With the trade deadline quickly approaching, the New York Knicks find themselves one game over .500, holding the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, living and dying with every three pointer they take, and occupying the back page of every newspaper in town.
Over the past few nights, the fans at the world’s most famous arena found themselves chanting “We want Melo”—those being the same fans who made sure LeBron James received the best treatment an opposing player could receive before James turned them down and decided to head south.
Yes, the Knicks finally have their star in Amar’e Stoudemire, but everyone knows the Knicks can’t ride Stoudemire alone forever and with the current squad in place, the Knicks are nowhere near the Eastern Conference’s elite.
Which is why the Knicks can’t balk at a deal that would allow them to acquire Denver Nugget’s forward Carmelo Anthony. They must find a way to make this trade happen.
The Knicks have been perennial losers for the past decade, the franchise has suffered through bad ownership, bad decision making and much disappointment. This is a franchise that got all dressed up for the prom, only to be left behind for the Miami Heat.
But finally the Knicks are back to being relevant—relevant for the first time since Patrick Ewing graced the hardwood at Madison Square Garden. Relevant to a degree where they dominate the talk radio air waves in a city that includes two baseball and football teams.
The truth is the Knicks are currently playing entertaining basketball.
The Knicks are at a point where they are building something special. They have pieces in place and can’t afford to go back to being the losers they were before.
The time to pull a trigger on a Carmelo Anthony deal is now, not in the waning hours prior to the deadline, and certainly not next summer.
If the Knicks were to wait until the hours preceding the deadline, a team like Dallas could decide that Anthony is worth a rental, and pull the trigger on a deal.
If the Knicks were to wait until the free agency period, Anthony could ditch the Knicks for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers, which would be even worse than the LeBron James decision.
Now the questions arise—how do the Knicks make a deal, who do they give up and does a third team get involved?
The Knicks don’t necessarily have the best return package for the Denver Nuggets. They don’t have a potential superstar like the New Jersey Nets Derrick Favors, or a draft pick, but what the Knicks do have is desirable young talent.
If not for Blake Griffin, I could argue that Landry Fields has outplayed every single rookie in the National Basketball Association.
The first year shooting guard out of Stanford is currently averaging 10 points, and shooting 38 percent from behind the arc, not to mention he hasn’t missed a game this season. His seven rebounds per game leads all NBA guards.
Fields is one of those players who’s always at the right place at the right time, always making clutch defensive plays, hitting big shots and doing all the little things right. Fields would be one of the two pieces the Nuggets would make sure they receive in return for Anthony.
The second player is 22 year old Danilo Gallinari, the intriguing 6’10” Italian swing-man was the 6 thpick of the 2008 NBA draft.
Gallinari has had an up and down year to say the least. He’s struggled mightily at times, but he’s also shown great promise.
One thing we know for sure—Gallinari has the rare combination of size, athleticism and a great shooting touch. Some compare Gallinari to a young Dirk Nowitzki.
Overall Gallinari has averaged 16 points and four rebounds, while shooting 35 percent from behind the arc.
Gallinari wants to remain in New York, and some say all the trade rumors could be a major source of his struggles. I would certainly argue that Gallinari, not Fields, is the Knicks more coveted young player.
Regardless—neither of the two is worth holding on to if it means the chance to acquire Carmelo Anthony, one of the great talents of this league.
As of now, the Knicks are convinced that a deal can’t happen unless they keep two of the three in Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler.
Anthony would pair with Stoudemire and Felton and instantly make the Knicks contenders for the Eastern Conference crown, and potentially title contenders.
Anthony, a Brooklyn native, has made it clear that New York is where he wants to be.
Anthony has basically vetoed several trades including a blockbuster that would’ve sent him to the Nets, and his agent has come out and said that he isn’t committed to signing a long term extension anywhere aside from New York.
The Knicks are currently a one dimensional offensive team, living and dying with the three point shot, and draining all the oil in Amar’e Stoudemire’s tank.
Stoudemire is averaging an alarming 37 minutes per game, and who knows how many years he can play at this high a level.
If Anthony were to sign somewhere else, or take Denver’s offer, it would be a second missed opportunity under the Donnie Walsh regime, and could ultimately deem Walsh’s regime a complete failure.
The Knicks are currently stuck in mediocrity. The time to welcome a second superstar to Madison Square Garden is now.