Once upon a time, Carmelo Anthony was a member of the New York Knicks.
As a matter of fact, he was the face of the franchise.
In a blockbuster deal in 2011, the Knicks shipped Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and three draft picks to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter.
After that trade, the Knicks went 207-269, won only one of four playoff series and missed the postseason each of the past four years.
Years later, the trade makes you wonder: what if?
What if the Knicks hadn’t traded for Anthony and kept a Mike D’Antoni team that had a young core of Amare Stoudemire, J.R. Smith, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Nate Robinson and others?
Well, sometimes we talk about it,” Danilo Gallinari told me on Scoop B Radio.
Or we meet about it with Amare, Raymond and other players who were there at that time and say: ‘if we would have stayed together we could have built something special; so that’s what we say.”
Gallinari, now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, was drafted 6th overall in the 2008 draft by the Knicks.
He had some good games while a member of the orange of blue, like the time he scored 17 points against the Atlanta Hawks while shooting 4-5 shooting from downtown.
There was also that Halloween game in 2009 where it rained three-pointers; eight to be exact. Galo poured in a season-high 30 points in the overtime loss and was one triple away from tying a Knicks franchise record held by both Latrell Sprewell and John Starks. The dude was official like a ref with a whistle, he just dealt with substantial injuries.
Nonetheless, his jumper was and still is lethal!
As for the what could have been the Knicks, all we can wonder is what if?
“Yeah, we had a very good chemistry going on,” said Gallinari.
“Especially a few weeks before the trade, we were doing really well. But you know, that’s in the past now.”
Carmelo Anthony has not played basketball since November
A ten-time NBA All-Star, Anthony signed with the Houston Rockets this summer after clearing waivers in a trade that shipped him from the Oklahoma City Thunder the Atlanta Hawks.
The third overall pick in the 2003 draft, Anthony’s last appearance with the Houston Rockets came in a blowout loss to Oklahoma City on Nov. 8 when he had two points and five rebounds.
With Melo still under contract with the Houston Rockets, he’ll either be bought out or traded.
Some have suggested retirement. His peers refute it.
“No way Melo should retire,” Allen Iverson recently told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
“I definitely think he should keep going. He got a lot left in the tank, man. It’s just got to be the right situation … He’s going to find his way to adapt to the game and the best spot. I believe in him, and I know he’s strong enough. He has a strong foundation behind him as far as his family and friends. I really think he’ll be alright. I’m in Melo’s corner all the way.”
“He can still contribute,” ESPN NBA analyst, Jalen Rose told TMZ.
“It’s just … finding the right opportunity is tough because unless there’s a major injury, a contender team probably wouldn’t add him. And then, a lottery team is probably looking to ‘Stop tryin’ for Zion,’ so they’re tanking in a lot of ways. Maybe an injury happens and he gets back in the league.
Carmelo Anthony has averaged 24 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists in his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets.
“I would just love for him to get the respect he deserves,” New York Knicks forward, Lance Thomas told me last month.
Thomas played with Anthony during his Knicks days and says that Melo has a lot left in the tank.
“He’s a great player, he’s a great teammate, most importantly he’s a great human being and he’s always been a great advocate for the NBA as a brand,” he said.
“So I just want him to get back on a team and play the sport he loves that’s paved a way for him and his family, and he just loves to play basketball, so I really want him back on a team.”
Wherever Anthony ends up, it seems to come down to whether he wants to start or come off the bench.
“He’s definitely good enough to be a NBA starter,” NBA insider, Chris Sheridan tells Scoop B Radio.