Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) walks back to the bench during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Start Rebuild Without Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks are under a new regime. Between Phil Jackson as the head of basketball operations and Derek Fisher being the new coach, the Knicks are basically starting from scratch, again.

That means more than just new assistant coaches, putting the triangle in place and things of that nature. It also means that the roster will be going through a bit of an overhaul, which we already saw with the Knicks sending Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert.

However, the roster movement shouldn’t just stop with that trade. Really, the biggest roster move has yet to be made or, in this case at least, not made — as the best way the New York Knicks can rebuild their struggling franchise is to let their best player, Carmelo Anthony, walk away and let him go play for another NBA team.

Letting your best player go via the free market might sound like blasphemy, but it is not as if the Knicks are anywhere near winning anytime soon. That has less to do with Carmelo Anthony than it does James Dolan’s inability to properly build a team around him.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise either. Now that they have brought in Jackson, though, the thought is that the Zen Master could do a better job building around Anthony than those before him, which is a mistake.

This has nothing to do with Carmelo Anthony being a type of player you can win an NBA title with. Really, if this was any other team in any other city, it wouldn’t even matter if Anthony was perceived to be that type of player.

But in New York it does, like a lot. Still, because everyone is hung on the notion that the city’s fans are impatient, the Knicks have continued to roll on the dice with players similar to Anthony.

Not as good as Anthony, but similar — as in guys who are paid incredible amounts of cash despite their abilities to make the franchise better than being just another Knicks team in the post-Patrick Ewing era.

All of this started well before Anthony, Jackson, Fisher or any of the other current members of the franchise joined the fold. It started sometime after Ewing left, but before social media would be able to capitalize on the hilarity of it all, when the Knicks would continue to have guys on their roster like Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, James Jones, Eddy Curry and more, for exorbitant amounts of money and little success to show for it.

Basically, instead of ever building through the draft, the Knicks have long preferred to overpay for players past their prime or guys whose prime is more about themselves than winning, and have suffered for it.

Simply put, the New York Knicks have already tried the Carmelo Anthony route countless times before, just with players with different names, and it has never amounted to anything. They do all of that, mind you, while using the city itself as an excuse as to why they try to build teams through free agency instead of the draft.

It is the same model that hasn’t given them an NBA title in decades, that the current dumpster fire that the Brooklyn Nets are using now, which prevents them from being legitimate players in the Eastern Conference and contending for NBA championships.

Apr 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Phil Jackson court side at game between the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Phil Jackson court side at game between the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone gets it, though. New York is a presumed destination spot for free agents.

So why not use that to their advantage? Well, because they are horrible at doing so.

Simply because Phil Jackson is now the guy in charge of making the signings does not mean it will all of a sudden be successful, though. To be honest, as much stock as everyone has put on Jackson being Phil Jackson, he didn’t win all those NBA titles by picking his team.

He did so by having Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen as well as a slew of talent in Chicago and relying on Jerry West to build a team to do his bidding in Los Angeles. The key component between both of those runs was the fact, sans Shaquille O’Neal, those teams’ best players were acquired in the NBA draft.

In fact, most teams who win NBA titles do so by having their best player or at least the foundation of key players being acquired through the draft. Whether it has been the Spurs with Tim Duncan, the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, the Mavericks with Dirk Nowitzki, the Bulls with Jordan, Houston with Hakeem Olajuwon, the Celtics with Larry Bird, the Lakers (again) with Magic Johnson, there has only been two teams in the last 30 years who have won NBA titles without their best player being homegrown, the Miami Heat with LeBron James and the Detroit Pistons using a slew of guys from mostly other places to get the job done in 2004.

Carmelo Anthony is a really, really good offensive basketball player. There is no arguing that.

He is probably a top-10 player in the league. Still, that doesn’t mean clinging on to him is the best way for the Knicks to get back to the top of the mountain.

With the trade with the Mavericks behind them, they should continue letting their last attempt at a winning roster go. It shouldn’t be a halfway effort, however.

The Knicks have to be fully committed to building a roster a different way, which needs to start by letting their best player go because it hasn’t worked. Like AA has taught so many people already, the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one.

The Knicks’ problem is the way they have built rosters for a long time now, Anthony just so happens to be a byproduct of that. Maybe they are just better served giving him an apology, letting him go to Chicago or wherever it is he wants to go, and attempt to build this organization from the ground up.

It isn’t rocket science. Unless the Knicks were in a position to grab a free agent that would make Carmelo Anthony their second best player, it would be unwise for them to give him a max deal.

History says it won’t work out. Not just the Knicks’ history, but the entire history of the NBA.

Why New York continues to think they can change the trend despite proof showing them that it is more implausible than possible is mind-boggling.

There is a saying about insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. I guess that makes the Knicks batpoop insane, right?



Tags: Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks

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