Friday, April 25, 2014

2 comments William Rhoden Thinks Trading Carmelo Anthony for Kobe Bryant Would Bring the Knicks an NBA Title

The title there seems to about sum it all up pretty effectively. In fact, I probably don't even need to write anything else. William Rhoden thinks if the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony for Kobe Bryant, with no further corresponding moves, then it would bring the Knicks an NBA Championship. That's it. I say good day.






Whoops, I forgot to link the column.




You know, I think I should write more (I bet pretty much everyone stopped reading by now...if so, the lesson is to not tempt your audience into not reading anymore) about this idea because Rhoden's reasoning desperately must be explained. Ideas like this don't just come along everyday.

The Knicks completed another disappointing season Wednesday night, beating the playoff-bound Toronto Raptors before a Madison Square Garden crowd that snacked on complimentary boxes of popcorn — a thank you from the organization to fans for enduring a 41st consecutive season without a championship.

Maybe Dan Shaughnessy can help the Knicks create a curse related to why the team can't win an NBA title so that he can in turn write a book about the curse in order to make money. This would lead to the Knicks breaking the curse, Dan making money, and everybody winning.

In the next few days, Jackson is expected to relieve Mike Woodson of his job as the Knicks’ coach, thus beginning what has become the most enjoyable time of year for Knicks fans: the season of blame and speculation.

I love that the Knicks are located in the media capital of the United States so every failure of the Knicks is treated as if other NBA teams don't have the same problems and panic-stricken fans that the Knicks have. Nope, I'm sure that's just the Knicks fans who enjoy a season of blame and speculation.

While fans in several other cities can anticipate deep playoff runs,

Depending on your definition of a "deep playoff run" then this means four teams can anticipate this happening while the rest of the NBA teams can speculate and blame all they want. Stop whining like the Knicks are in the minority in terms of making a deep playoff run this year.

Knicks fans entertain themselves with drama and debate: Who should be fired? Who should be traded? Who are the hot names to bring in?

Every fan base does this. I recognize this goes against the entitled attitude of some Knicks fans, that their struggles are not shared with other NBA teams, but every fan base does this. If you don't believe me, then check out Bleacher Report's team NBA pages. It's like an orgy of fan rosterbation.

There is something mystifying about a professional basketball team located in the world’s greatest city that for four decades has been unable to assemble a team capable of winning an N.B.A. championship.

Considering only 13 NBA teams have won an NBA title in the last four decades, I don't think it's that mystifying for me. It's not like every NBA team except the Knicks has won an NBA title in the last four decades.

As a coach, Jackson had two great players on nearly all of those championships teams: Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Chicago Bulls, and Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jackson also had quite a few really good role players like Horace Grant, Toni Kukoc, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, B.J. Armstrong, John Paxson, and Rick Fox. But hey, all you need is a great player or two and the NBA title is yours, right?

Now, in his first attempt to be a front-office executive, Jackson will need at least one player with an indomitable will to win, one capable of transforming the culture of an organization and a fan base that has become too accustomed to mediocrity and frustration.

Because trading for a 36 year old (which is Kobe's age at the beginning of next season) who is coming off a major injury and has a huge contract isn't setting the Knicks up for mediocrity and frustration. In fact, trading for Kobe Bryant would be a typical Knicks move. If Rhoden thinks it is mystifying that the Knicks haven't won a title in four decades, then he needs to look no further than this trade suggestion to understand as to why that may be. Taking on veterans with huge contracts or giving veterans huge contracts doesn't necessarily lead to an NBA title.

That player would be Bryant.

Jackson needs to talk Bryant into somehow joining him in New York for one last great mission in both of their careers: setting the table for the Knicks to win another championship.

Oh, I didn't know Kobe would be "setting the table" for another championship ("another" championship?...but it's been four decades and Rhoden is throwing "another" around like the Knicks have won a championship since the Beatles broke up) and not actually playing for the Knicks and leading them to a championship. That's totally different and much more vague. 

One way that can happen is for the Knicks to work out the trade of all trades — Bryant for Carmelo Anthony.

I'm not a big Carmelo fan, but Kobe Bryant is old and expensive. Carmelo will just be expensive. I wouldn't make this trade if I were the Knicks. 

There are all sorts of obstacles to this fantasy’s becoming a reality:

1. It's a bad idea. 

2. Carmelo Anthony is a free agent and you can't trade a free agent. So he would have to sign with the Knicks and then be open to being traded to the Lakers. It could happen I guess. 

3. Kobe would have to want to play for the Knicks. Why would he want to do that again?

I do enjoy how William Rhoden admits his idea that totally makes sense is a complete fantasy due to the unrealistic nature of his idea. 

the no-trade clause that Bryant has, the opt-out clause that will soon make Anthony a free agent, the huge amount of money that both players make, and the N.B.A.’s intricate salary-cap rules.

But otherwise, this is just a brilliant fucking idea on paper. The Knicks get older, get more expensive AND add a player to win in the short-term when the team isn't built to win in the short-term. 

I may be the only person on the planet who believes such a trade would be a key step toward bringing the Knicks a championship.

Perhaps that should tell William Rhoden something. Alas, it only reinforces his impression this trade must happen.

Knicks fans point out — emotionally, by the way — that Bryant is 35 and has a ton of N.B.A. mileage on him, and that he tore his Achilles’ tendon in 2013 and fractured his knee this season. His body has taken a beating, and Jackson would be gambling on Bryant’s recuperative powers.

These are all very, very, very, very, very legitimate concerns by the way. These aren't opinions on why a trade for Bryant would not be in the best interests of the Knicks, but are facts about why trading for Kobe Bryant seems like a bad, bad, bad idea. Kobe is old, expensive, and coming off a major injury. It's not that Kobe can't compete anymore, it's that why would the Knicks gamble on this happening? 

But Bryant’s will, his competitive spirit and his commitment to winning are like new, and they are what the Knicks need most.

Oh, well I completely disregarded Kobe's will and competitive spirit. Not to mention, his commitment to winning explains perfectly why he would be willing to go to an NBA team that hasn't won an NBA title since 1970. But back to that will and competitive spirit. That spirit can make Kobe's teammates around him better though, right? Kobe can win a title with the Knicks current roster? 

For the next two seasons at least (Bryant is signed through the summer of 2016), they need him to point the way. And that, he can still do.

Leadership by verbal abuse. The perfect recipe to turn the Knicks around. I also love the idea Bryant will "point the way." Pointing the way isn't going to make the teammates around him better. I'm sure Kobe "pointing the way" to J.R. Smith will encourage him to stop hoisting up three-point shots with no regard for moving the ball around. 

In Anthony, the Lakers would get a supreme building block. That organization has good karma, as Jackson might say,

Then why not keep the building block in New York? Maybe Anthony isn't as good at "pointing the way" as Kobe might be. After all, nothing says "smart organizational decision" like bringing in an aging shooting guard coming off major surgery who is going to make $48 million over the next two years. If that organization can trade "a supreme building block" w hen acquiring this aging shooting guard then that's all the more better.

Bryant admires Jackson, and Jackson is probably one of the few people capable of showing Bryant a vision of accomplishing something that even Jordan could not — reviving a second N.B.A. team.

Now were are getting to the "doesn't everyone want to play in New York?" section of the column which assumes every pro athlete wants to play in New York. Why wouldn't they? It's New York! It's better than anywhere else according to people who live in New York. 

If nothing else, Bryant might set the stage for a Kevin Durant era in New York,

Why would Kevin Durant want to play with Kobe Bryant again? Durant, if he leaves Oklahoma City, would be leaving a ball-hogging shooter. Why would he want to play in New York with an aging ball-hogging shooter? Also, couldn't the Knicks sign Durant without Kobe being on the roster? I think the Knicks could get Durant without Kobe around. After all, every NBA player wants to play in New York, right?

If Knicks fans need proof of how players can transform an organization, they need look no further than the Brooklyn Nets.

It seems this column is really about competing with the Nets. The Nets signed aging superstars so clearly that's what the Knicks should do as well. 

The Nets added two aging stars from the Boston Celtics — Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett — and saw a cultural shift slowly take place.

It also helped the Nets had Deron Williams and Joe Johnson on the roster, as well as had Shaun Livingston coming off the bench. But yeah, the situations are totally comparable. Pierce and Garnett had no major injuries they were recovering from, while Kobe is coming off major knee surgery and he will be playing with guys nowhere close to having the talent of Johnson and Williams. 

“Guys like that don’t accept teammates playing losing basketball or not taking things seriously,” said the Nets’ general manager, Billy King.

But Kobe can't make his teammates play basketball better by raising their skill level. He can't make them into something they are not.

So much time has passed since the Knicks last won a title that just about everyone associated with the team has forgotten what a championship looks like. Instead, the desire to win has been replaced by the collective satisfaction of sending coaches, players and executives to the gallows.

Kobe could bring a winning mentality to the team, but that winning mentality only can take a team so far. A winning mentality can't compensate for a lack of talent or bad coaching. 

James L. Dolan, the Knicks’ owner, encourages all this misdirected emotion through frenzies of misguided moves.

It's weird that Rhoden is saying this because I think trading Carmelo Anthony for Kobe Bryant would be a misguided move. 

Jackson’s stature is too great to be easily diminished by Dolan, but he needs a player of similar stature to push against the inertia that has built up over more than four decades.

Enter Bryant.

Unfortunately inertia also seems to be pushing Kobe more towards retirement and away from being the franchise player that William Rhoden believes him to be. 

In the end, the odds of this happening are tiny, or infinitesimal.

Probably because it's a bad idea and not in the long-term interests of the Knicks. Any player they can get in free agency can probably be had without Kobe Bryant on the roster. 

But as things stand now, those are about the same odds of the Knicks winning an N.B.A. championship anytime soon.

Given a choice, I’d bet on Bryant.

I wouldn't make this bet at all. If the Knicks traded for Kobe then they would have to make 2-3 other moves, because getting rid of Anthony to sign an aging, hobbled Kobe Bryant sounds like a terrible, terrible idea to me. 


Anonymous said...

The knicks had a bad season for sure but it's not like they were horrible. They missed the playoffs by one game ffs. There are several teams in the NBA that had worse seasons (Milwaukee, Orlando, Philly, Utah, etc). Since none of those franchises are located in the "worlds greatest city" then it doesn't really matter though.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, why wouldn't Kobe want to play in New York? He'll turn the team around using his magic energy to make J.R. Smith stop taking 3 pt shots and making the Knicks roster better. Plus, he's old and expensive. Why would the Knicks want a star in his prime over Kobe?

I know not all Knicks fans think this way, but Rhoden does seem to have the "New York problems are the worst" attitude. Most NBA teams who won't make the playoffs rosterbate and gnash their teeth over the team's failure.