Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Fix the Knicks. Can it be done with this roster? If not, do you have a midseason trade in mind for them?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: The Knicks are not the stuff of honey-do lists and home weekend projects. They are a contractor’s annuity, a sort of endless renovation. I haven’t bought into New York as a legit contender since Patrick Ewing perspired in the world’s most overrated sports arena. I’d suggest a Carmelo Anthony trade because of the gap between his real value and his assessment of his value, but I know that’s not happening. So I’d suggest a backcourt fix — too much of the frontcourt already is fossilized — to upgrade from Raymond Felton (they’re stuck with J.R. Smith). Contrary to what many New York media folks think, however, the other 29 teams don’t exist as incubators for personnel to help the Knicks. Shaky management has consequences
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Fix the Knicks? Not without pixie dust. It’s pure fairytale fantasy.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Fix the Knicks? Hmm, I don’t think so. Trades? Sounds great, but New York’s stuck with Amar’e Stoudemire and who else on that roster is going to fetch anything that can put this ship on a championship course? IMO, The Knicks are tied to their contracts until the summer of 2015 when they can reset. I’m sure Kevin Love waits with bated breath.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Better yet, fix the people who keep thinking the Knicks are a serious threat out of the East. Hey, you trade for Andrea Bargnani, you’re on your own. Losing Tyson Chandler is obviously a big hit, and it would be nice if Carmelo Anthony could hit a shot, but guess which team took players other clubs did not want and spun it as getting better. Bargnani, Metta World Peace — this is a roster with few trade chips.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: No and no. Assuming that the “it” in the “getting it done” means reaching the conference finals, the Knicks won’t come close. They’re a dreadful defensive team without Tyson Chandler, and even if he comes back at 100 percent, they don’t have enough guys who can make positive impacts on both ends of the floor or the floor spacing that they had last season. Iman Shumpert is the one guy other teams would covet, but trading him for a band-aid would be shortsighted, because this team isn’t getting past the Heat or Pacers with its current, flawed core.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: It cannot be done with this roster. And no mid-season trade will fix what ails these Knicks. The fix for the Knicks is a much more long-term operation. The salary-cap disaster they are dealing with right now (the expiring $49.7 million in salary owed to Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani doesn’t allow for any seismic moves before the summer of 2014) isn’t as easy to fix as it once was. The new collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have the loopholes it once did. That means the Knicks are basically stuck with trying to make this current roster work. That means Carmelo Antony has to play above and beyond the pale and Mike Woodson and Co. have to locate something that works and allows this team to climb out of their funk and make the playoffs. Ride this season out, get to the summer and then the heavy lifting begins.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: The best way to fix the Knicks is to wait until 2015, when Stoudemire and Chandler and Bargnani all come off the books and you’ve got salary room. And if you really want to be bold, Carmelo’s a free agent then as well. With this current team, I’m not sure what there is you can do to improve the team other than maybe sending some guys to Germany for medical treatment.
Karan Madhok, NBA.com India: This Knicks’ roster was always weird, and with the injury to Tyson Chandler, it seems to have gotten even weirder. The Knicks need an inside presence, and Bargnani, despite his height, isn’t an inside player. The combined efforts of an injured Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, Cole Aldrich, and maybe one free-agent big man signing can be the temporary answer. Being far above the salary cap make them really unflexible when it comes to midseason trades. The Knicks need defensive help and they need it desperately. The in-house solution is to bench Bargnani and move Metta World Peace to the starting five. On offense, New York were at their best last season when they played Carmelo Anthony at the power forward position and surrounded him with shooters. Mike Woodson needs to go back to that system. If it wasn’t broke, why fix it?
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA.com Brasil: I don’t think so. They need to either speed up the pace to make up for that “matador” defense, or switch things up. They definitely need a backup big with a defensive mindset. I can’t think of trades for them, but I could see them shopping Stoudemire and even Bargnani around.