With the rumors swirling about Carmelo Anthony getting traded, here’s why the New York Knicks should not part with their star.Every year around this time, when the cries of New York Knicks‘ fans turn from “we could contend in the East” to “we may not make the playoffs,” we hear one thing and one thing only.
Carmelo Anthony trade rumors.
It seems that ever since the Knicks shortsightedly decided to part with every good young player in exchange for Melo, they tapped into the impatience of their fan base. Rather than sign the star in free agency, they mortgaged their future to get him half a season early.
Now, New York fans are left wondering why Melo hasn’t done more for the franchise.
Complaints of Anthony’s selfishness, lack of hustle on defense and inability to win have been wildly exaggerated, mostly by impatient fans expecting ridiculously great results from a disappointingly poor NBA franchise.
Consider Monday afternoon’s game against Atlanta.
While the Knicks lost in heartbreaking fashion, they would’ve gotten blown out without Anthony, as he provided 30 points on 62.5% shooting including seven rebounds and two assists — no one else on the team had more than 18 points.
Melo provided the offensive spark in a game in which Kristaps Porzingis was injured. He was the only player on the floor capable of creating his own shot and demonstrated the same leadership on the floor that he has brought each and every day throughout his tenure with the Knicks.
In the simplest terms: Melo is doing the best he possibly can and the Knicks have nobody else who can put the ball in the basket at a moment’s notice.
In his five-plus year tenure with the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has played with exactly one All-Star: Tyson Chandler in 2012-13.
Beyond that season, he has essentially carried poor or aging rosters to middling playoff positions — results that the New York faithful have made clear are not good enough.
However, in that same time period, just one team has made the conference finals in either conference without at least two All-Stars.
Ironically enough, it was the 2012-13 Indiana Pacers who beat Carmelo’s two All-Star squad, thanks to a Herculean effort from Roy Hibbert and a version of Lance Stephenson no one has seen before or since.
It’s hard to fault Anthony for not accomplishing what no other superstar has accomplished during the same time period. It becomes even more absurd when you consider the LeBron teams, the four All-Star Atlanta Hawks, and the team Toronto have assembled over the past few years, and it’s really hard to blame Carmelo for the Knicks struggles.
Furthermore, Carmelo has developed into one of the best leaders in the entire NBA, which is especially important for the young talent the Knicks have now and are expected to acquire in the future.
After all, Carmelo is the captain of the most elite group of basketball players in the world in Team USA. While some will try to discount his achievements with the national side, there’s no denying how impressive Melo’s accomplishments are at the international level.
There’s also a reason that every young player in the Team USA pool looks to Melo for leadership. Remember the game against Australia at this summer’s Olympics? If Carmelo doesn’t take over that game, Team USA could be looking at a bronze medal or worse from Rio 2016.
Instead, they took home gold thanks to a late scoring barrage from Anthony. If the Knicks discount that, this franchise may be even more incompetent than many think.
Finally, despite all that he brings to the Knicks, Anthony’s return in a trade will likely not help the Knicks in any major way. Melo has a full no-trade clause, can deny a trade to any team he wants and will likely only accept a deal that sends him to the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Los Angeles Clippers.
Even if one of those teams were willing to trade for him, what they could offer would leave a lot to be desired. Players like Blake Griffin and Kevin Love likely only make their way to the Knicks if New York sends over-the-top value in return.
Other than that, what do those two teams really have to offer? A late first round pick, a high-risk young player, or a middling veteran are not exactly the return Knicks fans expect for Melo, nor should they.
Despite Carmelo’s age, contract, and perceived underachievement, the Knicks should not deal their star player. He remains not only the best scorer on the team, but also a consummate leader off the court who will be integral to the young teams’ development.
Trading Melo would likely prove to be just as shortsighted as the initial trade for him was all those years ago.