5. Lack of Defense. The New York Knicks are already possibly the most awful defensive unit in the league; adding Carmelo Anthony to the mix would only make matters worse. At least Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler try to play defense. Carmelo just stands there and looks at his imaginary watch, waiting for time to play on offense again.
4. The Nets Aren't Ready. Some people (read: me) thought the other team in the market, the one just 15 minutes across the river, would make a significant leap this season, but that has yet to materialize. That means the Knicks can operate without fear of losing some of their fan base to the local competition.
In other words, they don't need to make a big move right away. As long as the Nets are struggling, the Knicks can afford to be patient and develop their youth. It would be a different story if the Nets landed a superstar and passed the Knicks in the standings.
3. Surplus at Small Forward. Chandler, Gallinari and rookie Landry Fields are young, talented, hard-working, team-oriented, inexpensive, likable and, most importantly, effective players. Gallinari, the sixth overall pick in the 2008 Draft, just turned 22 five months ago, stands 6-foot-10 and can shoot the lights out when on. With another two years of seasoning, he could reach Andrea Bargnani status.
What the Knicks do need is an athletic two-guard who can defend the opposition's best perimeter player, as well as a traditional front-court bruiser to eat space, crash the glass and protect the rim. Carmelo doesn't satisfy either need. Instead he just provides offensive firepower, something the Knicks, the highest scoring team in the league, already have plenty of.
2. Money, Money, Money. Currently, the Knicks are set to be approximately $14 million under cap for next season, depending on what happens during labor negotiations. Either way, Amar'e Stoudemire and his massive contract are taking up a good 42 percent of the cap. If the Knicks were to ink Carmelo—at minimum it would be a deal worth close to $20 million per season—that would mean over 70 percent of the cap would be dedicated to just two players.
Even if Stoudemire and Carmelo were to stay healthy and productive, little cash flexibility would be left for the rest of the roster. Such was the case when Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell dominated the team's payroll years back. Houston got hurt and the rest is history. Making matters worse, neither Stoudemire nor Carmelo occupy one of the game's two most critical positions, center or point guard.
1. Cost and Risk of Immaturity. Yes, it's been a long time since Anthony appeared in a "Stop Snitchin'" street DVD that spread the message throughout Baltimore for dirt-doers to stop snitchin' on other neighborhood dirt-doers.
Yes, he got caught with pot at the airport, but that's a long cry from smoking crack with hookers in a seedy motel, a la Michael Irvin.
Yes, millions of people have gotten DUIs living in areas where the only way to get to and from a bar is by getting behind the wheel.
Yes, plenty of athletes have thrown a punch at someone during the intensity of a competitive game (me included).
Yes, plenty of superstar athletes have demanded a trade during their career.
Anthony is obviously no saint nor is he the Devil. Still, we're not crazy for taking his decision-making into question. What's going to happen when he goes to New York City, where it's much easier to get in trouble than Denver, and attends a party where [insert obnoxious celebrity] flirts with his wife, Lala Vasquez?
What happens when rapper Fabolous shows up with his entourage and runs into Sebastian Telfair and his posse? The point being, will Carmelo know when it's time to leave?
I don't think he's a bad guy but he has Plaxico Burress written all over him. Is this the guy Knicks fans want as the face of the organization?
Also, he has also been the man everywhere he's gone except for on Team USA (and he complained about that). Joining the Knicks would mean deferring to Stoudemire, a guy who relishes in being the face of the team. Both have sensitive, fragile egos, as does Mike D'Antoni, creating a situation ripe for telenovela-caliber drama (minus the lovely women who make the experience watchable).
Conclusion: If I were Donnie Walsh, I'd focus on trading my young talent for the likes of Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor. Paul's playmaking ability will bring the best out in everyone, and Okafor will give the Knicks a true center who blocks shots and rebounds. If not these two, then a similar tandem (Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan?).
Overall, if the Knicks truly want to be successful and return to being a great organization, they need to abandon the business model of being a money-making attraction and focus on getting desirable on-court results.
After all, this is NYC, where basketball is a religion. Give this town a winner and everyone will jump on the bandwagon. Give it a loser and we won't care, even if "Steve Franchise" and "Starbury" are in the house.