March 3, 2009
By Frank Isola
Carmelo Anthony will one day become a Knick.
How do I know this? It's simple. By process of elimination.
Let's assume that LeBron James remains in Cleveland which I know sounds crazy to most rationale people but LeBron is from the state of Ohio. If he were from Texas or Washington or South Dakota I'm guessing he would leave Cleveland tomorrow for New York.
But the Cavs have built a contending team and with the threat of a lockout looming in 2011, LeBron has to option to sign an extension this summer with Cleveland.
Dwyane Wade would be second on the Knicks wish list but if you were a betting man you'd probably wager that Wade, who has already won a title in Miami, will remain with the Heat and go down as the greatest player in the history of the franchise. I just don't see a guy from Chicago leaving Miami to live in New York in the winter time.
That leaves Carmelo as the next player on our list. I believe he's well ahead of Chris Bosh, who has gone from under-appreciated to over-rated in a short amount of time. Again, if he's so good why is his team so bloody awful?
Amar'e Stoudemire is a good option but I think Mike D'Antoni would only take Stoudemire if he could also have Steve Nash in his prime and the chances are the Knicks are going to end up with Nash on his last legs.
Which brings us back to Melo, the future Knick. He is more of a Knick than any of the current superstars. Think about it; Like Patrick Ewing, he's from the Big East and won an NCAA title. Like Latrell Sprewell, he comes with baggage and cornrows. Like Bernard King he was born in Brooklyn. Like Earl Monroe he grew up in Baltimore.
He has his flaws which is very Knick-like. Ewing, Sprewell, Oakley, Starks and Mason had their flaws as well. LeBron is too perfect. Just like Kobe. And just like Jordan. Those are the guys we want to beat.
The Nuggets discussed the possibility of trading Carmelo last year and the Nets emerged as the most likely team to acquire him because of Carmelo's history with Kiki Vandeweghe. Carmelo, of course, now has a history with Mike D'Antoni having played for the U.S. National team.
The Knicks would jump at chance to land Carmelo, who in D'Antoni's system would be a power forward and would eat up opponents with his quickness and superior scoring ability. Denver has made trades for financial reasons as recently as last summer when the club dealt Marcus Camby to the Clippers. With the outlook for the economy bleak, Denver again may be looking to cut pay-roll. And judging from Carmelo's most recent transgression - he was suspended one game by the club for refusing to come out of a game against Indiana - is further proof that the team is losing its patience with their star player.
Maybe the Knicks could get Carmelo this summer by offering expiring contracts and draft picks. Or they could use their salary cap space to trade for him in 2010. I'm sure a couple of old Tar Heels, Donnie Walsh and George Karl, can work something out.
Sure Carmelo is no LeBron but he's pretty darn good.
So if you're looking for someone to root for this postseason - assuming the Knicks don't qualify - support the team that faces Denver in first round. Another quick exit by the Nuggets could force a shake-up in Denver and perhaps lead to Melo coming home.