In light of the upcoming March 15 trade deadline, ESPN New York's Ian Begley and Jared Zwerling argued whether or not the Knicks should field offers for Carmelo Anthony or Amare Stoudemire, given the team's recent struggles.
Here is Zwerling's argument for NOT trading Melo (click here for Begley's take on Amare):
It's obvious the Knicks have struggled since Carmelo Anthony's return from injury on Feb. 20, when they lost to the Nets, 100-92. Since then, the Knicks have gone 2-5. But it's not just Melo's fault. Around the same time he returned, Amare Stoudemire had played just a few games since taking a leave of absence to mourn his older brother's death. Also, Baron Davis, Steve Novak and J.R. Smith were just getting acclimated to the team.
It's not as if Melo was the odd man out and returned to a fully-functioning squad. While Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler and the Knicks' role players were playing well together before any of the previously mentioned guys hit the court again, the team was not tested consistently by formidable opponents. Most of their wins came against teams under .500.
Since then, the Knicks have revamped their roster and five out of their past seven games since Anthony's return were against teams over .500. It's clear the Knicks need to make adjustments on offense and defense to compete with the league's best, but that doesn't mean they should go ahead and trade their best player, Anthony. The Knicks have been through too many disruptions lately -- even though they were positive because they centered around adding depth off the bench -- to break apart the team even more by trading away Melo for three or more players in return.
While the Knicks have gone away from the pick-and-roll and increased their isolation plays (featuring Anthony), Lin is a big reason for that. He's now having to adjust to attacking defenses because he's now front and center on opposing teams' scouting reports, and he's struggled a bit. In fact, Lin is passing the ball to Anthony too soon on the perimeter, and he's not creating that deep penetration for him to get more open looks (like Davis provides Novak in the second unit). So the Knicks' malignancies are not just on Melo.
Anthony is the scorer the Knicks need, especially down the stretch. He's a luxury to have in the playoffs, when games are closer and come down to the final few possessions. Rewind to Sunday against the Celtics. With the Knicks down eight to start the fourth quarter, 80-72, Melo scored 11 points to help them force overtime. While the Knicks eventually lost 115-111, Melo single-handedly put them in position to win. It was just a little too much Rajon Rondo that afternoon, as he finished with one of the best stat lines in NBA history.
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