By John Schmeelk
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Knicks fans need to read this quote from Carmelo Anthony before we start:
“I haven’t had any in-depth conversations with management about who I want to play with, what kind of team we should have. I’ve never had those conversations. That time is going to come. And when that time comes, everything will be laid out on the table. If they can counter that, then we have a long future ahead of us.”
Whether or not Anthony decides to stay in New York is immensely important and will affect the team over the next half-decade. It will determine whether the Knicks go into a full rebuilding mode or try to put the right pieces around an aging superstar.
How is it humanly possible that the Knicks have not sat down with the foundation of their franchise? How have they not asked him about the future and what kind of teammates he wants to play with? This should be the first, second and third thing keeping general manager Steve Mills up at night — and it would appear he hasn’t done anything to get any clarity on the situation. It is a gross abdication of his duties of the highest order.
Thursday is kind of an important day in the NBA. It’s the trade deadline; the last chance for the Knicks — and every other NBA team — to either add talent to make a run this season or set themselves up for the future. Once the offseason arrives the Knicks won’t be able to do anything significant. Wouldn’t it make sense to ask Anthony about how he would want the Knicks to build around him before the deadline?
In fact, those conversations should have taken place this past offseason, before the Andrea Bargnani trade. Communication between a team and its star is important, and it would appear none of that is taking place at Madison Square Garden.
Obviously, the Knicks shouldn’t make Anthony their de facto GM, but for there not to be any communication between the front office and their star is mind-boggling. What exactly is Mills doing at MSG? Did he even know that Melo would be willing to take less money to stay before the forward said it to the media over the weekend? If they never talked about a plan to build around Carmelo in the future, what makes anyone think they discussed that aspect of his free agency?
And if they never discussed those two things, obviously Mills never considered the possibility of trading Anthony to avoid a scenario where he walks away for nothing.
“When is the trade deadline? I don’t think there’s no way possible I’ll be traded, I don’t think they’re even considering it,” Anthony said last week. “If they feel they want to get rid of me, we’d already have had that conversation. I don’t think that. I know for a fact I’m not being traded, and I know for a fact I’m not going in there saying I want to be traded.”
Obviously, it’s one of the least ideal situations for the Knicks, but for Mills and the Knicks not to consider trading Anthony? That’s irresponsible. If Mills and Anthony actually discussed his future at some point this season, Mills would know whether Anthony’s vision of how the Knicks should build around him is realistic or not. If Anthony has something in mind that Mills knows is impossible, the only answer would be to trade him. The Knicks could get back into the draft in 2014, and perhaps even add another young player or future pick down the road. It would help accelerate the Knicks’ rebuilding process in a post-Anthony era.
It’s a logical backup plan that the Knicks have decided to ignore. Ask the Orlando Magic if they regret trading Dwight Howard. Ask the Utah Jazz if they regret trading Deron Williams. Ask the Denver Nuggets if they regret trading Anthony.
For Mills not to even consider a trade shows the cluelessness of Knicks brass. It’s not an unrealistic scenario considering what Anthony said during All-Star weekend. He wants to win a championship, and there’s a great chance he’ll find someone closer to a title than the Knicks when he gets to free agency this summer. The Knicks have decided to go all-in on a bet that he won’t find a better option — and that the extra year they can offer him and the allure of New York will convince him to stay.
The Knicks actually had a lot of options regarding Melo, but because they have refused to do their due diligence they have painted themselves into a corner. James Dolan and his cronies seem to think that going into this offseason on a whim and prayer is a better strategy than communicating with their star and finding out what he is thinking.
It’s as though the Knicks are playing in the World Series of Poker and have volunteered to play their hand blind while everyone else is looking at their cards.
Why? They’re the Knicks, that’s why.
It’s one of the reasons they haven’t won a thing in more than 40 years.
You can follow me on Twitter @Schmeelk for everything Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the world of sports.
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