You know, the Carmelo Anthony deal might ultimately work. He’s got a big name, he can score, and he has people buying those zillion-dollar courtside seats at the Garden.
But the price it took to get ‘Melo keeps getting steeper and steeper.
Anthony Randolph stepped in for Kevin Love and scored 31 points Thursday. OK, sure, it’s the dog days of late March, when teams stop playing defense. And Randolph did this for the Timberwolves. And it was just one game. All true.
But if he turns out to be more than a stiff on the bench, which was his role under coach Mike D’Antoni in New York, then add him to the impressive bodies the Knicks gave up to get ‘Melo in the three-team deal with Denver and Minny.
D’Antoni had no use for Randolph, who came to the Knicks from the Warriors last summer in the sign-and-trade for David Lee. And that in itself was strange, because Randolph appeared to be an ideal D’Antoni player, somebody who could run the floor and score. That’s what he did for the Warriors, where he blossomed in spurts. He had his flaws, of course, but his potential was largely untapped. Instead, Randolph fell quickly out of favor and spent his brief time with the Knicks as trade bait, since it was apparent D’Antoni wasn’t a big fan.
So now he’s in Minny, where he might be one of the few keepers the Wolves have (Randolph, Love, Wesley Johnson and perhaps Mike “Super Cool” Beasley). With Love out probably for s the season to protect a sore groin, Randolph can begin auditioning for next season.
So let’s add up the ‘Melo price: Randolph, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton (yeah, I know the Knicks also got Chauncey Billups). Taken individually, none of those guys are as good as ‘Melo. But they’re doing well collectively in Denver and Randolph, so far, in Minny.
As for ‘Melo … it was his thirst for money that caused the Knicks to pay a steep price. Had he simply waited until this summer to sign, instead of pushing for a trade before the deadline so he could ink the extension now, the Knicks would be a contender by either keeping those players or trading them later for other assets.
Of course, not knowing what the new labor agreement will be, he could have cost himself a few million by waiting. It’s all about priorities, and ‘Melo put getting paid above all else. That’s fine. Just don’t complain if the Knicks can’t provide help in the near future.