Keidel: Big Win Vs. Big Picture
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By Jason Keidel
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Considering the talent and cachet on the court last night, it was bizarre to see those chunks of empty seats, scattered like scabs across your screen.
But after watching that contest, it’s obvious that procuring Carmelo Anthony was a brilliant move.
The Knicks won a thrilling game in Miami, but beating the Heat was as odd as losing to Cleveland two nights earlier. Neither game proves anything vis-à-vis Carmelo Anthony, as the pre-Carmelo Knicks also beat the Heat and lost to the Cavaliers.
My inbox bubbled with profanity after I dared to question the mega-trade, bringing Anthony, Chauncey Billups and baggage to the New York Knickerbockers. Not one response to my column was reasoned. It seems I just magically morphed into a moron simply because I don’t agree with you.
If you peeled off your Charles Oakley Snuggie you’d see that there’s sincere concern over the deal. And before you call me another expletive, listen to Peter Vecsey’s interview on this station, archived on this Web site.
Vecsey, who has been covering basketball since the Vietnam War, who knows exponentially more about the sport than we do, told Boomer and Carton that Knicks could very well finish under .500 this year. That doesn’t mean he’s right and you’re wrong, but it means there’s a strong argument in either direction. There’s a legion of former players and pundits who also question the trade, but Vecsey conveys the concerns perfectly.
I know. He’s a hater. I’m a hater. We’re idiots. And, evidently, I’m a slew of other unprintable things. Fine. But New Yorkers pride themselves on having the highest I.Q. of any fan base in the nation. Engage in facts.
Vecsey said that if the Knicks keep Billups next year, they will have $54 million devoted to four players. Actually, if my math is right, it’s three players (Anthony, Stoudemire, and Billups). Is that the big plan? And if you buy out Billups (for around $4 million) whom do you put in his place? Felton is gone.
(Granted, my argument shrinks in the shadow of Billups’s big game last night. But this move wasn’t made for a February game in Florida. We all know the Knicks aren’t winning the title this year.)
You can’t split the pill in half, and Amar’e and ‘Melo are two Alpha Males clawing for the same game ball. Billups is a winner, no question. But he’ll be 35 next year, and time will take what his body cannot. And how does he assuage two titanic egos when his own game is slipping?
All leagues are copycats, and with LeBron heading to Miami we assume that you can cobble together a few stars and create a dynastic universe. But if you compare Carmelo and Amar’e favorably to Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, then there’s really no reasoning with you.
Because you want the Knicks to win so badly you bless a bad move because a star is lathered across the marquee at MSG, which is abstract on the court while too pricey courtside. Since you and I can’t afford ten grand a pop for this pop star, why do you care that they got Carmelo? How many wins does he actually add to this team? Isn’t that what really matters?
Distilled, my argument is that the Knicks had a nice, young team that was shredded over some silly turf war with a Russian billionaire. Dolan didn’t get LeBron, so he had to have Carmelo. It feels like an amplified midlife crisis.
The Knicks had ALL the leverage over the Nuggets, who had a brooding star on their hands with no plans to sign with anyone other than the Knicks. For that, the team surrendered some fine young players, draft picks, and pride.
Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com
Is there “sincere concern” over the Carmelo deal, or should Keidel sit back and enjoy Sunday’s big win? Let us know in the comments below…