Finally, the Knicks got rid of Carmelo Anthony, and it’d be a joyous occasion if they’d actually gotten something in return. The trade was so bad, it cements the Knicks missing the playoffs for at least the next three years. Yes, in the woeful East!
Anthony’s history over the last six years in New York was nothing short of disastrous:
2011: Forces a trade to the Knicks that gutted the franchise, leaving him with nothing to work with. This is indisputable; the Nuggets had a better record than the Knicks over the last six years, by over 20 games.
2012: He runs Jeremy Lin out of town because he was jealous fans loved him. For awhile, this was Melo’s low point. It got much worse.
2013: The only bright spot: A 54-win season, a playoff series victory. It helped to have a strong roster: Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, kenyon martin, JR Smith, Amare Stoudemire. A few (?) of those guys will end up in the Hall of Fame. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since.
2014: Melo demands top dollar from the Knicks, and they foolishly gave it to him. A 5-year, $124 million deal that prevented them from having much wiggle-room in free agency. It was a bad move for a player who never made anyone better. Less than two months into the season, he threatened to beat up one of his teammates.
That’s it. That’s his legacy. I don’t want to hear about the coaches (he got several fired), or the front office disaster. A large part of the last six years falls at the feet of the team’s best player, from his playing style to his attitude to his (lack of) leadership.
So what should the Knicks have done? Played hardball last weekend.
We’re not dealing you for garbage. We know you want out, and we want you out, but tough darts, Melo. Show up and be a professional, or pout, your choice. We’re sending you to the franchise that gives us the best offer, and there’s a playoff team in Portland that is willing to give us a future #1 pick.
But the soft Knicks, operating out of fear, got trash in return: Another overpaid big man in an era of 3-point shooting. Don’t dream of Enes Kanter opting out next summer; he’d be a fool to do so. Nobody would pay him close to $19 million.
Doug McDermott was an awesome college basketball player. A joy to watch. This will be his 3rd team in four years on his rookie contract. It’s just not happening.
And a 2nd round pick? Get out of here with that weak sauce. Sam Presti hoodwinked the Knicks like he did the Pacers, and he deserves all the credit for shoving all his chips in the middle and at least giving Russell Westbrook a reason to think about staying in Oklahoma City.
The guess here is that it won’t be enough. If I asked you today where Westbrook might end up next summer, can you think of two contenders who would want him? The Clippers and … ?