PHOENIX - OCTOBER 22: Renaldo Balkman #32 of the Denver Nuggets awaits a free throw shot from the Phoenix Suns during the preseason NBA game at US Airways Center on October 22 2010 in Phoenix Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A lot of you are very angry. I, though I love Carmelo Anthony and am looking forward to rooting for him, am quite sad (I, alas, was born without the capacity to feel anger). This is my attempt to explain all that:
The most vocal subset of Knick fans, though I like to imagine they're not the most populous, is typified by avarice. Outsiders think of us as undiscerning gluttons, ladling talent down our gullets while grasping blindly at MORE of it. And those Knick fans that screech the loudest have done little to dispel that notion. LeBron doesn't want us? Why!? Doesn't he know this is New York!? Amar'e's a Knick now? Why not Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony? When's Dwight Howard a free agent? Kevin Durant couldn't possibly want to rot in Oklahoma City, could he? We snatch whatever big name is nearest, then hump it mercilessly until somebody else distracts us.
Well, I say "we", but I don't really mean that. I think I and a lot of us here at P&T tend toward the opposite, even to a fault. Perhaps as a revolt against those name-humping Knick fans, we've got a frightening obsession with those men who, mostly without any choice of their own, don the orange and blue. Since I've been Posting and Toasting, I've talked myself into worshipping such ill-fated endeavors as the Eddy Curry-Zach Randolph tandem, the Darko Milicic acqusition, and the Randolph Morris experiment. Y'all didn't even know me when Frank Williams was around, but I assure you that shit got weird. Have you seen the way Charlie and I feel about Renaldo Balkman? Are you aware that P&T sells a Jonathan Bender t-shirt? We're not healthy here.
And I'm proud of it. I think I get it, too. All we want is something to hold onto. The Knicks of recent years, and particularly those presided over by Isiah Thomas, were all about presenting us with new, shiny toys, only to abandon them when the assembly proved too difficult or they predictably failed to coexist with the other toys. That Isiah regime was tailored for the name-humpers: "Don't worry about how it works! It's STEVE FRANCIS!". "That's not working? Okay, here's ZACH RANDOLPH!". That shit sucked.
Again, we just wanted something to hold onto. After a few years to trim the fat and swap out parts (some of which were difficult, but necessary, to part with), Donnie Walsh gave us just that. A team with Amar'e as the head and Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari as the menacing octopus arms wasn't going to win the championship this season, but that was almost beside the point. It was OURS and it felt like the start of something. The Knicks, ever the moving target, were finally a fully-formed mass of likable, talented characters who we could dress up and groom and pose in different positions without worrying that they would be snatched away.
And then they were. This most recent move- swapping two homegrown talents, one promising rookie, and one free agent acquisition who fit right in for a big-name star- reeks of meddling by James Dolan and, yeah, Isiah Thomas. If you take this as a sign that those two are ready to overthrow Walsh, then I don't know what to tell you. I choose to suppress that conspiracy theory because I like sleeping at night, but I can't really dismiss it.
In any event, don't take it out on these new players. They're Knicks now, and we'll learn to love them, either because they're really talented (and please don't neglect the fact that Carmelo Anthony is REALLY fucking talented) or because they're weird, wonderful curiosities that we've collected. Those chirping name-humpers love this deal, because they've heard of "Melo" and they have a t-shirt jersey with his name and the number 15 on the back. They're obnoxious, but don't let them ruin it for you. This does have the potential to work, and even if it doesn't, it's not like you and I are going anywhere. We'll have weird nicknames for and obscene jokes about these new guys in no time, and it'll be back to the same old nonsense. Maybe we'll even enjoy some playoff wins.
All we ask of whoever it is that runs the Knicks is to BUILD something. You got Amar'e and Melo. Good for you. Now keep them and make something out of them. Allow those two stars to align. Let Landry Fields spread Landriness throughout the land. Let Shawne Williams poop, Bill Walker bully, and Toney Douglas do what Toney Douglas do. Stick to a plan for once. Be patient. Accept small failures along the way. Don't be known as the folks that ditched Gallo, Will, Ray, Timo, Anthony, and Eddy in vain. Please, above all else, just give us something we can hold onto.
In closing, I'd like to direct you to two pieces of writing by people much smarter than myself. One is this piece by Joey Litman at Straight Bangin'. It's scary, but it's really great and there's hope to be found in there. Another is a poem written by P&T community member Matt Horowitz (who also wrote a whole book with words in it called Vague Notions of Clarity). I think it sums up all of the above way, way better than I did:
There Will be no thrill,
the Cock will not crow.
For Melo cannot distill
my leaking heart’s Bordeaux.
I have Felt on occasion
that the Russian would blossom
and complete the equation
but now my young hopes lay – a stilled possum.
I will dearly miss my friends.
I will putter about my living room,
I will mutter about odds and ends,
I will wear my Toney costume.
Clyde will spew,
the Garden will roar,
yet the orange and blue
will be a mascara’d whore.
We lived and sighed
evening after evening.
Beers, cheers, tears cried, throats dried.
Our loved ones leaving
when we had only begun to get loud,
to my friends I say,
all season you made me proud
to witness your balling ballet.
There will be a farewell thread later today, and also some welcomes in the near future. For now, relax, enjoy the possibilities, and be kind to one another.