Before maybe ten minutes ago, I had been firmly opposed to the idea of Carmelo Anthony being granted his Christmas wishes to be traded to the surging New York Knicks. But then I thought about it, for exactly ten minutes, and then I came to a conclusion which I love, and that is when I began to write this piece. Carmelo Anthony needs to be traded to the Knicks so he can become a 21st century version of Antoine Walker.
Consider Anthony's career shooting percentages from behind the arc and then make love to it in your brain until you ponder the fundamentals of the D'Antoni system. The Knicks have been rumored to give up Wilson Chandler and possibly the beloved Italian Stallion (what will happen to his budding relationship with Harriet The Spy tart Michelle Trachtenberg?!) in an effort to drag Carmelo into the Greatest Sports City in the World. While Gallinari is definitely not the ridiculous monster that he was painted as in the pre-season, he is still a very serviceable player and is probably having sex with somebody on the CW. And Chandler? Come on. This is easily his best season in his career.
Draped in a giant apple costume, will Mr. Anthony continue to drive to the hoop and make weird jump shots (as he has forever) or will he yield to the greatness of D'Antoni, and shoot a couple more three pointers per game than he has in the past? Ray Felton has completely out of nowhere, and he's just barely a better three point shooter than Carmelo. An increase in shots with his current three point percentage - or even, let's say, one marginally better since he'll stop bitching about being on a Pretty Good team and start caring again - would result in a distinctly Antoinian player. In the tradition/farce of the original, his overall shot percentage will fall a little more. The evolved Carmelo will start taking over games when the Knicks never needed a player like him to. They'll make the playoffs, but seriously, first or second round exit every time.
There are other serious options to consider when pondering over the ability of Carmelo Anthony to succeed or struggle with a team built like the Knicks. A friend and I had a text message conversation yesterday about the other, pre-Antoinian, results of this trade. The most important thing, at least for me, came in a response to my doubt that the team chemistry thats grown through the past few weeks could sustain such an upheaval: "Chemistry can only take a team so far. Talent is what drives the league."
I only had one rebuke for him at the time: "We'll see." After the fact, maybe "Miami Heat's first month" could be another retort. Or "Indiana Pacers" or something. Losing full-blooded Knicks in exchange for Anthony would obviously be detrimental to the Knicks in the short team as far as chemistry goes. But it would be especially harmful in the long term - like when he signs a max extension right after signing instead of in the weird new free agency market of 2011!
When Carmelo does adapt some of the role that Chandler has been performing (like rebounding, primarily, under the Antoinian model), it's to the disadvantage of adorable Landry Fields, whose entire rookie year to this point revolves around this freakish non-positional shit which would end. And seriously? How can you want to hurt Landry?
So, Knicks and Nuggets: pull the cord and let's allow this season to truly Get Weird. In the immediate aftermath, the Nuggets will probably need a tweener forward, maybe somebody who currently resides on their D-League affiliate?