Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:36 pm
Being the Knicks fan that I am, when I hear major Knicks news, especially trade scenarios involving superstars, I have to voice my opinion. The latest news has the Knicks acquiring Dwight Howard for both Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. Obviously, Orlando would have to include other players to make this deal work. The likely candidates would be Hedo Turkoglu (whose hefty contract would definitely be one that the Magic will include in any trade scenario for Howard) and Ryan Anderson.
Before I give my input on this deal, let me just say how crazy things can get in New York. The Knicks are never in a state of rest (in regards to player movement) and seem to never be content with their roster. Patience is never practiced with this team. They are always in "win now" mode yet they have not won a title since 1973! It is nice to see that the Knicks are always trying to find ways to get better but most of the time their aggressiveness in making trades backfires on them. With that being said, allow me to evaluate this potential trade. The deal would like this:
NY Knicks Receive
Dwight Howard ($18 million)
Hedo Turkoglu ($11 million)
Ryan Anderson ($2 million)
Orlando Magic Receive
Amare Stoudemire ($18 million)
Tyson Chandler ($13 million)
From Orlando's viewpoint, this is a pretty good deal. They are receiving a star player in Stoudemire and a great defender in Tyson Chandler. The biggest problem for the Magic in losing Dwight Howard is the loss of his defensive abilities. He is irreplaceable as a defender, however, Chandler may be the next best thing for the Magic from that standpoint as he would be one of the best candidates to make up for the loss of shot-blocking and rebounding that Howard provides. Chandler can also finish well around the basket and would play well in the Magic's uptempo system. Stoudemire, despite the common perception right now, still has a lot of game left in him. He is struggling right now with New York because of the lack of chemistry with Carmelo, who has the ball in his hands the majority of the time and flourishes in isolation sets, and also because of the lack of a playmakers on the team. He is working way too hard to find his offense. He is best in pick and roll sets and as a slasher, he needs the ball while moving. He is not the type of player that you can post up or expect to create shots on his own and that is essentially what the Knicks have forced him to do thus far this season. Stoudemire is a hard worker and is coming off a great season last year in which he was an MVP candidate prior to the Carmelo trade. I think the idea that he is on the decline and that he has weak knees and a bad back are all non-factors. Stoudemire conditions himself better than most players in the league and he does not seem to be plagued by any injuries in recent history. He can definitely still produce at a high level and would be a great player to become the new face of the Orlando Magic. Offensively, Stoudemire is much more dynamic than Dwight Howard. Howard is a dominant center but he is one dimensional as a scorer. Stoudemire on the other hand is versatile on offense. He can shoot from the perimeter, slash to the basket, and is a good free throw shooter. He actually fits in Orlando's offense very well. Let us not forget that it was Amare who brought life back to the Knicks after they missed out on all of their other free agent targets in 2010 and he served as a great leader to the team before the Carmelo trade last year. I think this deal actually makes the Magic a more complete team. I believe that if they made this trade they are actually a more dangerous team. I think this is the best deal the Magic will get unless they can convince the Lakers to give up both Bynum and Gasol. Otherwise, they would have to make this deal if it were on the table because they cannot risk losing Howard for nothing and it is a far better deal than the Nets or Clippers can offer (assuming the Clippers would not part with Griffin or Paul). The only drawback to this deal for the Magic from a basketball standpoint is that even though Amare prefers to play power forward, he is more productive at the center position. The reason this is a drawback is because Tyson Chandler is a center and after watching every Knicks game this year, I could make the argument that it is actually Chandler's presence on offense that is making things difficult for Amare as the two have not gotten their spacing down. Chandler is only effective around the basket so he stays in that area but he is also clogging up space in the lane for Stoudemire. This could limiting the area that Stoudemire has to work with and could be a bigger reason why he is struggling. Remember, Carmelo and Amare found ways to score together last year, that could be a result of Billups being there last year but Stoudemire's struggles this year could somewhat be the result of Chandler's presence. I could be wrong about this but it is something to think about for the Magic. Even if it were true, the Magic may be more successful than the Knicks in creating schemes that help the two stay out of each others way and flourish together offensively.
From the Knicks viewpoint, this is a trade that they would have to consider. I love Amare Stoudemire and he is my favorite player on the Knicks but he is not meshing well with Carmelo, whom, the organization will never give up after they gave up the farm to get him just less than a year ago. I would hate to see Amare go but it seems like Howard is a better asset to the Knicks right now. Howard is the best defensive player in the league and would instantly help them with their rebounding and shot-blocking deficiencies. It also seems as if he would fit in offensively with Carmelo better than Amare because he does most of his work in the paint. He can post up and draw double teams to help create space for the Knicks (which is something they lack). Also, the addition of Ryan Anderson would give the Knicks some three point shooting (which they desperately need) and a player who Howard is used to playing with. They work well together as Howard is now comfortable kicking the ball out to Anderson for open shots when he is being double-teamed. Hedo Turkoglu could also be an asset for the Knicks. He would most likely be included in this deal as a salary dump. However, he could really flourish with the Knicks and have a very valuable role. He could come off the bench and serve as the leader of the second unit. He has good offensive skills as he is a good shooter, can create his own shot, knows how to draw contact and get to the free throw line, and he also has good playmaking abilities. The Knicks currently lack depth and their offense lacks flow and cohesion, this trade definitely addresses both of those problems. From that perspective the Knicks should definitely consider making this deal. Especially if it meant they could somehow add Deron Williams to the mix next summer via free agency or trade (which would be a longshot but something to keep an eye on).
One caveat to this deal which may be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks, is that Tyson Chandler cannot be traded until March 1 (due to free agent signing rules). The reason this may be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks is that it will force them to be patient with their current team and give them some team to get it together. I really like Baron Davis, I do not expect him to be the "savior" for the team but I also do not think that the Knicks are currently a "savior" away from winning. I think Baron Davis can give this team what they are missing; a smart, veteran point guard who can make plays and has the experience and poise to play with superstars like Amare and Carmelo. He fits the offensive system very well and it is worth waiting to see if he can give them what they are currently missing. It would be foolish for the Knicks to make this trade without giving the team a chance to all play together before breaking them up.
In the end, this is all just speculation. But if there are any legs to this rumor and the Knicks continue to struggle and Dwight Howard's trade demand remains then it is definitely a deal both teams should consider. It is a rare deal in that it may actually make both teams better. We will see what happens..............
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:09 pm
Just a few weeks into the season, there is no doubt that the Miami Heat appear to be the team to beat. They have bounced back well after losing in the finals last year to the Dallas Mavericks and have made adjustments that have made them the favorites early on this year. While things are going well for Miami in this early season, I still ask myself the big question: Will the "Big 3" all play out their contracts with Miami or will the team be broken up?