Since failing to sign two marquee stars during the offseason this past summer, Carmelo Anthony has been touted as the Knicks’ “plan B” all season long.
Whereas a player like LeBron James may have been simply teasing fans with the idea of him donning orange and blue, that seems to be exactly what Anthony wants. So far, he is holding out on accepting a contract extension from the Nuggets or any other team willing to make a trade for him, such as the Nets.
The Nuggets and Knicks appear to be at a standstill in regards to trade negotiations, with the Nuggets not overly interested in what the Knicks have to offer. While the surprise rookie of the season, Landry Fields, remains a conversation starter, that’s likely all he will be, as the Knicks are in no way set to part with him this early.
Though the production of players like Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari (two players offered for Anthony thus far) could be replaced with Anthony’s, Fields’ impact on his team is quite unique. Not a major scorer, Fields provides the Knicks with all the little things, including various intangibles that every successful team needs from an effective role player.
Anthony recently took a four-game leave of absence to mourn the death of his sister, but has since returned. The Nuggets put all trade talks regarding him on hold during his hiatus. That being said, don’t expect talks to heat up so quickly again between the two teams just yet.
As it’s been mentioned many times over, the Knicks' level of play is at its highest in years, and acquiring such a player as Anthony would force major adjustments to the team’s roster, chemistry and rotation.
Although the Knicks did push the Heat, winners of 10 straight road games and 16 out of their last 17 overall, to the absolute limit on Tuesday night, their eventual loss had nothing to do with not being able to match the offensive firepower of the “Big Three."
In fact, the Knicks were beat on the defensive end by big man Joel Anthony, who harassed Amar’e Stoudemire on defense. In addition, 7’3" center Zydrunas Ilgauskas pounded the Knicks for double-digit points in the first quarter alone and the team struggled to catch up to the Heat after that run.
The Knicks’ loss seemed to do with their lack of a taller inside presence on defense, as well as not being able to break through Miami’s own defensive wall.
Despite rumblings that having Carmelo Anthony on the roster would have helped the Knicks overtake the Heat, it is unlikely given the nature of the loss.
The team will go up against an even more formidable big man in Dwight Howard, as they visit the Magic in Orlando Thursday night. Again, it’s unlikely that Anthony would be able to combat any of the troubles the Knicks will have up front.
With the Knicks making noise in the East, staying consistent will be the key to their success at this point. Keeping all of the same players that have, thus far, contributed to the existing success would certainly qualify as a major component of consistency.
Knicks President Donnie Walsh just recently put this new Knicks squad together, and the team has shown great potential in their limited time together. Unless the team begins to struggle mightily, it could be smart to ride this out until the upcoming summer.
Even if another team was to trade for Anthony, with the goal of renting him for the rest of the season (like Michael Jordan’s Bobcats), this would be under the obvious impression that he would not return.
The Knicks would then have their opportunity to court him during free agency.
It’s certainly in the back of Walsh and company's minds that if Anthony wants to call New York home (again) so badly, it is bound to happen with or without a trade.
Given the positive season the Knicks are having, there is no need to trade away good players for Anthony when you could potentially group them all together as an even stronger team next season.
At this point, all is quiet on the Carmelo Anthony front for the Knicks, so no trade is imminent.
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