I’m not even sure anymore if I should congratulate Knicks fans for acquiring Carmelo Anthony.
Ever since last night’s three-team, 12-player deal that put ‘Melo where he’s wanted to be all along went through, the reaction hasn’t been what I expected. While some NY fans are elated, the move has been met with more skepticism than I would have imagined. For a franchise that hasn’t sniffed a 50-win season since 2001, putting together a Big Three of Carmelo, Chauncey Billups and Amar’e is a good thing. It should be a great thing. But so far the response has been surprisingly negative, even by New York and Internet standards.
What am I missing? Here are the three dumbest anti-’Melo arguments I’ve heard:
1. We were going to get him in free agency anyway, so why give up so much in a trade?
Yeah, just like the Knicks were going to get LeBron, and the Bulls were going to get Dwyane Wade, and the Nets were going to do better than Travis Outlaw last summer. As Bernie Mac would say, we don’t know sh*t until sh*t happens. While the Knicks would have gone into the summer as the favorite to sign Carmelo, it was far from a lock. So if the organization has a chance to get a 26-year-old superstar who’s dropping 25 points per game right now, do it.
Is the Knicks roster a little thin right now? Sure. But they have the foundation for a juggernaut. Now the next step is finding the right pieces to fit around that foundation. Instead of worrying about giving up too many role players to get a superstar, you get the superstar and bring in role players later. Role players will always be available. Superstars will not.
2. Now we don’t have cap space anymore.
It was the greatest trick Isiah Thomas ever pulled, convincing the world that cap space is better than wins. The Knicks judged their “success” in terms of cap space over wins for so long, they forgot the point of having cap space: To be able to pay superstars like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups.
This is what good teams do. The Celtics don’t have any cap space because they’re paying KG, Ray, Rondo and Pierce. All they have to show for it is an NBA championship and the best record in the East today. The Heat don’t have any cap space because they’re paying LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh; they have the second-best record in the East and a championship-level core for the next six years. The Lakers don’t have cap space, and they’re working on a third straight championship.
3. Carmelo hasn’t really led his team anywhere.
This is like Mack-10 telling The Game he hasn’t really made a mark in the rap game. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, while ‘Melo has been in the playoffs every year since 2004. True, ‘Melo has a history of first-round exits that mirrors Tracy McGrady‘s, but at least he’s been there. And he’s been to the conference finals. Denver has done more during Carmelo’s tenure than New York has done, so wouldn’t you welcome a guy who can get you more wins?
Plus, Carmelo doesn’t have to individually lead the Knicks anywhere because he has Amar’e and Chauncey at his side now. This will be a team effort led by three very good, possibly future Hall of Fame players. And if you’re not excited as a New York fan to see this team, I don’t know what to tell you.