By John Schmeelk
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With the NBA draft coming up Thursday, Knicks news has been flying left and right — even though they have no first-round pick.
Let’s cover it in order of importance:
Carmelo Anthony: Melo was immortalized at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum Tuesday and revealed he had lost 12 pounds since season’s end. As always, there’s good and bad when it comes to Carmelo Anthony.
The good news is Carmelo appears to really be committed going into 2012-13 after watching his contemporaries win a championship with the Heat. Being in better shape can only make him more solid on the court and give him the energy to continue to commit on the defensive end.
The bad news is Anthony had 12 pounds to lose. After playing a lockout-condensed schedule, a player’s weight should already be down. The fact he was overweight even after such a schedule says he wasn’t eating right or taking care of himself during the season. It goes back when Carmelo admitted he didn’t push hard under Mike D’Antoni. The past is disturbing, but it does provide hope for a better future.
J.R. Smith: J.R. decided to decline his one-year option for 2012. Indications are he will still re-sign with the Knicks for a 20 percent jump up from his former salary.
I have no issue with New York bringing him back next year as a spark off the bench, but giving him a long-term deal is a terrible idea. He is far too mercurial both on and off the court and has not proven to be a winning player. The Knicks needed him badly in the first round against the Heat and he came up very small.
Amar’e Stoudemire: Stoudemire has done something stupid — again. This time he sent a gay slur to someone in a direct message on Twitter.
Obviously he did a very dumb, insensitive thing and deserved to get fined. That being said, we need to calm down a little bit. People have actually talked about wishing the Knicks never cut Billups so they could amnesty Stoudemire. That’s very premature.
When Stoudemire returned from his back injury late in the season he looked athletic and explosive once again. Are he and Anthony perfectly matched? No. But neither are Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Jeremy Lin or a veteran point guard would help Stoudemire work the pick and roll game again, but he still needs to adjust to playing with Tyson Chandler and Anthony.
If Stoudemire plays next season, looks old and fails to adjust to playing with his new teammates, then fans can start jumping ship. But for now, there’s nothing New York can do. No team will take him in a trade at this point with his uninsured contract. For better or worse, the Knicks are stuck with him.
The Draft: I wish I could tell you who the Knicks might draft in the second round (or take late in the first round, if they trade into it) but it’s simply too hard. There’s no way to know who will be available at that point. The Knicks need help in a number of places and will likely pick the best player available. I’ll have a draft-centric blog up Thursday.
You can follow me on Twitter for everything Knicks, Giants, Yankees and New York sports @Schmeelk.