By John Schmeelk
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At this point, there’s nothing left to say. We get it. Let’s get on with it already. The Carmelo Anthony saga is going to come down to one simple question that only one person can answer. What’s the most important thing to Carmelo Anthony?
If cash is king, then Anthony will agree to a trade to the Newark Nets. He will be on an average team for at least two years, and pray the Nets actually plays basketball in Brooklyn to start the 2012-2103 season.
If winning a championship is Carmelo’s first priority, he will make it clear that the only team he will sign a long term contract with is the Knicks. He will then proceed to play out the season in Denver and sign with the Knicks as a free agent, or use his leverage so the Knicks don’t have to gut their roster to acquire him.
This choice is one that Carmelo has been putting off for far too long. There’s little doubt he is being pulled in different directions by his agents (who want the most money and therefore a bigger commission), his wife (a wannabe TV star), his wallet and his basketball mind. The time is now. Let the Knicks, Nets, Nuggets and the rest of the basketball world get on with their business. Everyone is tired of keeping track of the back and forth, veiled statements and reports from unnamed sources close to the situation.
My gut tells me all these delays by the Nuggets are about them waiting for Carmelo to settle for the Nets. Anthony is putting off his decision to buy time for the Knicks to come to a trade agreement with the Nuggets. Donnie Walsh still hasn’t taken the bait and offered up too much. Denver is hoping Carmelo eventually decides the Nets are the place for him. Walsh hopes he decides the Knicks are his future destination. It’s a standoff NBA style. Someone has to blink, and that someone has to be Carmelo Anthony.
On the bright side, decisions like these have a way of telling us about people. We learned a lot about LeBron James and Chris Bosh by how they handled their free agency. We’ll learn about Carmelo Anthony too. Is it winning or is it money? The time for him to make his tough decision is now. Please, put us all out of our misery.
UP AND UNDER
Up: Danilo Gallinari looked very good in his first game back from his knee injury. He didn’t lack for confidence and moved particularly well despite having to wear a bulky knee brace. Shawne Williams and Bill Walker both played well while Gallinari was out, and expect both to still get decent minutes even with him back.
Down: The Knicks defense has slipped in their last three games. They were adequate against a terrible Kings team, but were just terrible against the Jazz and Suns. It’s worst three game stretch since the start of the season and now the Knicks better win at Houston on Wednesday or they are probably looking at a six game losing streak. There’s no way the Knicks win in San Antonio after already beating them once this year, and the Thunder own a 15-6 home record. As Mike D’Antoni stated in his postgame press conference on Monday, the effort simply hasn’t been there recently. This team isn’t good enough to go out there and win without putting out 100%. Hopefully the wake up call has been placed, and this group gets that.
AROUND THE WORLD
I’m using this section to throw in some NFL stuff. I must admit I miss the years of the NFL with dominant teams. Trying to knock off teams like the Cowboys and 49ers was fun. Can you believe the sixth seed has beaten the number one seed in six of their last seven matchups in the NFL playoffs? Some think that’s a good thing, but I couldn’t disagree more. The league is filled with mediocre to good teams. None are great. Am I supposed to get excited about a potential Jay Cutler – Mark Sanchez Super Bowl? Say what you want about the NBA, but most years the best team wins the championship and that team is legitimately worthy. The same cannot be said about the NFL, not anymore.
Amar’e Stoudemire has rightly passed Kevin Garnett in the All-Star voting. Raymond Felton should make the roster as a reserve too. It will be nice to see two Knicks on the All-Star team for the first time in more than a decade. On a side note, could the dunk contest contestants be any worse? Blake Griffin will put on a show but his competition is a joke. Serge Ibaka (6’10) and JaVale McGee are too big to impress, unless they somehow become Dwight Howard before February. Brandon Jennings is the only one with a chance to compete. Little men (6’1) can be fun to watch dunk, as long as they have the hops. Jennings hasn’t shown that he does.
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