Should The Knicks Trade Carmelo Anthony Or Amare Stoudemire If They Lose Their Series To The Heat?
It’s been more than 4,000—yes, four thousand!—days since the New York Knicks last won a playoff game. Their last playoff victory came all the way back on April 29, 2001 when they beat the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of a playoff series. And, from the looks of things, they’re not going to get a coveted playoff victory this year, as the Miami Heat have them down 0-3 in their best-of-7 first-round playoff series. So, if the Knicks lose today, they’ll have to wait a whole year before they get another chance to win a playoff game. But, that’s actually not the bad news for Knicks fans right now.
You see, for a lot of years now, the Knicks have struggled as a team. Over the course of the last decade, they’ve had their fair share of sub-.500 seasons. They’ve missed the playoffs plenty of times. They’ve been an embarrassment to the city of New York. And, quite frankly, they’ve done everything in their power to tarnish the good reputation that the Knickerbockers had for so many years. But, this year was supposed to be different.
After acquiring Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets last season and pairing him with Amare Stoudemire, Knicks fans had every reason to think that this year was going to yield a deep playoff run or, at the very least, a playoff run of some sort. The Knicks were going to be one of the teams to watch in the Eastern Conference. They were going to lock up home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and win easily and then challenge one of the conference’s other elite teams for the right to go to the Eastern Conference Finals. But then, the season started and, well, it was clear that that was not the fate of the current Knicks team. They struggled out of the gate, eventually lost their head coach Mike D’Antoni when he resigned midway through the season, and were plagued by one injury after another. As a result, the 2011-2012 NBA season has, more or less, been a wash for the Knicks.
So then, the question must be asked: If the Knicks lose to the Heat today and get swept out of the playoffs, do they need to make a big splash in the offseason? Do they need to give Phil Jackson whatever he wants to come and be their coach? Do they need to think about signing better role players? Or, do they need to seriously consider trading either Anthony or Stoudemire away? The answers to those questions are pretty clear: Yes, yes, and…yes.
The first two are self-explanatory. If the Knicks can get Jackson, they should. And, if they can sign role players that they think can help them—in particular, better point guard options—then they should do that as well. But, the last answer is the most interesting because, on paper, wouldn’t the Knicks be worse without one of their two superstars? I say they’d be better off because they haven’t proven that they can win together. So, who goes?
‘Melo is the bigger draw, but he’s also come up remarkably small in the Knicks series against the Heat. Still, I can’t see the Knicks parting ways with him. But, I could see them getting what they could for Stoudemire. If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that he’s not going to get any healthier anytime soon, he needs to play in a different system, and he’s clearly frustrated by his role with the Knicks. So, he might be the odd man out this offseason.
Either way, the Knicks need to do something to avoid a repeat of the 2011-2012 NBA season. Whether that involves a major coaching change, adding a bunch of new pieces around their existing superstars, or cutting ties with either Anthony or Stoudemire, something needs to be done. Otherwise, it’ll be a long, long time before they see another playoff win. As if it hasn’t already been long enough.