Earlier this week an Instagram post by Rockets big man Nene was put up then immediately taken down. The center uploaded a picture of Carmelo Anthony suited up in a Houston jersey. Over the last few days it has become clearer that the Knicks are looking to move the small forward, the front runner being Houston. With so much out there dictating the inevitability of a trade, Knicks fans should begin to prepare themselves for a different look next season.
If Melo leaves, there is no doubt that Kristaps Porzingis would be the Knicks franchise player, which many fans already consider him to be. At his age, he’s playing at a very high level, averaging 18.1 points per game last year while shooting 45% from the field and 35.7% from the 3-point line. Standing over seven feet tall, Porzingis is a monster on the boards as well as a defensive presence in the paint. With Anthony out he would be the focal point of the offense, which would inevitably cause an increase in his points per game. There’s no doubt about it, Porzingis will be a star in this league, but will it be enough to get the Knicks into the playoffs? That may depend more on who is surrounding him.
The Line Up
Still on the lookout for a point guard, the Knicks recently re-signed Ron Baker and landed Tim Hardaway Jr. They’re still working on a trade scenario with Houston for Carmelo Anthony, though it is still unclear who the Knicks would get in exchange. The only name on the table right now is Ryan Anderson, who the Knicks have not expressed interest in. A third team would have to be brought into the mix as the Knicks search for Melo’s replacement, but right now the lineup for New York would look pretty young.
Baker, Hardaway Jr, Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez would most likely comprise the starting lineup, with Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah more than likely leading the bench. Obviously there would be a Melo sized gap, but according to reports the Knicks are willing to make that gamble. The Knicks could try to play small ball and put Hardaway at the three spot and Lee at the two, but that would leave them severely undersized. If the Knicks can’t re-sign Derrick Rose and trade Melo they will without a doubt need another scoring presence in addition to Porzingis. Hardaway could step up, but even if he can get up to 20 points per game it may not be enough. This late in the offseason, it may be difficult for the Knicks to find a suitable replacement if they pursue this trade.
Is this smart?
In spite of the frustration between the Knicks and Anthony, this may not be the best move. Aside from the $50 million he’s owed, the Knicks wouldn’t gain much back in terms of a swing man. Ryan Anderson has already been voided as an option, which has caused the need for other teams to be roped into the trade. The Pelicans as well as the Trail Blazers have emerged in rumors as potential trade partners in a multi-team deal. Yet, neither team has a player on the trading block that would make any real impact for our franchise, at least not right now. In a league where three out of the five best players in the world are small forwards (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard), the position holds a significant importance. Without a worthwhile replacement that can either bolster the defense or help Porzingis with the scoring, the Knicks may be doomed to missing the playoffs yet again.
Right now everything is up in the air when it comes to a deal involving Carmelo Anthony. Knicks fans are down the middle in regards to whether or not we should keep him or not. What can’t be disputed, though, is that the Knicks need to heavily consider all their options before engaging in this trade. God knows that Knicks fans are tired of watching their team lose, and we may just be losing a lot if we pursue this trade.