Repeating history, the Knicks are running in circles. This is the same place they were last year, wondering how to fix this mess they are trapped in. They have no relief, no savior coming. They have a max player that can no longer win games for them on his own. Carmelo Anthony may be a superstar and he may lead the Knicks in scoring but he shot 43.3% from the field in 2016-17, a five year low. Carmelo has finally seen the light and is asking for a buyout so he can join LeBron James in Cleveland.
The Knicks find that funny, like it is a joke. There will be no Carmelo buyout if Jackson stays which he won’t.
But look out Cavs: this Carmelo isn’t a similar trajectory to LeBron James who posted three year highs. Carmelo went the opposite way. He is still a good player but not a great player. His defense is awful. His offense mediocre.
It is a cautionary tale when you pay players over the age of 30 the money Carmelo is being paid and yet it is not really the money that is the problem. It is the no-trade clause Phil Jackson handed over. Jackson was familiar with the language of no-trades because Kobe Bryant also had a no-trade clause. Jackson pretty much took it in stride, not considering the consequences, like it may come to pass that Carmelo needs to be somewhere else.
A no-trade clause keeps a player in the family unless he goes where he wants to go, to a championship contender. Would Carmelo leave the Knicks? Yes. But only for the Clippers and the Cavs and only those two teams. But the Knicks would get garbage in return and not what they want, a first round draft pick that means something.
Their plan B, and that is being generous saying the Knicks have a plan B, is bringing back Derrick Rose. Rose didn’t have a bad year. He was decent enough. He just wasn’t the Rose of old. That Rose is gone. His defense is pretty pathetic and he no longer is the 7 assist playmaker.
The rock and the hard place the Knicks are between is they can’t get younger even though they want to develop talent. Everything is pretty bare right about now.
A lot of shade is being thrown Phil Jackson’s way but he was successful in trying to make things so uncomfortable for Carmelo that Carmelo begged to get out of town. Jackson wants him to rescind the no-trade clause so he can trade him to purgatory and have his revenge. The last thing Jackson wants is Carmelo high fiving it en route to a Larry O’Brien trophy. Phil is vindictive in that way. Look at how he treated Kristaps Prozingis for blowing off an exit meeting.
How do the Knicks change course so this isn’t the same script year in and year out? Haters come out the woodwork when the Knicks are impotent and ineffective. On defense, the Knicks can’t or won’t- take your pick- guard the perimeter. They are a bunch of above average players and NBA history has told us you need two All-Stars to have a shot at a conference final.
Here is the case for bringing Derrick Rose back. Who is going to be better at driving to the rim than Rose? Free agent point guards in the summer of 2017 are Tyreke Evans, a combo guard who, like Rose, is a driver but not much of a shooter. Jrue Holiday, above average. Deron Williams, on his last leg. Jeff Teague, great in Atlanta but a bust in Indy. George Hill who had an extraordinary year and the reason Utah went to the playoffs. Darren Collison, undersized and average. The pickings are slim. So why not keep Rose?
Maybe the answer lies in Phil Jackson. Maybe Phil has outlived his usefulness and his decision making is corrupted by his indifference and ego. Maybe his day is done. Maybe he needs to go the same way as his star players Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Hit the retirement button. His days of having an impact are behind him. But if you don’t have Phil, what do you have?
What. Is. The. Plan.
Knick fans need to know. Stop the lies. For once, can the passionate NY faithful hear the truth and not the same regurgitation in order to sell tickets, only to be depressed once the first half of the season is over and we are talking about trading Carmelo. If you want Derrick Rose say we want an above average but sometimes broken player who can still get to the rim and finish but can’t guard a paper bag.
photo via llananba