The back cover of my Daily News this morning:
The article inside explains what the cover says: Even though the Nuggets’ asking price is “insane” — three starters, a draft pick and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract — the Knicks must trade for Carmelo Anthony.
OK, I’ll admit that I’m far from an expert in the workings of NBA front offices and I’m consistently baffled by the salary-cap maneuvering and everything else, so help me out here: Why is it so advantageous for the Knicks to get Anthony now?
Put aside for now the idea held by some that Anthony is overrated, a one-dimensional scorer. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s amount that he’s a great player who will help the Knicks win and will absolutely deserve the max contract he’ll soon receive from someone (either in free agency or as a more lucrative extension).
So to acquire ‘Melo now, the Knicks would reportedly have to give up five valuable properties including three starters, all of whom are pretty young and pretty good. Replaceable? Probably, but probably not with guys currently on the roster. Chauncey Billups, rumored to be part of the deal, would help.
But the Knicks are currently above .500 in February for the first time in lord-knows how long, and appear in good position to make the playoffs as currently constructed. ‘Melo brings in marketing dollars and sells tickets and all that, and I suppose that’s a consideration. But he has stated, I believe on multiple occasions, his interest in joining the Knicks.
Doesn’t that mean they’d have a pretty good shot at landing him this offseason, when the price would only be money? And couldn’t they always take their chances with their current squad, then try to trade for and extend Anthony between the end of the season and June 30, when the cost in players will presumably be much less?
It kind of reminds me of this thing, again. Trading for Anthony now is giving up an “insane” package for a few months and the exclusive right to sign him to an extension, when you might very well be able to secure that same right after the playoffs end or just sign him as a free agent in the offseason. Am I missing something? Does Donnie Walsh’s apparently tenuous hold on his position somehow factor in?