It’s time for the New York Knicks to stop pretending like they are contenders, trade Carmelo Anthony, and start building around Kristaps Porzingis.
The Knicks have started yet another season with massive hype, and to this point have yet to live up any of it. Trading for a broken down Derrick Rose and signing a hobbled Joakim Noah got New York fans excited, but both players, who once excelled in Chicago, now look like shells of their former selves.
The one bright spot for the Knicks has been their 2015 first round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis. The 21-year-old center has been described a basketball unicorn, a seven footer that can shoot 3s, run the floor and protect the rim. He has continued to improve his game, and barring a major injury, looks destined for stardom.
The Knicks’ current superstar is 32-year-old Carmelo Anthony, who has yet to lead the Knicks past the 2nd round of the playoffs. Melo has a no-trade clause, and loves New York so it won’t be easy for the Knicks to move the aging star. The Knick’s only hope is to trade Melo to a contender in a major metropolitan city who can offer assets in return.
The Knicks should be looking for young players that compliment Porzinigs’ game and maybe a veteran presence that can pick up some of the slack in Carmelo’s absence.
The only trade partner that checks all these boxes is the Toronto Raptors. Toronto is a diverse metropolitan city, and the Raptors may be one star away from having a real shot to beat Cleveland and play for a championship. This also sets us up for a Carmelo vs. LeBron Eastern Conference finals, something fans have been waiting for since Carmelo was traded to the Knicks in 2011.
In order to pull this off, the Raptors would have to give up DeMare Carroll, Terrance Ross and first round pick. This trade benefits both teams, Carroll when healthy is an above average defender who can knock down shots and brings that veteran presence to the Knicks. Ross is a streaky scorer, but he is talented, full of potential and could be a nice piece for a young Knicks team.
The first round pick gives the Knicks an asset to continue building around their young star Porzingis.
The Raptors get a star to pair with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, giving them a legitimate big three to compete with the other power teams in the NBA.
It’s time for Phil Jackson and the Knicks to be proactive; few players in the league have a brighter future the Porzingis and it’s silly to waste even one year of his development. Instead of signing washed up players and finishing as the 7th or 8th best team in the east, why not start to build around your young star and give him every opportunity to flourish in New York.
A fun young team built around Porzingis could actually give Knicks fans some hope for the future. But at this point the Knicks seem to be wasting everyone’s time including Carmelo, Porzingis and the fans.