Donnie Walsh Goes All In?
As a Knick fan if you suffered through the Rookie/Sophomore game, you probably did so to find out more about the latest trade rumors. Just about everybody has reported that the Knicks have offered Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Eddy Curry and a first-round pick to the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and other players that would fit under the salary cap. First and foremost, I’d like to remind everyone that this isn’t an official deal. It’s very possible that this trade will never come to fruition, and considering the numerous false reports “leaked” in the Carmelo Anthony saga it’s quite possible that this is yet another one of those.
However assuming that Donnie Walsh has offered this to Denver, it appears that he’s gone, as they would say in poker, “all-in.” Knick fans have been hoping that the team wouldn’t lose two of Chandler, Gallo, and Fields, and unfortunately it appears that scenario may occur. For many Knick fans, standing pat seemed to be an ideal move for New York with Carmelo’s ability to leave Denver without any compensation giving the Knicks some leverage. An offer that doesn’t strip the team of too much of it’s young assets seemed reasonable.
Nevertheless it seems that Walsh, sitting across from New Jersey’s Prokhorov, has blinked only a day after I espoused Walsh’s ability to remain calm under pressure. Consider that the Knicks will have to trade Anthony Randolph to acquire the first round pick, it means that they’ve dumped 3 of their 4 youngest players to get Carmelo. Should this transaction come to fruition, New York’s best chances for improvement come from Landry Fields (22 years old), Bill Walker (23), Toney Douglas (24), Timofey Mozgov (24), and Andy Rautins (24). Other than Fields, none of these players are probable NBA starters down the road.
Mind you, Chauncey Billups is a major upgrade over Raymond Felton. Granted Felton is nearly a decade younger, but Billups is a much better shooter, an area that Felton has been severly lacking in. However Billups is 34 years old, and isn’t likely to keep this up for much longer.
In the end, this trade is all about Carmelo Anthony. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t think he’s a great fit for New York. Carmelo is a good isolation scorer, but isn’t a good defender and he’s a career 31.1% three point shooter. None of those seem to fit in with a D’Antoni coached team. Nonetheless, I’m likely in the minority on this issue. North of my view of the spectrum, Anthony is anywhere from a major upgrade over Chandler and Gallinari, to a top 10 player in the league. He is an 25 ppg scorer that can take the load off of Amar’e and can take over the offense in clutch time. And perhaps his arrival could open the door for other stars like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or Dwight Howard.
Should this deal go through, the team is throwing everything behind Carmelo Anthony. It will be up to D’Antoni and the coaching staff to integrate Anthony and Billups, as well as do with a shorter bench. Perhaps there’s another move that will bring another quality center into the fold, since that would be one major area New York didn’t address. Ultimately should this trade be consummated, it will be the defining move of the Donnie Walsh era.