When you ask the common fan of the New York Knicks if the team should consider dealing Carmelo Anthony, it’s usually met with hostility because they don’t want their franchise player dealt.
And for the most case, you can understand it; just like when they saw Patrick Ewing traded some 16 years earlier and the Knicks franchise has really never been the same since. But when you ask most who don’t have an emotional attachment to the Knicks, dealing Melo might be best for the team.
It’s been six years since the Knicks pulled the trigger on the blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets to get Anthony and bring him to New York. Six years; some winning, but no championships. Not even an NBA Finals appearance (although for his sake, LeBron James has a lot to do with that).
Anthony was supposed to be the star this town needed six years ago. He wanted to be here, the Knicks wanted him in New York City and he was supposed to deliver the Knicks a championship. Except he hasn’t. And now, things are beginning to get worse.
Anthony and new Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek are clearly not seeing eye-to-eye on things, most importantly, playing defense. Hornacek has questioned whether or not players have the will or the skills needed to play defense and Melo didn’t care to hear the comments. Hornacek also turned his back in disgust the other night when Anthony called plays on offense for him, a clear sign that there’s a rift between the two.
Anthony also hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with Knicks president Phil Jackson, as Jackson has called out his star player for slowing down the offense when he holds the ball; a comment he didn’t care for but chose to not get into a public war of words with his boss.
Bottom line: the relationship between the Knicks and Anthony has gotten sour, no longer works and is in need of a parting of the ways. Remember, Melo is no longer the face of the franchise and the guy the Knicks are building around; Kristaps Porzingis is.
At 32, Anthony is still a very good player; an All-Star who can score and play at a top-level. But he’s not the piece you build a championship team around, as he’s more of the additional piece needed.
For a team like the Knicks, they have to start building the team around Porzingis as the primary scorer and player and fitting the team around him. By Anthony still trying to be that guy, it takes away from that. Now, it’s not saying that Anthony doesn’t help the Knicks win; he does. If you want to see the Knicks without Melo, watch the second half of the 2014-2015 season and you’ll really see how bad the Knicks can be without him (plus, no Porzingis).
With that said, Melo at this stage of his career fits a contender as a missing piece needed to win a championship. He fits with a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers. Or the Los Angeles Clippers. Or even the Chicago Bulls, who really should have been the team to sign him three summers ago. Teams who are more in line to win now as opposed to a Knicks team learning to get out of the basement of the Eastern Conference and finding their identity.
Last year, Melo was rumored to be involved in trade talks involving the Boston Celtics; another team who makes sense since they are one of the better teams in the East, but Melo reportedly waived his no-trade clause to stay out of Boston (not confirmed, but the rumor was that he wanted nothing to do with Boston or leaving New York).
Now if the Knicks were winning currently, this isn’t even a discussion and we aren’t mentioning Melo being dealt. But the Knicks are slowly fading into another losing season again and it’s starting to go from bad to worse, especially with the stuff being said between Melo and Hornacek.
Jackson needs to sit down with Melo and figure out a possible trade destination; if not mid-season or at the trade deadline, then before the 2017 NBA Draft and see if he can score another first round pick from a team in need of a veteran scorer who needs one more player to help them win.
As much as Knicks fans don’t want to admit it, it’s time for the Knicks and Melo to part ways because it’s best for both sides.