Posts Tagged ‘New York Knicks’

By Phil Bausk

“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.”- Richard Nixon

It is kind of weird to think that the late Richard Nixon’s words referring to Communism bare such an eerie resemblance to the current events of the National Basketball Association and its 2011 Trade Deadline.

Over the past couple days, both the Knicks and the Nets have made Rasputia (First Norbit reference!!) type splashes at this year’s deadline. The Knicks were first to dive in by trading a sizable amount of their roster (Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, and a few picks and cash) for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, and others. Usually after such a big splash, there are ripple affects, and these were expected to occur throughout the league over the next few days. Instead, the Nets made an even bigger splash, sending Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, 2 first round picks, and cash to the Utah Jazz for disgruntled PG Deron Williams, among other smaller pieces.

While both of these deals are good for each franchises on an individual level, it is hard to ignore the idea that the Knicks and Nets are going to now be in direct competition with one another, not only on the court (maybe a year or two down the road), but also in the war rooms, fighting for players to help fill their respective rosters. This is all assuming that Deron Williams agrees to some sort of an extension, keeping him in NJ/Brooklyn for the next few years.

While the Knicks are helped by their location and the team’s history, it has been let down over the past decade by management, and rumblings that Isaiah Thomas was involved with the Carmelo Anthony trade only further proves that perhaps the culture in the front office, while shifting, isn’t completely out of  the woods quite yet.  On the other hand, the Nets have Mikhail Prokhorov, as Bill Simmons calls him, the “Russian Mark Cuban,” or as I will refer to him from now on, RMC.

RMC has struggled in his first full year as the NJ Nets owner. He was unable to lure any big name name free agents this summer, though The Akron Scammer said his presentation was one of the best he saw. Along with the Scammer, RMC whiffed on Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh, and ended up paying Travis “Where’s my GED” Outlaw $7 mil. a year over 5 seasons, perhaps one of the worst contracts in the league. He was then unable to get Carmelo from the Nuggets, even though his Nets had the sexiest package to offer to them.

This has a  remarkable parallel to the first half of the Cold War. While post-World War II Europe was being both reprimanded and reassembled, Russia and The United States proposed different approaches on how to go about this process. Russia wanted to spread its Communist influence, while the U.S. wanted to rebuild the democratic governments in Europe. This caused much tension between both parties, resulting in roughly a decade of speculation, with many skirmishes along the way, including the Koren War and the Warsaw Pact, which were significant moments, but in the long run, were ultimately unsuccessful, much like the Travis Outlaw and Anthony Morrow signings.

It was at this point that RMC duped us all and pulled his own version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by swooping in out of nowhere and acquiring Deron Williams. By doing this he has moved his artillery in position, much like Khrushchev did in Cuba, and is pointing his ammo right at the heart of Manhattan. The next question is whether RMC will push the proverbial button, by signing a Dwight Howard type, or if he’ll emulate Khrushchev again, and become unsuccessful not only in signing another free agent, but in retaining Deron Williams.

It would be harder pressed to make James Dolan and Co. into looking like John F. Kennedy and any other U.S. presidents, but if I am going into this analogy, I really don’t have much of a choice. Dolan and GM Donnie Walsh have done a good job putting NYC basketball back on the map. Much like the American presidents, they have done well, but still have their critics, though I don’t think anyone is going to be gunned down at a state school over the ‘Melo trade. Their next task is to bring in one more piece to finalize the NBA trend of having 3 All-Stars to fill out a starting lineup, and banking on someone else to step up and play well (There will never be another Rajon Rondo, or at least a man who can capture my heart like he has).

As of right now, RMC and his Nets have the upper hand in managerial/political decision making, but the Knicks, much like America at the time, has a better product on the court. They have history on their side as the NBA superpower, and will use whatever resources it may take to keep it that way. We all know how the Cold War turned out, as things in Soviet Russia dissolved, and America was back on top of the world. Does RMC have what it takes to make this Cold War end differently? Or is he going to be remembered as that crazy Russian owner whose money meant nothing in a league where the salary cap is going to be at an all-time low?

Only time can really tell us how this NBA feud is going to conclude, but one thing is for sure, there is a renewed hatred of those over in Jersey, and you can be the feeling is mutual. Better yet, does this Cold War turn into a Civil War when the Nets make their way over to Brooklyn, and start referring to themselves as the Brooklyn New Yorkers.

There is so much left to be answered, and so much time for it all to be answered in. This tension between both clubs is going to last for a few years, and it is going to feel like a few decades. Perhaps Russia would still be the Soviet Union if RMC were around 50 years ago.


By Aaron Tobinhess

As you may recall, last Wednesday night at MSG, the Knicks laid a major egg against a Clipper team that was 3-18 on the road entering that game. They looked lifeless, played no defense and, in typical Knicks fashion, shot poorly from the three-point line, and didn’t stop hoisting.  They were down as much as twenty points at one point in the third quarter.  Did I mention, this was a game against the Clippers?  It was just downright embarrassing and every player and coach should feel like crap because of the way this game unfolded (I know they made a comeback in the fourth but that doesn’t make me feel any better and it shouldn’t to any Knick fan out there).

Late in the forth quarter, as the fans grew more and more upset with the team’s performance, they chanted “WE WANT MELO, WE WANT MELO.” Fans at MSG never hide what they feel, nor should they, and hell, the Knicks fans should want Melo.  Stars win in the NBA and the Knicks have a chance to land a Star, a bona fide star for that matter, and scoring machine, in Carmelo Anthony.  Melo wants to be a Knick.  That much is clear.  So I ask the question, WHY THE HELL IS THE DEAL NOT DONE ALREADY?!!!! And if it’s not done, there should already be serious strides to get the deal done.

Carmelo Anthony sent the Knicks a wake up call this week.  He said if he is not traded than he will “strongly consider” singing the three year 65 million dollar extension because of the potential lockout and change in the CBA.  Here is the thing though, he isn’t signing that extension.  That deal has been on the table for 5 months now and if he wanted to sign, he would have done so by now.  The same logic goes for the trade to the Nets.  If he wanted to be a Net (and I don’t know why anyone would want to be a Net), it would have been done.  He wants to be a Knick.  That’s it.  The report with the Lakers is crap; same with the report with him resigning.  All of that chatter is designed to do one thing, to get the Knicks to sweeten their offer to Denver.  So I now pose the question (and at this point getting exceedingly frustrated), what is holding the Knicks back? (I would do the bold caps lock move again but it’s getting old)

The reported deal from this past weekend, involving the Knicks, the Nuggets and the T-Wolves, had the Knicks giving up Wilson Chandler, Fat Eddy Curry’s expiring contract plus his tabs at Wendys, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway etc. and Anthony Randolph (going to the Wolves for a first round pick, which would in turn, be sent to the Nuggets) for Carmelo Anthony.  Now I know he wants out but if I am Denver, why the hell should I even consider that?  That trade is garbage.  Denver needs to get something back in return or they hold on to him and hope money ultimately will win out (and it usually does) and he will stay.  Reportedly, the Knicks are unwilling to deal two of these three players to get Anthony; Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.  Read those names again and tell me it doesn’t make you want to punch something knowing that not giving up two of three, not all three but two of three, is holding this up.  It makes me sick.  I have news for you Knicks fans, Carmelo plays the same position as Chandler and Galo.  Chandler is a restricted free agent this summer and Galo the next.  If they sign Melo, Chandler is gone and Galo is gone too because the Knicks envision forming there own trio involving Chris Paul or Deron Williams in the summer of 2012.  So why are they so reluctant to trade Chandler and the Retarded Chicken? As much as I like Landry Fields (my favorite Knick right now), even he is replaceable.  Ama’re needs help.  D’Antoni is running him into the ground right now and the results (a .500 team) isn’t good enough to justify the youth movement and the Knicks standing pat.  Now I know the trade deadline is 2 weeks away and deals have a tendency to get done at the last minute, but this deal needs to happen to give the Knicks energy for the rest of the season and to keep the dream of their own mega trio in tact.

If the Knicks fail to get a top 10 player who genuinely wants to be there (unlike The Akron Scammer), heads should roll in the Knicks organization.  Now Anthony will not help the Knicks most glaring weakness, defense, but he rebounds very well for a small forward and is money in the fourth quarter.  The Knicks will have there closer and Ama’re will be free to roam the high post and drive to the basket knowing he won’t be triple-teamed anymore.  He will be fresher at the end of games and in the playoffs. This doesn’t make them a serous threat for a title now, but it puts them in place to be and it would scare the shit out of anyone who would play them in the first round.

I have never been a fan of James Dolan, but if he feels he needs to get involved to make this happen, he should.  The Knicks need to get this deal done because I have a strange feeling that if Melo isn’t traded here, he isn’t going to be here at all and that would be a disaster.  The Knicks have a chance to build something great for the next five years that will put them and the Miami Heat battling for titles (the Celtics and Lakers will both be too old.  Same with the Spurs).  You can find role players through the draft and via free agency to compliment stars but make no mistake, the stars need to be in place and if its the Knicks are unwilling to part with Danilo Gallinari in addition to Wislon Chandler, well then Donnie Walsh has really lost his mind and the ultimate disaster will happen when Isiah Thomas returns to the front office (just the thought gives me a migraine).  As a Knicks fan, I am waiting anxiously as the trade deadline approaches hoping and praying this gets done because if not, it will set the franchise back another decade.

By Jesse Schneiderman

We all love the ESPN trade machine; at least I know I do. As a lifelong Knicks fan, all I’ve thought about since the Akron Scammer took his talents to South Beach (and perhaps due to karma, lost to the Clippers), are potential trades to continue to improve my favorite team. Assuming the Carmelo mega-deal goes down and the “Nyets” become the “Bizarro-Should’ve-Been-The-2004-Pistons,” New York can stand to make a few moves to better themselves and prepare for a playoff run, which will likely start with the Bulls or the Celtics unless the Knicks can crack the top five. For this reason (and my own obsessions), I’ve come up with the following masterpiece, along with reasons why it should and shouldn’t happen:

Knicks Receive: Jason Thompson (C), Omri Casspi (SF), Charlotte’s 2011 1st round pick (top 10 protected)

Charlotte Receive: Danilo Gallinari (SF), Bill Walker (SG), Anthony Randolph (PF/C)

Sacramento Receive: Gerald Wallace (SF), Andy Rautins (Towel Waving White Guy, er, PG)

Why it Should Happen:

The Knicks need a center. They have made that abundantly clear. Ronny Turiaf is an all-around good guy who has played really well recently, but New York needs a bigger, stronger center to help take the burden off of both Turiaf and Amar’e. Ronny plays less than 20 minutes a game, because he lacks offensive prowess. With Thompson, they get that center, while Omri gives them solid help off the bench, as well as some defense (gasp!), and an Israeli to teach Rabbi Stoudemire some Hebrew. With Wilson Chandler’s impending Restricted Free Agent status, they’re going to need to save money somewhere, so cutting ties with Gallo and getting cheap help through Thompson and Omri is a definite plus. Also, they get a 1st rounder for more cheap help down the line.

Meanwhile, Charlotte receives the cap relief Michael Jordan so desperately craves (or at least he says he does in between holes), a young, potential star in Gallinari, an athletic swingman in Bill Walker, and the undying upside of Anthony Randolph. With this deal, the Bobcats can trot out D.J. Augustine, Walker, Stephen Jackson, Gallo, and Tyrus Thomas if they want a small-ball shooting lineup, or bring Walker off the bench and start Kwame Brown/Nazr Mohammed/Randolph (gulp) if they want a more traditional starting five. Sacramento also benefits here, getting the veteran leader that they desperately need in Gerald Wallace. He also helps to solidify Sacramento’s status as “The Most Hood Team in the NBA” by teaming with Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins, which makes the addition of Andy Rautins to the deal even more comical (in the interest of full disclosure; that’s the only reason he’s in the trade). In Andy’s defense, he does have a fundamental understanding of the 2-3 zone, so that’s something.

Why it Shouldn’t Happen:

Until the Carmelo Anthony deal is done, the Knicks aren’t doing anything. That is a massive hold-up to any deal like this one. Along with that, Charlotte may not be looking to make any moves because they’re finally playing better with Paul Silas at the helm, despite needing to save cash. Sacramento should pull the trigger, seeing as they could use an elder statesman. They’re not playing Thompson or Casspi enough to justify not trading them, and they’re lineup gets a giant upgrade with this deal. With this trade, opponents face a starting five of Beno Udrih, Tyreke Evans, Wallace, Demarcus Cousins, and Samuel Dalembert. Not good by any means, but not bad. Despite that, introducing Cousins and Evans to the potential of more drama in the locker room is something that more than likely scares Geoff Petrie away from making a deal like this.

This trade would benefit all teams involved, however I can’t see it happening quite yet, at least while the Carmelo sweepstakes is still afoot. Hopefully the guys from the Dirty Jerz pull the trigger soon so the Knicks are free to look elsewhere.

By Jesse Schneiderman

With the 39th pick in the NBA draft, the New York Knicks select…. Landry Fields, University of Stanford.” I groaned. The Knicks needed a scoring guard, someone who could help Amare score and keep the team afloat, but they passed on Lance Stephenson, Willie Warren, and DaSean Butler. They really could’ve used a big man, yet didn’t take Solomon Alabi, a true man in the middle with defensive potential, who could help on the boards. New York seriously is going to struggle on the defensive end, so why not take a stopper like Devin Ebanks? I thought all of these things, then a thought crossed my mind that made me shiver: I missed ‘Zeke. Isaiah was fantastic in the draft. He specialized with these late picks where he found gems such as, Wilson Chandler, David Lee, Nate Robinson, and Trevor Ariza. He would’ve killed it here.

Seven months later, sign me up for the church of Donnie (or synagogue, I take him as the Conservative type). The Landry Fields pick is the best in years by anyone in the NBA draft, not just the Knicks. The man whose presence was absent in the 64-man draft guide given to attendees on the night of the draft every year has given the Knicks solid play at the 2-guard and everything they needed.

Scoring? He puts in over 10 points a game and makes over 35% of his threes, helping  stretch the floor and give the Knicks the staple of their offense – their three point prowess. They’re second in the league in attempts per game and in the top ten in three point percentage.

While “Strawberry” Fields could never play center (he stands around 6’7), he provides some much needed “big man” stats. He grabs 7.4 rebounds a game, tying him with Marc Gasol, and putting him ahead of the likes of Brook Lopez, David West, Samuel Dalembert, and He Who Shall Not Be Named But Took His Talents To South Beach. Fields plays fewer minutes than all of them. No guard ranks higher than him on the rebounding list, and the only other one in the top 40 is Dwayne Wade. Safe to say his rebounding has eased the burden created by the lack of having a true center on the roster.

The Knicks are not known for their defense, we all know that, but Fields has quietly become a fantastic defender, averaging over a steal a game. He constantly matches up against quicker shooting guards but, due to his off-the-charts basketball IQ, he still harasses them. Landry guards like that old guy in a pick up game. He annoys opposing guards, hand-checks, gets in the way, and at the end of the day is a super-effective defensive player.

Throw all these together, along with number 6’s team-leading plus/minus per minute numbers (his is at .117, the next closest are Wilson Chandler with .075 and Amare with .051), and Rabbi Walsh hit a home run. With more picks like this one, and the season the Knicks are having, they’ll be competitive for years to come. And if Fields falls out of favor with coaches, fans, or other players, Denver does like him a whole lot (you didn’t think I’d get away without mentioning ‘Melo once, did you?).

By Phil Bausk

Game 4 of the 2003-2004 NBA Playoffs. That was the last time there was a big event at Madison Square Garden that didn’t involve the New York Rangers, Big East basketball, or Dave Matthews (Frankly, other concerts don’t count as a big event. You know it’s a big event when 3 out of every 4 people on Facebook have a status about it and DMB takes the cake on that one).

Last night’s game between the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics was one of the best sporting events I have ever attended in my young life. MSG was rocking, and there was a great scene during the pregame introductions where fans held orange glow-in-the-dark thundersticks, illuminating the Garden, and creating a tremendous atmosphere. The Celtics won this thriller on a game-winning, mid-range jumper off the hands of Paul “The Truth” Pierce. The Knicks nearly won it at the buzzer, as Ama’re Stoudemire hit a 3-pointer, but it was just milliseconds after time had run out.  The crowd was excited, the players were excited, but more importantly, the media was excited.

This was the sort of game that basketball in New York needed. The Knicks needed to be tested by one of the best teams in the league. The country needed to see how the Knicks would react in the spotlight. But what New York basketball really needed was  a reason for Knicks fans to begin to loathe the Celtics, other then the obvious Boston-New York dynamic (There were a few “Boston Sucks” chants dispersed amongst the crowd. Remember when that used to be true? For the past decade, Boston has an upper hand on this Boston-NY rivalry, but that’s for a separate article).

The Knicks faithful got their catalyst to hate the Celtics, when Pierce spent all week denying that the Celtics and the Knicks were a legitimate rivalry. He even said that the Knicks and Celts will probably become a rivalry when he is out of the league. Pierce is known to be brash when it comes to making public statements, and the platform of a Knicks-Celts rivalry probably made him salivate. He knew he could go a few days refuting the idea of a rivalry, only to come to the Garden and play his heart out, hit the game-winning shot, and then bow to the crowd at center court, infuriating the entire borough of Manhattan.

It was easy to tell from the start that this game meant a lot to both teams. While it meant more to the Knicks, both morally and in the standings, the Celtics refused to be beaten by a team they didn’t see as their equal. Pierce, who may be the most arrogant athlete in Boston sports history, appeared to play his heart out. He continually drove to the hoop, demanded the ball in crunch time, and ultimately won a game for the C’s that they maybe shouldn’t have won.

This is what I, as well as every other Celtics fan, love about “The Truth.” He gives us 110%. There are few athletes in sports who have as much talent as Pierce, and go out and compete like he does (Luckily there are 3 more of them are on the Celtics in Allen, Garnett, and Rondo). He may run his mouth a couple times a year, but Pierce either backs it up, or will try his best to do so.

For over 900 games, Pierce has played his heart out for a wide-range of Celtic teams. He and Antoine Walker (who should ask Pierce for a place to stay) helped carry a below average Celtics team to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002. This was just 18 months removed from the famous stabbing incident, in which Pierce was stabbed 11 times outside of a Boston nightclub (I’d love to see the Akron Scammer come back  from that).

After that team fell apart, Pierce still played hard for a Celtics franchise that wanted to trade him. In classic Pierce fashion, he expressed his displeasure through the media, but continued to try and win games for the C’s. This situation reached a tipping point when Pierce sat out most of the 2006-2007 season due to “significant injuries.” This was a rare occurrence in his career in which Pierce let his emotions get the best of him and let it effect his play on the court. It was Pierce’s frustration with Danny Ainge and management that led to the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

While last night’s game was just another notch on Pierce’s belt, it proved once again that when you need a last second shot, there are few guys in the league you would rather go to than “The Truth.”

Doesn’t this quote from Pierce give you all the confidence in the world in him?

“I love these type of environments,” Pierce said. “It’s rare when you get these type of environments in the regular season. There’s only so many games you circle on the schedule, where you say, ‘Hey, this is going to be a playoff-type atmosphere, a playoff-type game.’

On the other side of the ball, the Knicks have to be happy with their efforts. While they didn’t come out on top, they have earned the respect of the Celtics, and with another strong showing against the Miami Heat on Friday, they can cement themselves as a legitimate playoff team. While they aren’t at contender level yet, and have a lot of work to do to get there, this team that GM Donnie Walsh has put together has pumped life, not only back into the Garden, but into the streets of New York.

Orange and blue are now making their way back into the wardrobe of New Yorkers. There are Stoudemire, Gallinari, and Felton jerseys being worn around the city, as opposed to seeing old school Patrick Ewing and John Starks throwbacks. The Knicks are like that girl in high school who wasn’t all that attractive back in the day, but when you have your mini reunions after college, you start to see that she wasn’t that bad looking in the first place. All she needed was some time away from home, better looking guys in college to make herself want to appear more attractive, and four years of becoming a “seasoned veteran.”

I plan on attending more Knicks games this season (and seeing Blake Griffin poop on another New York Knick’s head), and hope that the Garden can maintain this level of enthusiasm. While it may take a few more games like last night, things are definitely looking up for basketball in New York.

As for Pierce, it’s a shame he doesn’t get as much credit as deserves for the career he has put together so far. If he plays long enough, which I doubt, he can become the all-time leading scorer for the Celtics. He WILL pass Larry Bird on that list, and while he will never be compared to Bird or other past C’s, he has cemented a spot in the Pantheon of great Boston Celtics. Whether you like him or not, there’s not denying that Paul Pierce is nothing but “The Truth.”

By Jesse Schneiderman

After knocking off Mighty ‘Melo and the Denver Nuggets earlier this week, the Knicks face their two biggest tests of the young season, taking on the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat at the World’s Most Famous Arena on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Let’s be frank: They’ll probably lose. While the Knicks actually match up quite well with Boston’s big three (Ray Allen may kill Landry Fields if he’s making shots, but Wilson Chandler and Amare can handle Paul Pierce and KG, hopefully), the other parts of the lineup can give them problems. Miami is a whole different animal. Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh could easily kill the Knicks like they’ve been doing to the rest of the league recently; the difference is the Knicks have the advantage at nearly every other part of the lineup. How will they fare in the two matchups? Let’s take a closer look.

How the Knicks will beat Boston:

New York actually matches up fairly well with Boston’s big three. If Landry Fields can hold down the fort against Ray Allen, and Wilson Chandler can use his overall lankiness to his advantage against Paul Pierce, they should be contained. The way “The Apostrophe” has been playing recently, he shouldn’t have any issues with Kevin Garnett (although he may get called a “cancer”), stifling the big three almost entirely. If the Knicks can stretch the floor with Danillo Gallinari, Chandler, the artist formally known as Shawne Williams, and the rest of their squad, they’ll give the Celtics a run for their money. The key guy here is Gallinari. If the big Italian is stroking it like he does on his best days, Boston may be in a load of trouble.

How Boston will beat the Knicks:

In two words: everyone else. If you haven’t noticed, I am yet to mention some guy named Rajon Rondo? He’s the biggest concern for New York. If he can get to the basket on Raymond Felton, which I anticipate he will do easily, it’ll force Amare or Turiaf to rotate over, leaving the big men open under the basket. If they’re not open inside, expect Rondo to look for Jesus Shuttlesworth and the prettiest shot in the history of the league to punish the Knicks.

What will happen:

The Knicks will probably lose, but in a much closer game than you would think. Experience wins out as Boston has been playing games like this for the last three seasons, compared to the Knicks doing so for only the last two months.

How the Knicks beat Miami:

A little bit of luck, for starters. The Knicks best matchups feature their co-captains, Stoudamire and Felton. The “1” spot on the floor has been an Achilles Heel for the Heat defensively all season long, so if Raymond Felton goes off, the Knicks could take this one. You can bet that Amare will have a chip on his shoulder, considering that the all mighty Dwayne Wade (along with LBJ) chose to play with Chris Bosh over him, so I expect him to go off. Once again, their best bet is stretching the floor with “The Rooster” & Co., while relying on the crowd to rattle James a bit. Granted, he didn’t flinch in his version of “Homecoming” (with no Rick Reilly present, thankfully), so it’s improbable that the New Yorker faithful will shake him. To paraphrase Lebron’s favorite question: “What should [the Knicks] do?” Well, Wilson Chandler needs to frustrate James defensively and Landry Fields needs to hold D-Wade to less than 30 points. Personally, I’m not at all concerned about Bosh. If Amare and Felton put the team on their shoulders and get some defense/luck to boot, the Knicks can win this game.

How Miami beats the Knicks:

If Miami’s All-World Swingmen play like, well, All-World Swingmen, the Knicks are in more trouble than Eddy Curry at a Sizzler. Knicks’ fans can clearly envision Wade beating Landry Fields off the dribble on every possession, forcing the defense out of whack with rotations and opening up the middle for Bosh and Center on a veteran’s minimum contract A, B, or C. If Wade can’t do it, expect Lebron to take over in typical Lebron fashion.  Either way, the Knicks will struggle with the Heat if their defense doesn’t prevail.

What will Happen?

The Knicks can’t run and gun with Miami, so they need to shut down the big guns defensively. I can’t envision this happening, as they haven’t shut anybody down all season. I expect big games out of Amare and Ray Felton, but next to nothing from everyone else. The Heat will most likely take this one.

If the Knicks make it through this two game stretch 1-1, they’ll be ecstatic, and so will I. I wouldn’t expect it though. This is the first true test for New York since being deemed a “good team,” and we’ll have to wait and see how they handle it. If they fail, don’t panic. Remember, there’s a whole three quarters of the season remaining and after all, this is only a test.

By Jesse Schneiderman

My earliest memory of the New York Knicks is Game 7 of the 1994-95 Eastern Conference Finals. I sat there, nine years old, in my blue Patrick Ewing jersey and matching shorts, as my hero drove to the hoop and missed the same finger roll he had made thousands of times before. The game was over. That was my indoctrination into this remarkably dedicated fan base.

For the next fifteen years, I watched as we trotted out lineups featuring Jerome James, Malik Rose, Mike Sweetney, Chris Wilcox, and Renaldo Balkman. I sat through press conferences introducing “the future of the Knicks;” first relying on a tandem of speedy guards named Marbury and Francis, then mortgaging the future (and multiple draft picks) on a fat, slow, center with a heart problem (both literally and figuratively), who couldn’t rebound. We watched in horror this year on July 7th, as our reason for sticking around for the last two years seemingly vanished, taking his heart-breaking talents to South Beach. Suffice it to say, we had been defeated. So much so that I celebrated after the Utah Jazz made their selection in this year’s NBA draft; rejoicing as the last remaining relic from the disastrous Stephon Marbury debacle was selected. I wasn’t alone.

When the Knickerbockers landed Amare Stoudemire and he proclaimed “the Knicks are back,” we immediately scoffed. We had heard this one before. The Knicks were back when ‘Zeke (Isaiah Thomas) unveiled Marbury and Lenny Wilkins; the three point guards and their million dollar smiles were supposed to “take over the East.” Unsurprisingly, they didn’t. Two years later, the World’s Most Famous Arena was disillusioned with failure and I was wearing my “Isiah Thomas ruined my favorite team and all I got was this stupid 6 year/$72 million contract” t-shirt to games (and getting sympathetic high-fives from my tortured brethren). Then the Knicks started this season, their season of redemption, at 3-8. Fans were clamoring for Coach Mike D’Antoni’s head on a platter, justifiably. “We’ve been told to wait two years for this?!” was the collective consciousness. After changing his vaunted offense around so that plays can develop on the wings, capitalizing on the outstanding three-point shooting this club boasts, D’Antoni’s squad won a game. Then a few more. Now we are here, with the Knicks sitting 16-9 as the darlings of the NBA. Will this continue? Should Donnie Walsh deal for Carmelo Anthony? If not, what’s next? These are the questions hanging over the head of every New York basketball fan nowadays. Let’s address them one at a time.

The Knicks probably won’t be able to keep this up, at least with the team as it stands right now. Landry “Number 65 in your playbooks, number 1 in your hearts” Fields is an actual contender for rookie of the year (or at least he would be without Blake Griffin “Mozgov-ing” the entire league), he has to regress a little bit as the season goes on. The guy we were most excited about acquiring for our beloved David Lee was Anthony Randolph, but he has been relegated to ball-boy duty and it looks like he’ll be traded, while the most productive guy from the deal (Roney Turiaf) has knee problems. In addition, Amare can’t score 30 every night. Something needs to be done to keep this up.

Which brings us here; Should the Knicks still trade for Carmelo given this torrid start? It’s too soon to tell. If they keep up this pace, then maybe not. If they regress a bit, as I’m predicting, then of course they should. Any time you can add a perennial All-Star like ‘Melo you need to do it, but with one caveat as they need to find a shooter. If the deal goes down as predicted (‘Melo to Knicks with Big Fat Eddy Curry, Danillo Gallinari, and either Wilson Chandler or Landry Fields going to Denver, plus a draft pick acquired for presumably dealing Anthony Randolph), then the ‘bockers will be without shooters. Luckily, the answer to that question is on the roster, albeit not the active one, in Kelenna Azubuike. When the sharpshooting third piece of the David Lee deal gets healthy, the Knicks will have a legitimate shooter to replace Gallinari. That way they can still spread the floor, play the high-low post with Anthony and Stoudemire, and leave room for potential all-star point guard Raymond Felton to keep his pick-and-roll hand strong.

The other option, of course, is to wait until free agency. Assuming there will be no lockout (which is a pretty big assumption), the Knicks will almost certainly land Carmelo in the open market. They could use Eddy Curry’s contract to try and acquire a pair of players from the Memphis Grizzlies, O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol. Mayo is unhappy and the Grizzlies are openly trying to trade him, and Gasol is a restricted free agent at the end of the year. The Knicks will just need to Denver to sign-and-trade ‘Melo if they don’t have the cap space. Who says no to the following deal?

o       New York acquires O.J. Mayo and Marc Gasol.

o       Houston acquires Anthony Randolph, Hasheem Thabeet, and Memphis’s 2012 2nd round pick.

o       Memphis acquires Landry Fields, Patrick Patterson, Eddy Curry’s expiring deal, and the Rockets 2010 1st round pick

This would give the Knicks some more shooting and a solid perimeter defender in Mayo, and an intelligent big man to pair with Stoudamire in the post. Houston gets Randolph and, for the small price of Patrick Patterson, gets a former number 2 overall pick plus a second rounder. Memphis saves money and gets two young stars plus a potential lottery pick. It makes perfect sense.

The bottom line is this: the New York Knicks are relevant again. After defeating the Denver Nuggets yesterday, Knicks’ fans can finally hold their heads high. What the Knickerbockers don’t need right now is a panic move. Don’t sell the farm for a backup point guard or a big body, that’s what characterized the ‘Zeke era and got us into trouble in the first place. For Knicks’ fans right now only one thing matters, something that hasn’t been the case for the better part of a decade: we’re winning. We have that. The Garden is rocking again, the city is buzzing about the potential of the playoffs, and the team is gelling perfectly. While Donnie Walsh sits in his ivory tower trying to figure out his next move and D’Antoni’s boys continue to reel off 130-125 wins, at least we’re relevant. That’s more than we’re used to.