Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
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The New York Knicks front office is currently in a frenzy. They are constantly looking for ways to sweeten their offer for Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony while praying that the Nuggets decide not to accept the New Jersey Nets impressive offer for Melo. Recently, word has gotten out that the Knicks, who are lacking in drat picks this season and are unable to trade their 2012 first round pick due to league rules that prevent trading your first overall pick in back-to-back drafts, are looking to deal forward Anthony Randolph in exchange for another teams first round pick.
More on Anthony Randolph’s situation with the New York Knicks after the break…
There are conflicting reports regarding who initiated the talks. Some have said that Randolph asked for a trade after receiving a disappointing amount of playing time and others believe the Knicks saw Randolph as a trade chip themselves rather than having his request to drive them to a move. Either way, the way ESPN’s Chris Broussard is talking about the situation, it seems as if the Knicks are hell bent on trading Randolph to get that first round pick back and they want to do it fast so they can turn around and flip that first round pick to Denver as part of their package for Carmelo.
While there is no denying that Carmelo is a great player, his game leaves a lot to be desired and his holes make meeting Denver’s ridiculously high demands for him a questionable decision for a franchise that is already in the playoff picture. This also brings about the question of whether or not a player like Anthony is really more valuable than some of the assets New York is overly willing to give up for him. Anthony is a fan favorite, a high volume scorer and a big star, but is that something that the Knicks desperately need? Was signing Amare Stoudemire, who is clearly a number one option and a dominant scorer, to a $100 million contract as well as point guard Raymond Felton to run the show not enough star power?
Its hard to argue that adding a player like Anthony would hurt a team, but to say that the Knicks are desperate for his services would also be incorrect. The Knicks have a stud in the middle to anchor their offense and they have a number of key role players that have had success by doing the little things to complement Amare’s all-around production. Rookie Landry Fields has emerged as one of the best “glue guys” in the league because of his extremely savvy play, Wilson Chandler has turned himself into a nice little offensive gunner that can stroke from the outside, attack the basket and rebound a bit, and Shawne Williams has picked up the discernible skill of hitting open three-pointers, a necessity for an offensive like Mike D’Antoni’s.
Anthony Randolph is another one of those players. He has the skillset to be a beautiful asset to this Knicks team. The only reason Randolph hasn’t surfaced as such is because of a lack of playing time. For whatever reason, D’Antoni has refused to give Randolph time even though his system, in theory, is the best fit for a young, athletic forward like Randolph to thrive in. Randolph has only played in three games in the past two months playing no more than five minutes in each game, all of which were decided by more than 10 points. Minimal amounts of garbage minutes are not what a player of Randolph’s caliber deserves. Though his attitude and drive have been questioned before, there is no denying his skill but the Knicks have failed to give him a chance to showcase them.
I felt that Randolph was getting the shaft with his minutes last season as Golden State Warriors head coach Don Nelson rarely put him in. Though he did miss sometime with an injury, Randolph only played in 33 games last season and averaged just 23 minutes per contest. But as it turns out, Randolph got a lot more time last season than he has gotten this year, something I didn’t see coming. Perhaps its the way Randolph caries himself in practice or what his attitude is in the lockerroom, or something else that we don’t get to see that has turned D’Antoni off to Randolph but I have to believe he hasn’t done something so bad that it has kept him out of 25 of New York’s 39 games in favor of Timofey Mozgov or Ronny Turiaf.
Randolph will likely be on a new team by February’s trade deadline. Broussard mentions the Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves as possible landing spots. Whatever team is able to acquire him will be pleasantly surprised, so long as Randolph gets the chance to play. He has the ability to post-up, finish at the basket and has even hit the occasional mid-range jumper. Defensively, he has a ton of room to grow when it comes to understanding the game of basketball and his decision making but he’s athletic and shot blocking is one of the few things those young, unexperienced defenders normally bring to the table.
The T’Wolves would have quite the combination of young forwards with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Randolph if they were the winner in the Ant-Rand sweepstakes. The Pacers, who, though its not common knowledge, play at one of the fastest paces in the NBA, would do well to add such a athletic transition weapon like Randolph. And the Blazers could always use another big man around in case of injury and Randolph would likely be their most productive back-up big man.
Whichever team ends up buying Randolph from the Knicks at the cost of a draft pick will be in luck. Randolph is a talented young player with a lot of potential to get better. Though attitude issues have been linked with Randolph before, he’s still just 21-years old and giving up on him in order to sweeten a deal that they may not even get a chance to offer is a big mistake for New York.