One of the main reasons the New York Knicks hired Phil Jackson to be their team president was because of his winning pedigree- including eleven championships as a coach with both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
However, despite Jackson’s mastery of the triangle offense, his success could not have come without the aid of several star players: namely Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal. That is why, in order for Jackson to pile up victories in New York, he will need a star player at the helm of his team, and that star must come in the form of none other than Carmelo Anthony.
In today’s NBA, almost any team that is vying for a championship must have at least one star player on their roster. In fact, most recent champions have even had much more than that, often compiling their own “Big 3″, to dominate the rest of the league.
While the Knicks wouldn’t have a “Big 3″, even if Anthony did return to New York, it nonetheless represents a major improvement for the franchise, as opposed to having to play with a cast of average to slightly above average role players.
Sure, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are all players that would surely excel in the triangle offense, but their best skills would remain hidden if they had no star playing alongside them. Such a situation would be ideal for those who prefer to have the Knicks use the upcoming season as a “transition year”, but I believe that with Jackson at the helm, there is no such thing as throwing away a season.
Another player the Knicks have been linked to early in the offseason is Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol, who played several seasons under Jackson in Los Angeles.
Between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 season, all while which Jackson was Lakers head coach, Gasol averaged 18.7 points per game, at a .544 clip. In addition, he pulled down 10.3 total rebounds per game, all numbers which allowed him to be selected to the All-Star Game in each of those seasons.
If the elder Gasol were to come to New York though, he’d be more enticed to if another star player were already in the Big Apple as well. Gasol is clearly no longer the player he was in his prime, so chances are he would not be too interested in coming to New York, only to be the leading guy by a wide margin.
However, if he were to pair with Anthony, the two could form a dynamic duo under head coach Derek Fisher, which in turn could attract other major free agent to the Knicks in the near future as well. Such players include reigning league MVP Kevin Durant, who will be eligible for free agency in the summer of 2016. Either way, it seems that in order for the Knicks to become competitive again in the weak Eastern Conference, they’ll need ‘Melo to re-sign, because his presence in New York will greatly increase the chances of other stars coming on board- just the next step in the Knicks pursuit of their first title since 1973.
Carmelo, you came to New York for one reason and one reason only: to win an NBA championship. Please don’t bail on the city now, because winning a championship as the star for the Knicks would make you a legend unlike anyone else who’s ever step foot in Gotham.