When the Knicks overpaid Tim Hardaway Jr. to a bloated $71 million deal without proof that he had the ability or skill to earn it, the rubber had finally met the road with Carmelo Anthony being roadkill. Anthony had finally, kicking and dragging his feet, waived his no-trade clause but only because Chris Paul was in Houston to smooth out the transition. So Anthony said yes, six months after Phil Jackson tried to shame him into a divorce. Carmelo is now on board. Trade me. I want to be gone. I can’t win here in the next two years. (Whether Anthony can win anywhere is a debatable point left for another day.)
Carmelo agreed to free the Knicks of $26 million dollars. Yes, they would have to take garbage back (Meyers Leonard) in return but this is NBA karma. They gave up a shipload of junk to get Carmelo, so fair is fair.
As the Knicks were going in hard on an Anthony multi-team trade, simultaneously, they were negotiating with Kings GM Scott Perry to replace Phil Jackson. It’s not a coincidence that the trade was put into the limbo stage the moment Perry agreed to become the Knicks GM. Regardless of the details of Perry wanting to call his own shots- if he is blamed for the garbage he takes in he wants to make sure the pieces he has to trade out of New York are worth it- it is his name and reputation on the line here. He will be blamed for trading Carmelo for spare parts if he can’t flip those parts for something useful.
Perry will have no such Phil Jackson honeymoon period because he’s not a neophyte. He has been around the block many a time and failed with the Magic who fired him and his boss GM Rob Hennigan for bungling a 5 year job with a lot of lottery picks who did nothing.
Perhaps patience is what is going on here and from the Knicks perspective it makes all the sense in the world. Except for this. They told Carmelo they were trading him to Houston. He was preparing for it, anticipating. The last thing he wants is to return to the same place of misery and then to be marginalized by Tim Hardaway Jr. of all people. The Knicks have publicly put their eggs in the Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis basket. Carmelo is too old. He doesn’t fit. This is the Knicks rebuilding. Except. They can’t get out of their own way. They want Carmelo to meet with the new GM.
How to Bungle Trading a Superstar 101 is the new normal. Let’s not confuse matching x and y with brain surgery. This is not searching in the cortex for a glioblastoma. This is freaking basketball. Addition by subtraction. Trading contracts. Agreeing on a price.
Because of their maybe yes, maybe no wishy-washiness, the Knicks now have a franchise player who cannot trust them. Their word isn’t their word.
It took a lot for Carmelo to rescind his no-trade clause and now he is being yanked back in. The Knicks are like that girl who wants to let go but just can’t. She keeps going out on dates with her cheating boyfriend even though he has another somebody already lined up and nearly living in his house. She is afraid of what is going to happen next.
I don’t believe for one moment the Knicks want to keep Carmelo. I think they want him gone. I know they don’t want the Meyers Leonard $30 million contract in return. If I am aware they are desperate, then the entire league is aware which devalues the price for Anthony. That’s on the Knicks watch. They (Phil Jackson) bungled the entire get Carmelo out of here strategy. But now it is the midnight hour. He can’t be on the roster come training camp. The Knicks have to get over the separation anxiety. If it takes Meyers Leonard, it takes Meyers Leonard. The Knicks are not faking anyone out with this “pause.” They look weak and incompetent. If Shaq can get traded so can Carmelo.
Just do it Knicks. Save our summer from this B-level kindergarten soap opera that wouldn’t make the prime time schedule of Comedy Central.
photo via llananba