Don’t count on Knicks improvement - Peter Vecsey NY Post
The Knicks are now 1-8 as playoff pushovers since the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony was proclaimed the best trade in franchise history by several skewed media masterminds, who apparently never heard of Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe, Bernard King or, for that matter, Jerry Lucas, Latrell Sprewell and Marcus Camby.
Having skidded down the Candyland chute twice in succession and landed in a heap of soiled expectations, Anthony slashed his usually vivid, upbeat imagination and predicted the Knicks would be one of the East’s top four teams next sea
In other words, if you awoke as a Knicks fan yesterday morning, this morning or any morning in the immediate future, there doesn’t seem to be all that much to get excited about.
That may scrupulously bother a chunk of over-paying patsies, but it certainly doesn’t dissuade enough from unwaveringly filling Madison Square Garden season after sorry season.
Disenchanted or impractical, the questions posed by one and all are plain and simple: How do the Knicks get appreciably better? Or, at the minimum, how do they improve enough to gain home-court advantage and avoid almost certain first-round eradication?
Depose Commandant James Dolan!
That’s the only definitive way. Any other means, other than teams in front of them (Boston, Orlando, Atlanta?) fading into futility, will be pure luck. Help is not on the way.
Here are the frosty facts
The Knicks currently-corroded roster already is capsized...for the next three seasons
. I repeat; they’re over the existing $58 million threshold for the next three seasons and that’s with just seven, four and four active players signed.
What’s more, Mike Woodson’s isolation offense (forcefully endorsed by Dolan, no doubt) revolves around a high-maintenance hurler
who’s getting as much preferential treatment from management off the court, I’m told, as he is from his coach on it.
There’s no denying when Anthony is on his game, he’s really on it! And when he’s on it, he even plays hard on defense. But how can he say with a straight face he’s trying his best when he had 11 assists and 14 turnovers for the five-game series?
Anthony is a wing player with a handle who sees the floor when he wants to, when he gets the urge. He gets doubled every time he touches the ball. Doesn’t his conscience nag him to pass more often? Last I looked, and every previous time, there were two Heat players crowding him. I’m guessing someone had to be open.
Yes, Anthony said “Nighty-Night” with back-to-back 30-plus point performances, including a 31-shot salute (one assist) in Game 5. I guarantee you he left the arena thinking: “Hey, I did my part.”
It’s just not in his make-up to sacrifice for the good of the team
. I wrote that after Dolan commandeered control of trade negotiations with Denver from team president Donnie Walsh and gave away his franchise’s literal future. I’m re-writing it today. And I’m sure I’ll write it once or twice in upcoming seasons....unless the Knicks trade Anthony
Don’t count on the contemplation of such any time soon. It takes years for Dolan to admit (see Isiah Thomas) his mortal mistakes
. If and when, surely there will be a billionaire salivating for what Anthony has to offer. Mark Cuban, for instance, especially if he comes up dry in his quest to sign Deron Williams and obtain Dwight Howard.
In the meantime, how will the Knicks overcome Melo’s egocentricity? Securing a pinup player he’d happily share shots with? That might work, though I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone other than Kobe Bryant.
Another feasible option is to get a point guard Melo wouldn’t find objectionable. Someone to take over his ball handling responsibilities, which would mean he’d only touch it in choice scoring position and diminish the team’s shot disparity to an acceptable ecological level.
Steve Nash makes perfect sense, if the Knicks could afford him, which they can’t. Furthermore, he’s as much about banking big money as he is about making great passes; can’t envision him settling for the $1.2 million veteran’s minimum.
The Knicks have one $5 million mid-level exception to spend and that’s unflinchingly slotted for Jeremy Lin. That’s why J.R. Smith has played his last game for New York. Dollars and sense dictates he’ll opt out of his $2.5 million 2012-13 salary. Regardless of his unsavory shot selection, Mini-Melo is bound to get more than double that figure elsewhere.
As for Lin
, he transformed the Garden back into a happening place, turned around the Knicks’ gloomy attitude, provoked far too much worldwide exuberance and increased Dolan’s decimals. Neither Nash nor anybody else is about to appropriate that relatively paltry payday.
(FYI: Any under-the-cap team can tender Lin an offer sheet for whatever loot that’s available. The Knicks are allowed to match up to the NBA average, roughly $5 million the first year, and retain his services. If a team gives him more than $5 million per year, the Knicks match the first year at $5 million and then pay whatever the second year (and beyond) calls for according to the offer sheet. Meaning there’s no way they lose Lin
Trade Amar’e Stoudemire? We’ve already been through that. Only a team looking to dump an equal amount of toxic waste on the Knicks is going to assume his uninsurable $64 million, three-year obligation.
If there was a real coaching option, I’d be tempted to run Woodson out of town, but there isn’t. Hence, he’ll get to coach Anthony the way Dolan diagrammed it and progress will be glacial