Can ‘Melo and Stoudemire Play Together?
“I don’t think those two guys can play together,” a rival GM told me Friday, and he wasn’t talking about Danilo Gallinari and Al Harrington, who surely can. Gallinari, whose first-round selection by the Knicks was championed by (Mike) D’Antoni, came home to drop 37 points on his former team Friday night. Harrington scored and danced and preened his way to 24 points on a Melo-like 24 shots. It must have been hideous to watch, if you were the guy who used to coach them.
The rival GM was referring, of course, to (Carmelo) Anthony and (Amar’e) Stoudemire, whose ill-fitting gifts and games should give pause to any superstar looking to team up with another one, as the trend in the NBA currently dictates. Their union on a team with no point guard to direct traffic and no 3-point release valves for D’Antoni’s offense is more than a cautionary tale of “careful what you wish for.” It’s a collision of egos and elite but conflicting talent that threatens to squander the 2½ years of skilled excavation undertaken by Walsh, who put the Knicks back on the map only to see them nearly wiped off it in less than half the time.
It’s easy to point to the Nuggets’ 29-12 record since the Anthony trade, and juxtapose it with the Knicks’ 20-23 record. But this is about much more than that. In the NBA, it’s always about control and clout, and Anthony — having teamed with Creative Artists Agency to orchestrate a gutting of the Knicks’ roster to get him — clearly has both. This, according to sources, is what D’Antoni feared from the beginning. And it is playing out before our eyes.