Generally when a team hits a rough patch, the cliche is that the team needs to look around the locker room at their teammates and find a way to win.
This may be the case for the New York Knicks, who have lost 4 out of the last 5, but they are also in a unique situation because there is a superstar out there basically telling them 'find a way to get me to the World’s Most Famous Arena'.
The question is whether Donnie Walsh can work his magic and grant Carmelo Anthony his wish by getting him in the Orange and Blue.
Right now, the New Jersey Nets are the front runners to trade for Anthony and it has been reported that the Denver Nuggets have granted them permission to talk to Carmelo, basically selling him on the direction the Nets are taking and that he should sign the extension. I am sure their big selling point will be that he will be the star and face of the organization when they open their new arena in Brooklyn in a few years.
The problem with the Nets is that if they get Carmelo they will struggle to provide the pieces necessary around him in the years to come. They do have a young upcoming center in Brook Lopez but after the trade that is all they may have left. They will also be sending multiple first round picks in the potential trade so it is tough to see where additional talent will come from. The Nets at best would be able to sneak into the playoffs as a seven or eight seed but will not be able to compete with Boston, Miami or Chicago.
I believe Carmelo realizes this and understands that the Knicks offer him the best chance to compete for a championship now and not three years down the road. The Knicks have the low post presence in Amare Stoudemire, who is playing at an MVP type level, as well as Raymond Felton who is having one of the best seasons of his career and should be playing in the All-Star game this year. There is no reason why those three couldn't carry a team and compete with any team in the NBA.
One of the road blocks the Knicks have run into is no draft picks to trade. However, Walsh is confident he can get a first round pick and all indications are that they would trade Anthony Randolph for the draft pick. A potential trade of Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and a first round pick would benefit both teams. The Denver Nuggets are getting two young players who should continue to improve, salary cap flexibility with Curry’s contract coming off the books after this season and the draft pick they covet.
The Nuggets do not want to see Carmelo walk without receiving some compensation, like the LeBron/Cleveland situation last summer. I think as long as Carmelo stands firm in his stance that he wants to play for the Knicks and will only sign an extension with the Knicks, that he will be a Knick before the end of the month. However, that may be too long to wait as the Knicks are coming off two bad losses at home to Sacramento and Phoenix and three of their next five games are against San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Miami. It is very possible that by the end of January the Knicks could be looking at having a record below .500 for the first time since November, so it is important now more than ever to do whatever it takes to make a trade to bring Anthony to New York.