However, it doesn't seem very likely the Knicks will be able to create a substantial package to land CP3 in the Garden. With that being said, what will the squad look like on Christmas Day when it laces up to face the rival Boston Celtics, the same team that swept them out of the first round in the playoffs this past summer?
You know him, you love him: STAT. The Knicks' shining beacon of hope. Amar'e put up an MVP campaign for a good part of the season, until being the man in New York weighed him down physically. He was often playing out of position as the center, making up for the Knicks' deficiency
However, things will be a little different this year, now having Carmelo Anthony from the start, allowing some of the weight to be put on his shoulders.
The key to fully unlock STAT's potential is for the Knicks to get a defensive center, allow Amar'e to play the pick-and-roll with Chauncey Billups and really use Amar'e's athleticism.
The Knicks will finally have Carmelo and for a full season. He didn't find his way to New York until the trade deadline in February last year, coming in the second half of the season. Now, he will be able to further impact the team, being there for the entire season, and mesh with Amar'e Stoudemire and the rest of the team to march into the playoffs.
Landry Fields was in Rookie of the Year discussion early on last season, behind Blake Griffin, but it was no secret that he suffered when 'Melo came to the team.
'Melo and Amar'e were the two guys getting the majority of the possessions, and Fields declined. This isn't very surprising, however, with a rookie who was just finding his niche on this New York team, only to have the team drastically changed when 'Melo came to town.
Wilson Chandler was out; Danilo Gallinari was out; Raymond Felton was out. In come Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups (I know other players were in the trade, but these are the only ones who were making a impact).
Now, Landry will be able to re-establish his role with this team. He knows who his mates are, and he knows what he needs to do—catch and shoot, work off screens. Landry does not need to create scoring opportunities; having STAT and 'Melo getting double-coverage at times will do that for him. All he needs to do his get open and be ready to nail outside shots or drive to the hoop. He'll make it work.
Chauncey Billups will be returning to New York after the team picked up his option. He's in an awkward place, and he knows it. There is a lot of talk about Chris Paul coming to New York at some point, whether they somehow make a trade or he comes as a free agent in the summer.
Despite this, Chauncey is a solid PG for the Knicks. He averaged just under 17 points per game last year, a little over five assists and he was playing like an All-Star until he hurt his knee against the Magic. After that, Billups looked fatigued often, and overmatched.
Expect him to revert to the player he was when he first landed with the Knicks in February, and be a solid scorer on the team, behind STAT and 'Melo.
Now, there really isn't anything I can say here to ignite hope or confidence when it comes to the Knicks' center situation.
Neither of these guys are anything to write home about; you can call them defensive specialists if you want to be nice, but they aren't even great at doing just that. Both seem afraid to shoot, afraid to do anything other than take up space.
The Knicks still have rookie Jerome Jordan, the 7'0" center who they acquired the rights to from Milwaukee. It seems like they aren't too high on him, and more talk continues to link the Knicks to Samuel Dalembert, the unrestricted free-agent center, but it seems like the Rockets are the favorite to land him.
Before the Knicks address the Chris Paul trade, they really need to figure out what is the right thing for center. That was their weak point last year, and it will continue to be until they make a move. The longer center is weak, the longer STAT will have to play out of position and deviate from his own game.
The Knicks will be better than last year, but don't expect a deep run until center is changed.