take solace in the fact that their 29-53 seasons are behind them for the foreseeable future. They’re no longer a team on the come-up, they’re a legitimate almost-contender.