Power is a delicate tool.
If used judiciously it can lead to prosperity, but when exploited great failure can be obtained.
At this very moment I argue Carmelo Anthony is the most powerful person in the New York Knicks organization, even more than owner James Dolan.
Discussing and blaming why and how the Knicks are where they are (something I’m sure as hell guilty of) is a complete waste of time. All that matters is what will be done to get out of this current position and to build a team positioned for long-term success.
Melo’s a tremendous player even with his flaws. Undoubtedly you would like a player of his stature to be smarter on both ends of the court. His time management skills are poor, he’s become indecisive during crunch time – the final offensive possession against the Mavs a perfect example – and seems not to care about the finer details on the defensive end. Those issues don’t overshadow the fact that he’s a brilliant basketball player worthy of building a team around. They mean you have to be careful and specific with the type of roster put around him.
There’s sufficient evidence to suggest the people running the Knicks — James Dolan, CAA, Steve Mills (not completely fair to put him in this category yet, but his last journey with the team was such a disaster he can’t be given the benefit of the doubt) and Mike Woodson — either don’t have the slightest idea how to structure a team with Melo as its centerpiece or simply don’t give a fuck.
The hierarchy of the front office needs to be changed. Getting rid of Woodson while Dolan and Mills are still maneuvering isn’t going to cut it. There must be a complete transfer of power to competent basketball people.
Anthony might be the only person with the ability to make this happen.
Even with a new coach in charge 2014 will bring significant hurdles. Players on contracts are locked into place with high price tags and extremely large egos. For the Knicks to be better than they are this season some of those players will need to sit, while others will need to be mollified. That’s not an enviable task for whoever is running the show.
If he re-signs with the Knicks, Melo does so knowing that, barring several miracles, he’s going to have to suffer one more year before the roster around him can truly be shaken up. Dolan and Mills don’t have the track record to suggest that they can turn cap space and a few draft picks into this team’s much-needed turnaround.
This is Anthony’s leverage to get what he wants.
Carmelo Anthony needs to tell James Dolan his condition for re-signing with the team, at an expensive yet reasonable price (think somewhere between $16 million to $18 million with a no trade clause), is that the money saved on the deal to be put into upgrading all aspects of the organization. Demand Dolan to hire a legitimate, functioning general manger, put together a top flight-scouting department, find a training staff that is the best of the best and pour money into all kinds of analytics and research.
Most importantly, Dolan has to give up decision-making ability. The general manager gets to hire the coach, run the draft and sign the free agents. Dolan’s only involvement allowed is to set a budget that can’t be crossed.
Anthony needs to understand this play won’t be a public relations disaster like what happened with him in Denver.
Melo would be a hero in New York if he was able to accomplish what has been laid out.
Wield your power Melo. And if it works, prosper for a fan base that will grow to appreciate you even more than they do now. If it doesn’t head somewhere that will serve your career well.
Do Knicks fans this one favor Carmelo Anthony. We all deserve it.