Happy anniversary, Carmelo?
February, 22, 2012
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIMelo was all smiles when the Knicks introduced him last February.Happy anniversary, Carmelo Anthony.
Or is it?
A year ago Tuesday, the Knicks completed a three-team mega deal to bring Anthony to New York.
Since the trade, the Knicks are 30-31. The Nuggets, on the other hand, are 36-22.
You can make a strong argument that the Knicks' record would be much worse were it not for the emergence of point guard Jeremy Lin, who has led the Knicks (16-17) to eight wins in the past 10 games. Six of those wins came with Anthony sidelined due to a strained groin.
Lin's emergence has also shown how drastically things have changed for Anthony in the past year.
Last year around this time, fans were giving Anthony the "Lin treatment" and wondering just how far he could lead the Knicks in the postseason. Now, there is concern that Anthony's return from injury will ruin the cohesion the Knicks established on offense under Lin.
With Lin running the show, the Knicks had won eight of nine with an offense predicated on ball movement. Many wondered how Anthony, who thrives in isolation, would fit in the mix.
He didn't force anything during Monday's loss to New Jersey, making four of his 11 shots and handing out six assists. Most came within the flow of the offense.
Afterward, Anthony made it clear that he didn't want to change anything the Knicks had established under Lin.
"My mindset was just to not try to come in and not do too much, try to fit in and try to play my game within the system," Anthony said. "[I want to] play the way that they've been playing the last few weeks: passing the ball, finding the open man, making the right play."
As for the trade that sent him to New York, Anthony said last month that it was too early to judge the results.
"You can't compare our team to Denver's team. Denver got five starters in that trade," he said. "Denver's a helluva team. They're one of the deepest teams in the NBA right now."
In the deal, the Knicks sent Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets. They also dealt Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota.
New York acquired Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams from Denver. The also received Corey Brewer from the Timberwolves.
Neither team, of course, kept all of those pieces.
The Knicks got rid of Billups through the amnesty clause to create the cap space needed to acquire Tyson Chandler. Carter, Williams and Brewer are gone. Balkman was released to make room for J.R. Smith.
For Denver, Chandler is playing in China and Felton was dealt to Portland in a transaction that netted Andre Miller.
The Knicks had struggled to replace Billups at point guard until Lin emerged from the end of the bench to a seemingly overnight sensation.
Now, Anthony's is trying to figure out how to fit in with Lin.
"I want Jeremy to have the ball, hands down," Anthony said Monday night after going 3-for-10 in 31 minutes with Lin on the floor. "I want him to create for me, I want him to create for Amare [Stoudemire], I want him to create for everybody and still be as aggressive as he's been in the past."