Many questions loom about the possibilities of a Carmelo-less Knicks. Who would be coaching the team? Who would be running the team? If you’re thinking Isiah Thomas, well you have good reason but let’s not go there. Chances are James Dolan would have went with another big name coach and left the running of the team to long-time yes man Steve Mills.
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The Knicks altered their franchise by getting their long sought after star in Carmelo Anthony during the 2010-11 season. In the massive three-team trade, New York sent the Denver Nuggets a 22-year-old Danilo Gallinari, a 24-year-old Timofey Mozgov, and a 23-year-old Wilson Chandler. In the Knicks’ defense, any team in the NBA would’ve pulled the trigger on that trade. When they got him the hope was that he would be paired with previous acquisition Amar’e Stoudemire as a dynamic scoring duo for years to come. Stoudemire’s injuries caused a decline in his production and prevented that from ever coming to fruition. The entire situation today, with Clyde Frazier’s comments about Carmelo and the Knicks rebuilding while hoping that another player will be the star can’t help but make you think what might have been.
Of course, Mike D’Antoni would have eventually been fired. On the premise that Mike Woodson would have still been promoted from assistant to head coach let’s say the next two seasons go poorly. Like in reality, Woodson is let go after two full seasons. Without Anthony he certainly never reaches the level of that 54-28 record from 2013-14. Would Phil Jackson be with the Knicks right now if they didn’t have a star player? Of course not. I mean maybe if they offered him more money, but probably not.
Apr 10, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) shoots the ball during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at Pepsi Center. The Mavericks won 144-143 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Instead, the roster would have a Timofey Mozgov who looked great playing with Lebron James but before that was a solid role player. He probably still is. Wilson Chandler is an excellent role player. He can do a little of everything. Chandler can score, rebound, and play defense. He would certainly be helpful right now. Of course the one Jackson would covet is Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari has yet top live up to the expectations of the 6th overall pick. However he has had a solid career and at only 26 has plenty of time to get even better.
Would the Knicks be better if they had never pulled off that trade in 2011? Of course not. Would they be worse? Probably not by much. But after years of bad seasons and lottery picks, they would be surrounded with some young talent. And in the weak Eastern Conference they would still be fixable. The argument can go both ways. For the Anthony haters, it’s irrelevant. He’s a Knick and he’s staying a Knick.