The New York Knicks are heading in the wrong direction, and something drastic needs to be done if they want to keep Carmelo Anthony after this season. Anthony can opt out of his current deal when the season ends. There is no reason why he wouldn’t, though he has previously stated that he does not intent to leave New York in free agency. You have to wonder if his feelings will change if the Knicks miss the playoffs.
Bringing another star player to New York would certainly help the Knicks convince Anthony to stay. Could that player be Rajon Rondo? During the offseason, reports indicated that Carmelo was trying to convince the Knicks to trade for Rondo when it became clear that the Boston Celtics were blowing up their roster. Danny Ainge has said on numerous occasions that he plans to build around Rondo and not trade him, but he could be lying.
On Wednesday, ESPNNewYork.com’s Brian Windhorst reported that Rondo is still a priority for the Knicks. The Celtics point guard is no sure bet to return to action from an ACL injury before the Feb. 20 trade deadline, and he has just one year remaining on his contract after this season. Boston may be better off trading him now and capitalizing on New York’s apparent desperation.
Even if the Celtics don’t want to trade Rondo, Windhorst cited sources who claim the Knicks are hoping Rondo will pull the same move Anthony pulled in 2011 when he was traded to New York from the Denver Nuggets. Carmelo basically forced his way out of town, and it’s not inconceivable that Rondo would do the same.
If Rondo remains in Boston this season and next, the Knicks do not have to give up on him. They have the cap space to sign Rondo and another free agent from a pool that could include Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert and Tony Parker in 2015.
New York has options, but keeping Anthony is priority No. 1. We already know Carmelo wants to play with Rondo. The ability or inability to pry Rondo away from the Celtics could help determine Anthony’s future in the Big Apple.