Harris DeckerAs long as you are reading this article immediately after it was posted, this very moment marks 30 days until the NBA’s trading deadline on February 20 at 3 p.m. This year’s trading deadline could set the tone for the way the Knicks rebuild over the next few years. With Carmelo Anthony approaching free agency, Steve Mills will have to decide if trading his superstar makes sense or if Anthony will stick around for the long haul.
Rebuilding the Knicks is not going to be an easy task. They are missing a number of key pieces and are void of early draft picks until 2015. Given the lack of draft picks, the Knicks will have to rely on free agency and smart trades to rebuild. The question remains, is that rebuilding around Anthony or without him?
Trading Anthony would likely yield another superstar-caliber player in return, in addition to draft picks. While I don’t see Blake Griffin being the target, Anthony could bring back a mid-level superstar in addition to the aforementioned draft picks. It’s truly difficult to come up with a player to target, but rest assured if Anthony became available, plenty of teams would be lining up to acquire him. I’d imagine teams with strong point guards would be the first in line.
If Mills decides to hold onto Anthony, there are two scenarios that could play out. The first is that the two sides have had a discussion and Anthony stays, understanding that the Knicks won’t have much flexibility until 2015 when Amar’e Stoudemire’s mega-contract comes off the books. In that scenario, Mills could look to move other pieces in order to slowly build around Anthony, before making a huge push for a guy like Kevin Love or Rajon Rondo.
There is also the nightmare scenario for the Knicks in which Mills has confidence he can re-sign Anthony and then he walks in free agency. In that scenario, the Knicks will have a lot of money to work with in each of the next two off seasons, but will have lost Anthony without any compensation.
In any case, the Knicks are getting very close to having to make a decision about Anthony. If you’ve read this article at a normal pace, the trading deadline is now about 29 days, 23 hours and 56 minutes away. Strap in Knicks fans. We’re in for a fun month.