By John Schmeelk
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On Monday, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the Knicks hope to receive a “major asset” in return for J.R. Smith if they decide to trade him once he returns from his plantar fasciitis injury. If Berman’s reporting is on the money — and there’s no reason to think it’s not — this might be one of the most delusional ideas ever hatched by an NBA front office.

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Five minutes after reading the story, after I got up off the floor and stopped laughing, I began to get angry. The Knicks are 5-25. Al Iannazzone of Newsday reported that Pablo Prigioni suggested, “maybe we don’t have enough talent to win.” Apparently, he has a better feel for the problems with this roster than the people running the Knicks, or at least the people talking to Berman.

Josh Smith just got cut, and the Pistons simply ate $30 million of his contract. J.R. Smith’s deal is far less onerous, but once he inevitably activates his player option for next year at about $6.4 million, he becomes very unattractive to potential suitors. Getting anything for him would be a miracle. In fact, the Knicks should be jumping at a chance to trade him for anything with a pulse (or not) that has an expiring contract this season.

The same can be said for most of the Knicks’ other assets. Iman Shumpert is hurt (again), is still inconsistent on both ends of the floor and is on the last year of his deal. Getting a first-round pick for him is extremely unlikely, bordering on impossible at this point. Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani are on expiring contracts, but putting together matching salary to make a trade work for either of those players without putting long-term money on the Knicks’ books is also improbable.

Jose Calderon is playing like his age, and his numbers are hovering near career-lows with two years and $15 million left on his contract.

Luckily, the Knicks do have potential solutions since it is the holiday season. Maybe they can convince another team to hire Kris Kringle as their general manager, and he will decide to be generous with the Knicks’ gifts this year. Or perhaps Phil Jackson can get some help from the Ghost of Christmas Past to go back in time and trade some of these players to Isiah Thomas back in 2006.

The Bumble is a monster in the paint, and perhaps they can get him and his personal trainer, Yukon Cornelius, to come aboard. I hear Frosty the Snowman plays a slick low post. With a roster full of players that would fit better on the Island of Misfit Toys than an NBA basketball court, these, sadly, are the team’s only real options.

I think J.R. Smith and Bargnani would get along really well with the train with square wheels, the boat that doesn’t float and the Charlie in the Box. While they are at it, they might as well add Hermey to the team’s medical staff; a little dentistry never hurt anyone. The bottom line here is that this team is messy, messy, messy.

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It will be a challenge for Jackson to make a trade at the deadline that will benefit the team in the long-term. In the end, the best course for this Knicks team will probably be to stand pat, trade away anyone they can for shorter contracts or free agents, and pray that the Gods of the NBA draft lottery give them Jahlil Okafor.

Is this surefire? Nope. But even around Christmas, it’s the only real wish the Knicks have of coming true.

Schmeelk’s Snippets

Seriously, Carmelo Anthony, just shut the knee down. The only thing that matter now is that you’re 100 percent next season and going forward. As painful and backwards-sounding as it may be for an athlete to think that way, you will be much happier next year if Okafor is your starting center.

Throw in an additional free agent or two — and perhaps a slightly improved Tim Hardaway Jr. and some healthier side pieces — and the Knicks could compete for a playoff spot. But none of that is possible if you aren’t playing like a superstar. Get healthy. Right now, that’s all that matters.

You can follow me on Twitter @Schmeelk for everything Knicks, Giants and the world of sports. 

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