Monday, February 21, 2011

Will Melo Stay, Or Will Melo Go?!? Who Cares? UPDATED!

[UPDATE: Man, am I glad I ran this post Monday afternoon. Melo was traded to New York for darn near half the Knicks roster Monday night. In the end, unless the Knicks make some more moves quickly, they're basically gonna have two "stars" with the same strengths and weaknesses, surrounded by an aging Chauncey Billups and a lot of D-League level role players. This is still a .500 team at best, but man, are those Melo Knicks jerseys gonna fly off the shelves or what?]

If you aren't an NBA fan, you probably only know Carmelo Anthony as that tall, sorta goofy guy on all those Jordan Brand commercials. If you happen to be even moderately familiar with The Association, you probably know Anthony as the character behind the league's most unnecessary ongoing soap opera. For the uninitiated, Melo is one of the league's most prolific scorers, and a pretty entertaining player to watch because of his multiple ways to put the rock in the hole.

He can hurt you from outside, beat you down in the post, take you off the dribble, sink free throws, and just so happens to be one of the NBA's most clutch players. He also just happens to be a free agent at years end, and with his Denver Nuggets team on the ropes, there's a great chance he'll take his talents back to the Eastern Conference this offseason, since he theoretically would have a better chance at landing on a championship contender there. Much like last year's Where's Lebron Going?!? subplot, Anthony has fueled speculation that he wants to go to the the New York area. The Knicks and Nets have been waging a very public trade battle all season long, to see which team Melo will bless with his talents. Should the Nuggets not trade him, he'll probably walk for nothing, which would be a Cleveland Cavaliereque #fail. With the looming NBA lockout, Melo will probably lose some money if he doesn't sign an extension with some team immediately. Mix in an unsavory cast of supporting characters like Jay-Z, Melo's wife LaLa, the Nets' billionaire owner, and player father figure turned agent William "Worldwide" Wesley, and this whole thing takes on a life of its own. It has been the most over discussed item all season. Well, other than the total awesomeness of Blake Griffin, who totally, and completely ripped off my boy Javale McGee in this weekend's dunk contest.[1]

And that's why the NBA is the only sport that's more fun to talk about than actually watch.

Most people think Anthony, whether by trade or free agency will end up a Knick. The Nets are a terrible team playing in Newark, and present no easy trip to the playoffs, let alone the Finals. The Knicks are an overachieving .500 team that would need to give up a ton of its young talent to get Anthony. Other teams like the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have been mentioned as darkhorses. The trade deadline is Thursday, so something (or nothing) will probably happen before then.

Personally, I don't think Anthony helps the Knicks at all. The proposed offer has half the Knicks team (and all their young talent) going to Denver for Anthony, a rapidly aging Chauncey Billups, and a bunch of throw-ins. Sorry, I just don't see how Anthony and Amare Stoudemire make the Knicks any better. Both are high usage[2] players who need the ball. Neither could defend my mother in the post. Both are so-so rebounders. They're essentially the same player. In return, the Knicks would give up draft picks, the vastly underrated Wilson Chandler, the slightly overrated (but still good) Danilo Galinari, the overachieving (and lately slumping) Raymond Felton, and virtually all of their cap space. You'd basically have Stat and Melo surrounded by a bunch of role players. The next CBA will probably limit their ability to add a 3rd player like Chris Paul. For all intents and purposes, you're trading a .500 team with youth and upside for a .500 team with vets who are at/near their career primes. Yeah, you'd sell a sh*tload of blue and orange #15 jerseys, but you still won't have homecourt advantage in a playoff series anytime soon.

Is that really worth it? I don't know. I'm sure the bandwagon Knicks fans reading this will chime in below.

Dallas (assuming they can put together an offer) would be the better fit. They've got young talent (Roddy Buckets!) and a boatload of late round draft picks they can pawn off. Assuming they keep the bulk of their nucleus, Melo adds an element of edge and mental toughness that this team (I'm lookin' at you Dirk!) sorely lacks. He would probably make them the odds on favorite to win it all. Get this done, now, Mark Cuban! This must happen!

But Melo, a Knick? Meh.

Question: Assuming you do care and do follow the NBA, what's the best fit for Melo? If you're going to drop a comment about how irrelevant the NBA is, and how lazy and thugged out the players are, and how you haven't watched since Jordan retired, please save the energy and take your keystrokes over to my latest post on AOL instead, please.

[1] Seriously, it was all rigged. From the Kia product placement, to the internet "voting". McGee never had a chance. But he won on originality alone. That's what the contest should be about, not popularity. Not saying Griffin isn't good (he's great actually), but he didn't deserve to win. Period.

[2] "High Usage" meaning the number of possessions that end with a certain player. It could be via turnover, shot attempt, or foul. Basically, it's a gauge of who's the biggest ball hog. Both of these guys are among the league leaders. Neither averages more than 2.8 assists/game. That's a surefire recipe for on-court disaster.

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