The New York Knicks have been a mess to start this season, and it is very clear that Carmelo Anthony needs quite a bit of help to get this team going in the right direction. Amar’e Stoudemire is no longer capable of being the second star, and players such as Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton simply aren’t good enough to be the second best player on a championship team.
The Knicks dream of bringing in a true second star to complement Anthony, but they will have to wait until the contracts of Stoudemire, Chandler and Andrea Bargnani expire. Making matters worse, Anthony can opt out of the final year of his contract this summer, and it is expected that he will.
However, the Knicks believe they will re-sign Anthony, and they are going to use the promise of signing Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love to lure him into staying. The Knicks cannot afford LeBron James this summer, and Love is the headliner of the projected free agent class of 2015. The Knicks’ strategy for getting Anthony to stay in New York is telling him that they will make an all-out effort to sign Love once they have the cap space in 2015, this per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
This strategy is just the latest ridiculous plan the Knicks have come up with. To be clear, the idea of targeting Love is not the problem. Love is the best power forward in the NBA, and he would be an excellent franchise cornerstone. However, there are several other major issues with this strategy.
First of all, Anthony is in his 12th season in the NBA, and he has only won two playoff series. He is not a leader, he doesn’t play defense and he is not worth a contract that pays him over $20 million a season. The evidence is simply overwhelming that Anthony is never going to be the best player on a championship team.
Secondly, even if the Knicks were to sign Love, it is rather unlikely that he and Anthony would have any success playing together. The both are at their best operating out of the post and using their perimeter games to complement that. If Love joined the Knicks, it would force Anthony to play exclusively on the perimeter, leading to him becoming an even more inefficient scorer than he is now.
Finally, planning your future on something that might happen two years from now is just plain dumb. What if Love decides to stay in Minnesota? What if he decides to join another team? What if he gets traded, signs an extension and never becomes a free agent? The Knicks have tried this strategy before, and it failed miserably when James signed with the Miami Heat. That failure is what started the Knicks towards being in their current financial mess.
If the Knicks really want to get better, they need to start by clearing cap space, holding onto their draft picks (and getting them right for once) and acquiring young talent. If that means letting Anthony leave, so be it. Targeting Love in 2015 is a great idea, but pairing him with Anthony isn’t, and basing an entire future strategy on that foundation will end in disaster.