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Word of Caution on Carmelo Going to Knicks


I think I can safely say that everyone wants Carmelo Anthony on the Knicks. We can all agree. So that’s good. However some fans need to take a step back and realize that obtaining Carmelo Anthony immediately and at all costs may not be the best long term move for the franchise.

I recognize and respect most of the arguments:

  • Carmelo is a top 10 player in the NBA.
  • Amar’e needs help.
  • The playoffs aren’t guaranteed with the current cast of players.
  • The goal isn’t to be decent, it’s to win titles.
  • Etc.

All of this is true. However the Knicks shouldn’t burn the house down to the ground for ‘Melo. Why? The simple reason is that serious contenders have real depth, and to listen to some fans, depth is an afterthought.

But if you look at most any NBA champion, dating back decades, almost without exception they quality depth. Many had all-stars, recent all-stars, or star quality players off the bench. Recently for example, the Spurs had Manu, and the Lakers had Odom. In the late ’90s the Knicks were able to remained competitive despite Patrick Ewing’s constant injury woes because when he went down, the young Marcus Camby was waiting in the wings.

Make no mistake, depth is a big question mark for the Miami Heat now and will continue to be one in the future. If any one of the big 3 go down with an injury the Heat go from title favorite to one of several contenders. They will be outmatched in many positions and on the bench by teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Magic.

With any of these contenders though, if a key player does get hurt, they would still be capable of winning 50 games.

But if the Knicks trade their entire roster for ‘Melo, how many games can either Amar’e or ‘Melo be expected to carry the team to if either of the other gets hurt? Not that many. The Knicks wouldn’t be a contender even with ‘Melo and Amar’e because they wouldn’t have depth.

Look, I’m finally starting to come around to the notion that the Knicks might have to part with Gallo and Randolph and Chandler to land ‘Melo this year. But I’d like to caution folks who are willing to trade all those plus Mozgov plus Douglas plus whoever else (“pawns” as one Twitter follower called them), that a team of Felton, Fields, ‘Melo, Amar’e, Turiaf, ‘Buke, Mason Jr., Rautins, and Ewing Jr. is just not going to get it done now or in the future, particularly if either ‘Melo or Amar’e get hurt. If that happens, the Knicks are a lottery team.

I get it, if you want to compete you need stars. But if you want to compete you also need a bench.

Donnie Walsh already said that he isn’t going to empty the cupboard in a trade for ‘Melo, likely because he knows the following three things:

  1. ‘Melo wants to be a Knick whether it happens via trade or free agency;
  2. There are other good players in the NBA, star players. And some of them might want to shake loose of their current situations. It happens every year, and a hypothetical future deal might cost the Knicks something less than everything they have;
  3. Good teams have good benches.


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