ESPN’s Chris Broussard is reporting that the latest developments have the Knicks talking with the Nuggets and Grizzlies regarding a potential three team deal—with disgruntled guard O.J. Mayo packing his bags for Denver.
Though the Knicks are still searching for that extra asset (even if it may not currently be on the team already), the main components of any Knicks offer are set—some variation or combination of Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and/or Landry Fields.
Assuming a deal to send Anthony to play in his hometown can and will be agreed upon, which of the Knicks will be outgoing in return?
Although Anthony, a true superstar, stands to elevate the quality of the team, Donnie Walsh has publicly stated that re-signing Chandler for next season was a main priority. Gallinari has previously been declared “the best shooter” Mike D’Antoni’s ever seen. Finally, Fields, a second round phenom, has been the surprise rookie of the NBA this season.
Chandler is en route to the breakout season of his career. His overall game has been improving tremendously as he plays beside Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton. Through stronger lockdown defense and an improved long-range jump shot, Chandler is averaging career highs in nearly every category. In fact, he has been just as important as Stoudemire and Felton to the team’s success this season.
While the Knicks would obviously prefer to keep Chandler, in order to pair him as a starting forward next to Anthony, his strong play is also what makes him the team’s most valuable asset.
Chandler’s outbreak is making him increasing attractive to Denver, so it’s likely he would be a centerpiece (besides Anthony, and perhaps Mayo) of any potential trade. If he were in fact the Nuggets’ primary preference, the Knicks would be forced to choose between sending either Gallinari or Fields along with Chandler.
That decision may not be as obvious for the Knicks as many might think. Though Gallinari is of the purest of shooters and furthermore, a natural scorer, there’s also a chance he may be as effective with Stoudemire, Anthony and Felton all in town.
The Knicks reportedly like Gallinari’s lengthy figure and view him as the power forward in D’Antoni’s offense next to Anthony at small forward. Besides his height, however, Gallinari does not possess the aggressiveness that Chandler has necessary to hold his own at the four position.
That is precisely the first reason why the Knicks may be smart to send Gallo (along with Chandler) to Denver, as opposed to Fields.
Though a prominent scorer in college, Fields’ strengths on the Knicks have come from his intangibles and play off the ball. A solid defender, the rookie from Stanford has also demonstrated intelligence and promising instincts that should only prove to get better as Fields matures as an NBA player.
The fact that he leads all NBA guards (not just rookies) in rebounding makes him that much more valuable to the constantly board-stricken Knicks.
Overall, Fields appears as though he could contribute more widely, and in fact can accomplish his own scoring conveniently within the means of the Knicks offense (as he does well already).
The all around games of Chandler and Fields have continued to make them perfect complementary pieces in a Knicks offense that already has many scorers.
Primarily a scorer (even though more so than Fields), Gallinari is also due for a contract extension much earlier than Fields.
The play of Chandler and Fields help run the well oiled machine that is the New York Knicks. That same Knicks squad, however, has more or less been able to replace and/or make up for the missing offense that comes from Gallinari, who is out nursing a knee injury.
There are concerns that adding Anthony to the Knicks at such a time where the team’s play is at such a high will disrupt the chemistry and dynamic. That certainly could be true, as he is quite the dominating offensive force.
That being said, while it would be a shame to see Wilson Chandler leave New York as his talents continue to explode, the transition of adding Anthony and subtracting Chandler may easier with Fields (not Gallinari) in tow.
Trying to configure an offense that includes Carmelo Anthony and Danilo Gallinari (in addition to Stoudemire, Felton, etc.) may prove to be even more difficult, rather than having the ultimate role player in Landry Fields in the lineup to help smooth things along.