Linsanity has somewhat cooled down and the New York Knicks have returned to a sub-.500 record. Sitting at 18-24, the Knicks would miss the playoffs if they started today as they are in ninth place.
In the 10 games since Carmelo Anthony has returned from an injury, the Knicks are 2-8. Adding J.R. Smith to the roster has not had the impact the team hoped it would and the Knicks could be due for another major shakeup before this Thursday’s trade deadline.
Peter Vecsey wrote in the New York Post last month that the Knicks have almost certainly contacted the Orlando Magic about Dwight Howard just in case he changes his mind and would sign long-term in New York.
Vecsey quotes an anonymous general manager in the Eastern Conference that believes the Knicks are staying in the Howard sweepstakes:
“I’m positive the Knicks have called just in case Dwight changes up. I’m sure they’ve offered a combination of everybody, excluding Jeremy Lin, of course. Otis (Smith, Orlando general manager) deserves a lot of credit for not putting it out on the street which teams have offered what.”
Including Anthony in a deal could make sense for the Knicks at this point. Reported by Marc Berman of The New York Post, the relationship between Anthony and head coach Mike D’Antoni is deteriorating. The Knicks have struggled since Anthony has returned to the lineup and have lost six straight.
As Berman notes, D’Antoni insists on running the offense through point guard Jeremy Lin because, after all, it was Lin who sparked an 8-1 winning streak and became an international sensation. This could be the reason for the rift between D’Antoni and Anthony, who is used to controlling the ball.
Berman speculates that the differences between the two are irreconcilable and there is almost zero chance that they both will be back in New York next season.
D’Antoni may be pushing for this trade or another one because if only Anthony or he returns next season, it is more likely he will be shown the door and Anthony will stick around.
The Knicks may also feel pressure to make a significant move before they share their city with another NBA team. The aforementioned Nets are on Howard’s shortlist and the team will move to Brooklyn after this season.
If the Nets do land Howard, that could help the relocated Nets steal some of the fans in the city and could turn the team into another threat in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks may feel the pressure of keeping fans coming to Madison Square Garden and focusing on moving up in the standings.
Anthony was brought in to make the Knickerbockers contenders but has been unable to do so thus far.
Even without Anthony, the Knicks have the ability to score. Defense is an issue the team faces and Howard has been named the Defensive Player of the Year for the past three seasons.
The Knicks do not have much to lose by expressing interest in Howard even if he is not interested in joining the team.
He would be a perfect fit in New York and could do for the organization what Anthony has not been able to.
If only they can convince him to commit to the team.