Here's the problem.
The Knicks need a big man more than they need another scorer. The big man that the Knicks should be going after will become available the minute that Carmelo Anthony finds a new home. The Knicks need not look very far to find him. After all he plays just a few feet away from Anthony.
Brazilian center Nene should be the object of Knickerbocker lust. He would be the perfect compliment to star forward Amare Stoudamire and fit nicely in the Mike D'Antoni seven second or less offense.
Here's the trade:
- New York sends Eddy Curry and Wilson Chandler to Denver plus Minnesota's 2011 first-round pick
- New York sends Anthony Randolph to Minnesota plus $3,000,000
- Denver sends Nene to New York
- Minnesota sends a 2011 first-round pick plus the rights to PG Ricky Rubio to New York.
Not a whole lot different than what the media initially reported the Knicks offered for Carmelo Anthony.
Denver can trade Anthony to the New Jersey Nets or Houston Rockets, who offer a better match in terms of young players, draft picks and salary cap-absorbing contracts. Denver can also flip Chauncey Billups as well to any number of teams in the thick of the playoff race.
Who is a better fit for the Knicks?
If you are a fan of statistical measurements, Nene is as efficient as you can get in the pivot with a player efficiency rating of 21.25. This is nearly identical to Carmelo Anthony.
For the season, Nene is averaging 15 points per game with seven rebounds and a block thrown in for good measure. He presently leads the league in FG percentage at an absurd 63.7. He brings accuracy to the charity strip as well, hitting 76.4 percent.
More importantly, he's a legit big man that will bang. That's something that the Knicks do not have and a player that Mike D'Antoni has never had, for that matter.
Nene is, effectively, insurance for Amare's contract. We are not even half way through the season and we see the wear and tear that Stoudemire has gone through. D'Antoni has played him way too many minutes and far too many of those minutes have been at center. A full year of this and the Phoenix Suns will look a lot smarter for passing on extending him.
The lineup will have a more conventional look to it and that's a good thing. The Knicks will make the playoffs in 2011. In the first round, they will likely face one of the top three teams in the Eastern Confererence (Miami, Chicago or Boston).
Chicago and Boston offer deep rosters, and a gutted Knicks team would not be competitive. I would much rather have a Felton, Fields, Gallinari, Stoudamire, Nene lineup than a lineup featuring Stoudamire, Anthony and a bunch of developmental-league players.
Along with a more conventional look, I believe that bringing Nene into the fold will provide better spacing for the Knicks perimeter players on offense. The perimeter play is what is most critical to Mike D'Antoni's offensive scheme. More open threes for Gallinari, Fields and Felton will be in order.
Last, but not least, Nene's contract makes a lot of sense for the Knicks.
His contract is going to expire at the end of the 2012 season, along with Felton and Gallinari. Donnie Walsh has 2012 firmly in his sights, as it will feature several strong free agents.
This trade makes the team better in the short term and allows the team the option for retooling later.
Go get Nene.