This post started out as a commentary on how the Knicks-Mavs trade affects the Toronto Raptors, but has developed a mind of its own. I’m going to offer my thoughts on all the latest deals consummated around Draft Night.
The New York Knicks completed a six-player trade with the Dallas Mavericks. The details are here, but in essence the deal is Jose Calderon for Tyson Chandler. The Knicks now have two former backbone Raptors on their roster, Jose and Toronto’s (and possibly the NBA’s) least popular player, Andrea Bargnani. Does this deal have any impact on our team?
We’re guaranteed four games a season against the Knicks, so we’re sure to get an additional look at our ex-men, but that’s probably not the kind of impact you’re interested in. The Knicks had a miserable ’13-’14 season, and this trade is unlikely to advance their cause in ’14-’15. New York appears to be sacrificing defense for offense by giving up rim-protector Chandler for Jose’s passing and shooting. The new sheriffs in the Big Apple, GM Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher, are likely to implement the triangle offense. Whether they have the personnel to successfully take advantage of the high-risk, high-reward triangle remains to be seen. Jose is a superb distributor, so he’ll be the least of coach Fisher’s worries, but I doubt Bargnani’s decision-making is up to the challenge of the triangle, which depends on quick ball- and player-movement to create open shots.
Carmelo Anthony, New York’s best player by a country mile, has opted out of his contract and can choose a new place to play if he’s so inclined. I don’t think the acquisition of Jose will move the needle much in the Knicks’ direction. As I was writing this post, the news of Omer Asik’s new home came across the wire. He will be moved to the New Orleans Pelicans (who we’ll return to) for a first-round draft pick in 2015, as the Houston Rockets need salary cap space to join the Carmelo pursuit. The Rox, in possession of serious talent like James Harden and Dwight Howard, are orders of magnitude closer to championship contention than the Knicks. I think ‘Melo is done with New York. He’s 30, without a ring, and has enough money banked for several lifetimes. ‘Melo wants to win.
Unless they undergo a defensive upgrade between now and the season opener, the Knicks are going to be badly outscored on many nights. Jose and Andrea might be able to pile up the points, but they will be spectators at the other end of the court. Even the unlikely return of ‘Melo will not change the forecast. Knick fans will have to hope for a bunch of 128-124 victories.
The Pelicans will boast a huge and talented frontcourt next season, as Asik will relieve the extraordinary Anthony (Unibrow) Davis of much of his defensive responsibility. If Davis cranks up his scoring from last year’s 20.8 PPG, he’ll be in the MVP conversation.
Finally, what was the purpose of the Orlando Magic donating Arron Afflalo to the Denver Nuggets? They received French-born shooter(?) Evan Fournier and a second-round pick. Deals so absurd should be investigated by the league office. If that’s all Magic GM Rob Hennigan wanted for Afflalo and his 18.2 PPG, he should have called Masai Ujiri. Our GM would have offered a lot more.