The Knicks are struggling right now and like most fans I can’t help but wonder how this sticky situation could be fixed. After watching this team throughout the last three years one thing has become apparent. The Knicks CANNOT win a championship with Carmelo Anthony as their best player. In addition, the money that Melo commands would tie the franchise to a future of middling playoff exits at best. Thus, in order to fix the New York Knicks and save the team from being the laughingstock of the NBA I have employed the most powerful GM tool known to man, the ESPN NBA trade machine. I am operating under a few assumptions with regards to my viewpoint as fake Knicks GM. The first has already been stated (the Knicks cannot win a championship with Melo as their best player). The second assumption is that the only way to forgo a future that holds no championships with Melo is to tear apart the team and rebuild from the ashes.
With that in mind, the Knicks have to set their sights on the free agency of 2015 (when Amare Stoudemire's toxic contract comes off the books). I am not asking that the Knicks completely tank with the trades I’m proposing, but instead I’m trying to give the Knicks players that would retain value, whether the team performs well or not. The macro goal is to stockpile assets in the next two years while doing everything possible to attain the marquee free agents of 2015 (1. Kevin Love 2. Marc Gasol 3. Nikola Vucevic 4-6. Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic, Omer Asik). In my plan the obvious choice for the Knicks is to target is Kevin Love, a stretch 4 with tremendous rebounding that could be the key to a top 10 offense. The strategy has to be in place well in advance to accommodate Kevin Love and present the Knicks as his best option. The next best option would be Marc Gasol who could be the key to a top ten defense and is an underrated offensive asset. The dream would be to get Love and one of Vucevic, Asik, or Gasol. That would provide an improved version of the versatile frontcourt we thought Amare and Chandler would be.
Now we come to the question of how to reach this goal.
1. Trade Carmelo. I’ve thought pretty hard about which teams would be most excited for Carmelo and it seemed to me that the clear favorite would be to trade Carmelo to the Washington Wizards (they have the combination of incentive to be good and assets). Specifically, I propose the Knicks trade Carmelo and Raymond "The Duck" Felton for Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Trevor Ariza, and Al Harrington. If we could swing a 2015 first round draft pick out of the deal as well that would be awesome. http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mptbxd8 (The worst case scenario trade would be http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=l56ln7p )
2. Trade Tyson Chandler. I actually love Tyson Chandler and he is my personal favorite Knick but he is at the tail end of his prime and his peak won’t coincide with the youth movement that is part of my vision. As such, I feel as though the perfect trade partner for him would be Cleveland (combination of incentive to be good and assets). The Knicks would give up Chandler for Anderson Varejao and Earl Clark. Once more, it wouldn’t hurt if we could get Cleveland’s 2015 first rounder that they are getting from Memphis. http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=lpr4gfw
3. Do everything within the organization’s power to get the draft pick that will turn into Dante Exum. This is something of a personal hunch on my part, but I feel as though Exum will be a great player in this league. He is a 6’6 Point guard with great athleticism and playmaking ability that has already been drawing comparisons to guys like Russell Westbrook and Penny Hardaway. It would also be cool for the Knicks to finally have that caliber of Point Guard on the team and remove the bad taste Marbury left in our collective conscious.
Overall, the Knicks become much more flexible with these moves. Four of the new acquisitions are expiring and could be brought back for a cheap price (Varejao/Gortat/Ariza) or released (Al Harrington). I suppose my dream Knick starting unit for 2015-2016 would be:
PG Dante Exum (20)
SG Bradley Beal (22)
SF (TBD) Kawhi Leonard/Unknown Defense and 3pt specialist (?)
PF Kevin Love (27)
C Marc Gasol (30) / Nikola Vucevic (25)