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Carmelo Anthony Needs Chris Paul on the New York Knicks
Building great teams does require a great player at the center of it. Anthony is a great player. The one factor that is missing is he is not a leader on the floor. He doesn’t defend or rebound and isn’t very vocal except when he feels the team isn’t running things right for him. That is not the makeup of a winner, and it’s why he can’t win in the playoffs. Until somebody willingly bites the bullet and strips him of that aura of control, the trend will continue. It is for that reason that the New York Knicks must go out and get Chris Paul.
Los Angeles Clippers desperate not to lose Paul
For anyone wondering why Paul is such an important player they need not look further than the growing nervousness from the Los Angeles Clippers as the point guard prepares to become a free agent. His impact on their team was obvious from the moment he came in via trade from New Orleans. The Clippers have won 75% of their games when Paul is on the floor. They only managed 50% without him. His game encapsulates a little bit of everything. In 2012-2013 he averaged 16 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals per game. He did whatever it took to make sure his team won. Throw in his knack for heroics late in games and there really isn’t any mystery as to why the long-denied Clippers want him to stay.
The problem is that isn’t an easy task. Paul is 28-years old, an age where a lot of players during their careers feel that growing need to win a championship. Los Angeles has made two fruitless runs in the postseason and despite loads of talent can’t compete with the best teams in the Western Conference. On top of that Paul would have to endure a coaching change as the Clippers fired Vinny Del Negro after his latest humiliating loss to a supposedly inferior Memphis Grizzlies team. Paul may not want to stick around and see if the next man is any better. The Clippers have never been the best avenue of winning rings. Perhaps a different location would suit him best.
Jason Kidd and Amar'e Stoudemire present problems for Knicks
So how do the Knicks factor in? A number of issues on their roster make it a favorable move besides the fact Paul is an All-Star and one of the best point guards in the NBA. Besides the need to take the ball away from Anthony, New York suffered a key loss when 19-year veteran Jason Kidd decided to retire. It isn’t crippling to the Knicks but it does reinforce the need for change at point guard. Current starter Raymond Felton had a good regular season at 13 points, 5 assists and a steal per game but disappeared against top competition in the playoffs. Rather than find a backup to replace Kidd, a better move for New York might be making Felton the backup and sliding Paul in as the starter. This would give the Knicks great depth at a key position.
The bigger problem is finding the money. At present New York just doesn’t have the cash for such a signing. Their cap is tied up in their front court with Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire. In order to find the room they would have to break that trio up. The question is who is the odd man out? Chandler is a good trade chip given his defensive prowess but New York would prefer to keep him for that. As for Stoudemire, dealing him is far more difficult because of injury problems last season. Even then if they did leave the cap relief wouldn’t come immediately. Still, ownership would gladly absorb the extra dollars if they knew dumping one of those players meant a real chance at landing Paul. Pairing him with Anthony as well as J.R. Smith and Chandler could give the Knicks a far more balanced and efficient lineup.
NBA is about tweaking formulas until they work
Truth in pro basketball isn’t about staying the course and hoping things work out. It is about running the business until the right formula comes up. New York proved it can’t win with Carmelo running the show. Getting the ball away from him and into the more accomplished hands of Paul is an option they must consider if they want to take that next step.