Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In terms of NY, Carmelo > LeBron

By no means am I saying Carmelo Anthony is a better basketball player than LeBron James. To say that would be to misconstrue the title of this post.

But what I am saying is that there is a very realistic chance that Carmelo, who NBA sources say will leave Denver after this season (or earlier), is interested in playing in New York. A much more realistic chance than the Knicks ever had of landing LeBron. Everybody knows how I felt about that from the start.

Now not all of this is based on Chris Paul's toast to a "Big Three" including himself, Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire at Anthony's wedding. But it certainly doesn't hurt.

Anthony went to college at Syracuse, granted for just one season, but he also grew up in Baltimore and has plenty of ties to the eastern seaboard. I know the Hornets just traded Darren Collison, which makes it even more difficult for them to handle the loss of Paul to another team, but even without Paul I think Anthony is intrigued by the Knicks.

The only real issue I see that could block this from happening would be the Knicks' glut of small forwards. Danilo Gallinari, while able to play shooting guard, is a better fit at small forward defensively as is Wilson Chandler, who doesn't have the post game to be a power forward or the jump shot for shooting guard. The Knicks would need to get rid of one of those players if Anthony came on board or have multiple players playing out of position.

The other question is how Melo would end up in the Big Apple. It's doubtful that the Nuggets, who recognize they will most likely not be able to keep Anthony, will let him go to free agency and receive nothing in return. This means a trade is the most likely scenario and any deal with the Knicks would most likely include Gallinari, eliminating the overcrowding issues at small forward.

But what else would the Knicks have to move besides Gallinari? They don't have a first-round pick in 2012 (unless it's in the top five) and will most likely be swapping their 2011 pick with Houston thanks to the Tracy McGrady trade, so the best pick the Knicks could offer would be a 2013 first-round pick, which seems too far away to be legitimately discussed.

That leaves other players who may need to be involved. Chandler is a definite possibility, as he would find himself out of position in any scenario with him and Anthony on the court. Toney Douglas is also a possibility, but the Knicks don't have much in the way of young talent outside of those three players (sorry, Andy Rautins) to get a deal done.

There is still much to be written about the possible arrival of Carmelo in New York, but it remains a realistic possibility that could help the Knicks at least reach the playoffs, if not make some noise once they get there. But without Paul joining Anthony and Stoudemire, I can't see them competing with the Heat in the East. Or even the Magic or Bulls.

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