Trade Referendum (Update)

by - March 28, 2011 - - 4 Comments »

*Ok. I still haven’t changed the way I feel about the trade but my patience has run out with the way the Knicks are playing. It’s gross.

They have now allowed the Cavs, Bucks and Bobcats to light them up. Matt Carroll completed a driving layup, Boris Diaw was slashing to the hoop and Kwame Brown was dominating the paint. Those three things happening all at once is more unlikely than VCU and Butler making the Final Four in the same year. That could only happen due to the Knicks defense. LeBron and Wade are just now figuring out how to play together in Miami, nearly a full season later, but they won many games anyway because they play defense.

It’s tough to single out one problem. Carmelo Anthony was the big change so it’s easy to blame him but he’s played well recently. Meanwhile, Amar’e Stoudemire looks like a statue after dominating for most the season and Chauncey Billups is playing more like Mr. Bad Shot than Mr. Big Shot. Then there’s the defense (I believe I mentioned that already).

When everything is going wrong, people look to the head coach. And New Yorkers have been looking for a reason to unleash their frustrations on Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni is now coaching for his job and his reputation.

The win over the Magic last night was a good place to start.*

People are crazy. Seventeen games do not define one’s career. Carmelo Anthony is not Stephon Marbury just as he is not LeBron James. The Nuggets are not headed to the Finals just as the Knicks are not headed for the lottery.

I was never a gigantic Melo fan. But that was more because of who he was not than who he was. Simply becoming a Knick did not put him on the level of guys like LeBron or Wade or Kobe or Howard. It also did not tarnish his legacy already. That book has not been written. He is an all-world scorer and he will remain an all-world scorer; how far that will take him and how far he can help carry a team remain to be seen.

I was for the trade. I still am. The Denver Nuggets are not playing well because they got rid of Carmelo Anthony. And with respect to the guys they got, all good players (I doubt Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton are there next year), they are not playing the way they are because of them either. The Nuggets are on a roll because they cleansed a toxic work environment. It must feel like a dark cloud has been lifted around there. While the Melo-Drama was ongoing, those guys were incessantly pestered with questions, were uncertain about their own futures and were playing with a star they knew didn’t want to be there. Once the trade was made they could relax. As a result they’ve been playing hard, playing unselfishly and guys like Nene and Ty Lawson, who were already there, are excelling. However, what they are missing and what will show itself come playoff time, is the hardest piece to find, their best player.

Meanwhile, the Knicks had to make the move because they have a limited window. Amar’e Stoudemire has four years on his contract after this season. Pairing him with Melo gives them a better shot to win than allowing good, young players who will never be what Melo already is to grow around him. Can a team built around just Carmelo and Amar’e ultimately win a championship? Probably not. But it’s up to those two guys to prove they can elevate their games and the games of their teammates. As it will be up to their coach, whether it is Mike D’Antoni or someone else going forward, to hold them accountable for doing so. And it is up to team management to make the correct decisions regarding filling out the roster around them, starting with acquiring a non-scrub at center and continuing with deciding what to do with Chauncey Billups and whether to do everything possible to pursue a third max player.

As is, we are watching a team go through a baptism by fire, very public practices held inside Madison Square Garden. Right now the public opinion is shifting toward disaster. I expect that opinion to shift by the end of the season. There will be hope. Nothing promised but at least promising.

That or the Nuggets will win the title.

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4 Responses to “Trade Referendum (Update)”

  1. Chip Otley says:

    Can you confirm or deny the rumors that you are being replaced by Jared from Subway?

  2. I'm Henry the Eighth I am says:

    Is the Second Verse gonna go the same as the first?

  3. Chick N. Teriyaki says:

    Jared’s Subway 5 A.M. Five-dollar Footlong Hourlong Start Fresh and Eat Fresh Show is a little too wordy. Don’t you think?

  4. Lundberg's Lady Friend says:

    Even with the help of Dr. Ken Moadel, you still don’t see how much you mean to me. You can talk all you want about your new 20/15 vision, but I don’t envision us being together in 2015 if you don’t make a commitment right now. I only have eyes for you, baby, despite all your fatal flaws and all your shortcomings. And since you don’t have to wake up so early each morning for your 5 A.M. show anymore, there are no more excuses why we can’t enjoy the nightlife in the city. No more matinées and no more early bird specials. But if you don’t foresee a future with me, I better warn you, Dr. Ken Moadel might be bladeless, but I will slice you up like Wolverine.

    And for those of you that only know me as Lundberg’s Lady Friend, my real name is April.

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