Denver Nuggets

Can Carmelo Anthony Push the Knicks Over the Top?

If the last NBA offseason was dubbed “The Summer of Lebron”, then without a doubt, the first half of this year has offered us the slightly watered down, made for the Internet  “Melo-Drama”. I don’t know one person who doesn’t want this story to end. It’s made a joke of the seasons of at least 3 teams (Denver, New Jersey, and New York), and it’s painful to watch Melo bend to the requests of his wife Lala – who seemingly wants to revive TRL.Carmelo and The New York Knicks

That being said, the rumors are back in full swing. ESPN yesterday reported on the next 3 team tradewinds du jour involving the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, and Minnesota Timberwolves (one sucker is required to make these deals work – hello, Chris Kahn). As part of the deal, the Knicks would give up the large, expiring contract of the human garbage disposal, Eddy Curry, as well as promising talent Wilson Chandler (as well as probably a couple of high draft picks). So, that got us thinking – what if this trade went through? What does the 2012 Knicks team look like? What do the salary cap restrictions look like? Is this a team that could compete in the East over the next five years?

Below is a view of what the Knicks roster would look like next year with the addition of Melo and subtraction of Curry and Chandler:

New York Knicks Players Under Contract in 2011-12 and Beyond

Player 2011-12 Salary 2012-13 Salary Years  left on contract (after 2011) Total Guaranteed Salary owed
Carmelo Anthony $18,518,575 $20,000,061 4 $83,446,773
Amare Stoudemire $18,217,705 $19,948,799 4 $65,039,680
Raymond Felton $7,560,000 $0 1 $7,560,000
Danilo Gallinari $4,190,182 $5,589,703* 2  
Ronny Turiaf $4,360,000** $0 1  
Kelenna Azuibuike $0 $0 1  
Bill Walker $916,100*** $0 1  
Andy Rautins $788,972*** $0 1  
Timothy Mozgov $2,566,800 $2,794,621 3 $8,854,697
Toney Douglas $1,145,640 $2,067,880* 3 $6,315,340
Landry Fields $788,872 $0 0  
Shawne Williams $0 $0 0  
Patrick Ewing Jr. $0 $0 0  
Roger Mason 0 0 0  
Total Committed $59,052,846 $50,401,064   $171,216,490

* team option  ** player option   *** non-guaranteed

This assumes Melo signs the much discussed 3 year “extend and trade”. Under the rules of the current collective bargaining agreement, Melo would then be eligible to receive a maximum of 8% raises for each subsequent year of his contract. So, if Melo opted into the last year of his contract in 2011-12, he would make $20.0M in 2012-13, $21.6 in 2013-14, and a hefty $23.3M in 2014-15. If instead he were to try and sign as a Knick at the end of this season as an opted out free agent, he would only be eligible to start at $15.5M under the current CBA. (which is why a trade appears imminent)

Next year then, 2011-12, the Melo-led Knicks would have $59M in committed contracts (assuming Turiaf and Rautins choose to exercise their player options). Given that the 2010-11 salary cap was $58.0M and does not look like it will rise, it is safe to say that barring another trade to dump salary, next year’s Knicks will be limited to signing a mid-level exception player. This will leave a lineup that features a Big 3 of Melo, Amare, and Felton, with a few decent role players (Gallinari, Walker, Fields). With the Celtics aging and the not-quite-there-yet Bulls still up and coming, this seems to leave an opening for the Knicks to jump up to a no. 2 or no.3 seed in 2011-12.

So how do things look past next year? The Knicks would have placed 2 big bets on Melo  and Amare over the next 4 years as their franchise cornerstones, tying up over $145M in contract value. With the genius that is Donnie Walsh, the Knicks would enter the 2012-13 season with only 5 players under contract (assuming the Knicks would want to exercise the Gallinari option at a reasonable $5.5M). Let’s assume the salary cap in that year is $60-63M. This would give the Knicks $11-13M of salary cap space to play with. The choice here would be to resign Raymond Felton, or sign the 3rd all-star that has always seemed to characterize championship teams. That will a tall task, and it remains to be seen if it’s enough to land the player that would complete the Knicks’ master plans, Chris Paul. Another option would be to try and trade Felton and Turiaf’s expiring contracts in 2011-12 for a player of Paul’s caliber.

Which brings us to the real key question we should be asking:  even if the Knicks can execute on their plan, bring in Melo, and upgrade the Felton position – will they be in a position to compete with the Heat? (which of course, if really the only goal for any die-hard Madison Square garden ticket holder).

Unfortunately, from this writer’s perspective, the answer is a seemingly no. Couple of reasons why: (1) Melo + Amare + do not equal Lebron,Wade, and Bosh, (2) Mike D’Antoni’s style is not conducive for building championship teams, (3) no defense and no rebounding means no rings, (4) Amare is too fragile, and finally (5) as much as Carmelo wants to be, he is not a no. 1 guy (if you don’t believe me, ask Chauncey Billups).

The Knicks with Carmelo seemed destined to fall into the trap many NBA teams with talent fall into: not being quite good enough, and being too saddled with expensive contracts to get much better. .(for more on this, please see: Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks).


4 Responses to “Can Carmelo Anthony Push the Knicks Over the Top?”

  1. Why do you not think they would be good enough to compete? They already have a pretty good team and they would have much better role players than the Heat have. Gallo and Fields would be two of the best role players in the NBA. 3 players don’t make a team.

    Posted by Joe M | February 10, 2011, 6:32 am
  2. Joe, thanks for the comment — to keep it brief, I’ll give you 3 reasons off the top of my head: (1) Leadership — Melo has never proved he can be the leader of a team. Keep in mind, the Nuggets didn’t do anything until Billups got there. (2) Defense — it’s a cliche, but it wins championships and both Melo and Amare are defensive liabilities, and (3) I think you’re overrating Gallo and Fields slightly. I wouldn’t consider them “much better” than Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers for example.

    Posted by Brown Mamba | February 10, 2011, 9:19 am
  3. Mike Brown makes me want to shoot my self, Oh my god!! This guy at one point in the game against the kings today rlleay had Steve Blake at point guard, Matt Barnes at shooting Guard, Ron artest at Small Forward, LUKE FUCKING WALTON at Power Forward, and Troy Murphy at Center for like 5 minutes of the 3rd quarter? WOW.. He took out Goudelock because he couldn’t get his 3pt shot to go down on 2 attempts and didn’t let him play for the rest of the game, same for Ebanks who is a STARTER and is SO underrated offensively and was shooting 3-4 in the first half he missed a difficult fast break lay up which was unbalanced because of a bad pass by Kobe, and Brown or should i say Clown took him out for the rest of the game as well, but i guess i understand cuz artest had it going today.. But man dude, there offense looks ridiculous, it looks like what me and my friends would be running in a pick up game at the park, and OH YEAH omg it pissed me off soooo bad, MIKE CLOWN rlleay took a timeout during that bulls game, at 1.4 seconds left in the first half and they didn’t even have POSSESSION OF THE BALL, Luol Deng was shooting free throws, LIKE WTF!? ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!! They showed Kobe and Mike Brown next to eachother on that timeout before they went to commercial and dude it looked SOO awkward like i could tell in Kobe’s mind he was like WOW This guy is a fucking idiot! and mike brown realized what he was just horrible, mike brown is just guessing the line ups, its ridiculous matt barnes didn’t even play one minute in that bulls game smfh, oh well , that was our game to win against the bulls, and we did it without bynum..So i kind of expect these losses but still dude mike brown is a joke, i never knew how bad of a coach he was until now yo, i knew he coached the cavs, but i never rlleay paid attention to the cavs, and when i heard mike brown got hired everyone was saying are u serious ? but the way he was talking about his plans for the lakers and how he was a defensive Guru, I had high praise and faith in this guy bcuz of the way he was presenting himself but MAN oh my god, now i know why lebron wanted to leave and why everyone laughed at the mike brown hire Jim buss is just as much of a joke as Mike Brown is.. Jim Buss’s face gets on my nerves, he needs to let his dad do the hiring and firing..omg..that is all..

    Posted by Hinako | February 12, 2016, 4:22 am


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