As Carmelo Anthony took his lashings in his trip back to Denver, I pondered about how excited I was when the Knicks first acquired Anthony. Even though the Knicks are the worse team, the Knicks ultimately gave up Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and a 2014 first round pick for Carmelo Anthony (Raymond Felton is now back with the Knicks, and Timofey Mozgov isn’t in Denver’s rotation, and is a free agent this season). Moving forward, it seems the Nuggets will win the trade, while the Knicks might be dealing with three superstars and four good knees, as Tyson Chandler left the game with an injured knee. So I decided to look back at the Knicks after the Carmelo trade and create my own alternative timeline. Let’s work from the Carmelo Anthony trade, and see what the Knicks could’ve done to fix their current misfortune.
(This is mainly to help me ignore the Knicks imploding, but it’s also a tribute to Dragonball Z)
The Alternative New York Knicks Timeline
- Knicks acquire Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman
It’s done. Before the trade deadline, the Knicks acquire Carmelo Anthony to go with Amar’e Stoudemire. They even acquired Chauncey Billups, creating a slight upgrade at the point guard position. Sure, we have questions about Anthony and Stoudemire’s defense, but under MDA, the team will score a ton of points. With Amar’e Stoudemire, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, Shawne Williams and Ronny Turiaf there, the Knicks have three players who can help Anthony achieve success in his New York run. Along with those four players, the Knicks have a smorgasbord of bench players with Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, and Anthony Carter. Before we move forward, let’s right the first wrong post trade.
- Knicks keep Corey Brewer
Soon after acquiring him, the Knicks sent Corey Brewer packing for Jared Jeffries. To this day, I feel like this was one of the biggest blunders of the Melo era. The Knicks now keep Corey Brewer, and he plays a role similar to Raja Bell. Although Brewer can’t knock down the three-pointer with the same efficiency as Bell, the Knicks use him off the bench as defensive wing who can come in to replace Fields to defend superstar wing players.
Rotation: Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Ronny Turiaf, Toney Douglas, Landry Fields, and Shawne Williams.
- Second Half Of 2010-2011 Season
The Knicks finished with the 6th seed, but in this scenario, the Knicks finish with the 5th seed, thanks to keeping Brewer on their bench. The Knicks finish with a record of 45-37, just three games better than their actual 42-40 record. Instead of facing the Boston Celtics, the Knicks slide into the 4-5 series against Orlando. However, the result changes slightly as New York takes one game against Orlando, but loses the series in five games. Amar’e Stoudemire begins to get hurt, and the Carmelo Anthony power forward lineup continues to receive praise, winning them a game against Orlando in Madison Square Garden.
- Knicks offseason: Billups, Brewer, and six fouls
Rotation Free agents: Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Corey Brewer, Shawne Williams, Aaron Carter, and Ronny Turiaf
Looking back, the Knicks let Brewer walk and amnestied Billups to sign Tyson Chandler. Not a bad move, Chandler is one of the top 20 players in the league, but it severely crippled New York, taking away one of their best assets on the table; the amnesty clause. Even with Amar’e having a fantastic season (25-8, All-NBA 2nd team), Stoudemire came to New York with horrible knees, scratched corneas, and a bad back. In this scenario, the Knicks allow all of the bench players to walk, and continue to keep Billups under his team option (one year, $18 million). Along with Billups, the Knicks also re-sign Corey Brewer to a three year, 12 million dollar contract, making sure the Knicks have a respectable wing player on the bench who can defend.
With Stoudemire in limbo, the Knicks decide to sure up the frontcourt with some cheap free agents. The first free agent is Kwame Brown. For two years, six million dollars, the Knicks use Brown to grab rebounds and defend opposite of Amar’e. After Brown, the Knicks sign Steve Novak. One of the main issues with the Knicks is open shooting. For just three million over one season, the Knicks take Novak and place him into their rotation as a knockdown shooter. With Fields and Brewer on the roster, the Knicks feel comfortable with placing Novak, Brewer, and Fields on the court together to have some defense and open shooting.
Rotation: Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Toney Douglas, Kwame Brown, Landry Fields, and Steve Novak.
- Knicks draft Reggie Jackson 17th overall in the 2011 NBA draft
After struggling in the playoffs, the Knicks are quietly looking to rid themselves of Toney Douglas. With Fields and Brewer, the Knicks for a replacement who can develop as a point guard. The Knicks make numerous calls to move up for Jimmer Fredette, but no dice. Instead of Iman Shumpert (the actual pick), the Knicks go with Jackson, whose defense and shooting could jump into the rotation as a backup point guard.
Rotation: Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Toney Douglas, Kwame Brown, Landry Fields, and Steve Novak (Reggie Jackson looming)
- 2011-2012 New York Knicks Season
In a lockout shorten season, the Knicks finish with a record of 39-27, claiming the Atlantic Division title over the Boston Celtics. Carmelo leads the team in scoring, and Billups misses time with various injuries, but holds down the roster, while getting Anthony and Stoudemire to co-exist. This is the season where we see Amar’e continue to break down. Battling injuries, Stoudemire plays just 36 games battling various injuries to his knee, neck, and back. As a result of Amar’e injury, we see glimpses of Anthony at power forward, and interesting Fields/Brewer combinations. Also, as predicted, Reggie Jackson jumps into the rotation, taking Toney Douglas’ rotation spot.
The Knicks go into the playoffs with the fifth overall seed, and lose to a good Indiana team. Roy Hibbert and David West dismantle New York in six games. In the series, we see Stoudemire go down with another knee injury, leaving New York to ponder his future. Along with Stoudemire’s injuries, the Knicks also look for a replacement for Chauncey Billups, as Darren Collison and George Hill obliterate him on the offensive and defensive end.
- Knicks Amnesty Amar’e Stoudemire
By not using the amnesty clause on Chauncey Billups, the Knicks decide to use it on Stoudemire, who has three years left on his contract for over $66 million dollars. Carmelo Anthony is upset, but the Knicks watch as someone signs Amar’e to a respectable contract for three seasons. This moves opens up a ton of money, as amnestying Stoudemire, combined with Billups’ expiring contract, allows the Knicks to flaunt max contract space.
- Mike D’Antoni Resigns
The Knicks allow D’Antoni to leave, as he and Anthony have numerous spats about the offense. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Knicks don’t fire D’Antoni, rather allowing him to resign. In his place, the Knicks hire Mike Woodson for the following season.
- Knicks free agency: Playing It Safe
Rotation Free Agents: Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields (RFA), Kwame Brown, and Toney Douglas
The Knicks now have a ton of cap space, but they don’t enter the Dwight Howard fiasco, due to a lack of cap space. Going into a contract season, Mike D’Antoni wants to assist Glen Grunwald in signing free agents. With Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks are looking to sign a big free agent: Deron Williams. However, the Knicks lose to the Nets in the chase for Williams. After being matched for multiple restricted free agents (Nicolas Batum, Roy Hibbert, and Eric Gordon), the Knicks are left digging for other free agents.
The first move is Ramon Sessions? After opting to go away from Billups, the Knicks look for an inexpensive alternative, and Sessions is an option for two years, 10 million, where a team option could be exercised at the end of the season.. The second move is O.J. Mayo. While he is restricted, Memphis’ hands are tied, and the Knicks acquire Mayo for three years, 17 million. Mayo gives the Knicks a starting shooting guard who can fit next to Anthony. To rebuild the frontcourt post-Stoudemire, the Knicks sign two big men. The first is Marcus Camby for one year, Camby is a big body who can rebound and block shots. Carl Landry is the second man. For three years, 13 million, the Knicks get a respectable big man who can score and rebound at the power forward position. With one more rotation spot needed, the Knicks also acquire Anthony Tolliver (one year, 3 million) to bang down low when Camby needs rest.
Current Rotation: Ramon Sessions, O.J. Mayo, Carmelo Anthony, Carl Landry, Marcus Camby, Reggie Jackson, Anthony Tolliver, Corey Brewer, and Steve Novak.
I don’t know how much that changes this season, but what that current rotation, the Knicks have the correct amount of size, speed, offense, and defense. Without Tyson Chandler, that team doesn’t have the key defensive player needed, but with Mike Woodson as head coach, the Knicks have the defensive coach needed to figure it out. This team isn’t a team contending for the top seed in the East (something the current Knicks have done before Miami exploded), but it keeps the Knicks in contending, and it also saves them cap space to entice both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul to New York. Do they all team up in New York? Who knows. What I do know is it would’ve given the Knicks a chance to have a successful season, and actually have a future, something the current Knicks do not have.