If you were to bet on which player Elfrid Payton or Carmelo Anthony would be on the Knicks list for 2020-21 during the pandemic, the smarter game would be the former Syracuse star.
But on Sunday Payton was on a Zoom call from Portland after the Knicks shootaround talked about his matchup against Blazer superstar Damian Lillard – still Anthony’s teammate.
Payton held the point guard position during the 8th 9 starts of the Knicks stabilized. Anthony opted to re-sign with the Blazers for the minimum of $ 2.6 million for the NBA veteran. Anthony desperately needs the blazers now as studs CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic are out for a long time.
Should the Knicks have played a tougher game at Anthony considering they were stuck with an $ 18 million salary cap? </ A case could be made, yes, because of the lack of offensive talent – 30th place in the league in the scoring average with 101.3 points.
On the other hand, the case is stronger. Knicks President Leon Rose made the right call when he didn’t go all-in for his former client in November. The Post reported that Rose’s dream duo joined after the takeover of Chris Paul and buddy Anthony.
Anthony, 36, is still drawing attention. His presence could have been disruptive if things hadn’t gone that way in terms of playing time and ball touches. More specifically, the Knicks have established themselves as a gritty ball club. That’s not Anthony’s calling card.
Could Julius Randle have this bust-out season on the squad with Anthony, who plays both small and powerful? Probably not. Randle needs the ball, has it on most of the possessions. For much of his career, Anthony did, too.
Playing a minor role in a successful Portland program with Lillard and McCollum is easier than Anthony reducing his role through an unconstrained cast of Knicks leading the campaign 2020-21.
Randle may not have had the confidence to make himself the team’s alpha male with Anthony on the grid.
Additionally, RJ Barrett got into one with Reggie Bullock early on in the shooting Relocated a rather small striker role in order to transfer fewer ball handling tasks to Barrett. Anthony’s presence would have erased Bullock and given Barrett the role of shooter.
Bullock, who doesn’t need the stone, started all games when he was healthy – 15 of the first 18. He was supposed to miss Sunday’s game with neck pain. As long as Bullock was available, coach Tom Thibodeau stayed with the same starting session.
« I think we have a pretty good balance man, » Payton said on Sunday. “Everyone gives each other space to do what they’re good at. And guys are, RJ found a really good groove, it plays really well. Julius did it all year round. «
Barrett was a relentless cop with a motor that wouldn’t stop despite his 3-point struggle. Or maybe he was stunted on an offensive where Anthony wanted the ball – more to shoot than to create.
Barrett played in pickup games with Anthony prior to his rookie season in Columbia. Anthony could have served as a great mentor, but you never know how that would have played out.
Remember his former teammate from Denver, Chauncey Billups, accused Anthony of caring more about his stats than his profit.
« It meant too much because he could have games where he had 20, 22 [points]. We’re winning the game and he’s crazy, « said Billups in 2019.
As a Bulls coach, Thibodeau followed Anthony as a free agent in 2014 and worked with him on Team USA.
» He has an incredible Career behind him – a great one of all time, « Thibodeau said ahead of the game. » The fact that he’s still on the way speaks volumes about who he is. A character with a high character who presented himself well. He has achieved quite a lot. «
In the first few days of training camp, Anthony said the stars weren’t aiming for a Knicks meeting.
» At that point, it wasn’t really much [consideration], « said Anthony. » The Knicks did Movements trying to figure out which direction to go. I am sure you have a plan. I don’t think it was good for either party to come in and try to mess up their plan.
« You’re rebuilding and figuring out what’s in the near future. Personally, I wanted to be part of a situation in I already felt comfortable. I felt that at this point in time, which I am currently in this year, it fits right. «
In his second season with the Blazers, Anthony averages 12, 2 points and shoots 40.5 percent – 45 out of 3. He only got 1.2 assists in 25 minutes.
As Jeff Van Gundy noted, the Knicks « go nowhere » until they get their « offensive talent » improve.
With a new order from Randle and Barrett, adding Anthony to close of trading might not be crazy. Of course, the blazers, proud to resurrect Anthony’s career last season, won’t be eager unless current injuries torpedo their season through the close of trading in late March.
Portland signed a one-year deal with Anthony facing a deep playoff run. The Knicks are trying to avoid another lottery. They want to be in the middle of a playoff race for the first time since the 2013/14 season when they were there until the last few days.
With essentially 10 qualified teams – the 7 to 10 seeds compete in a playoff In-Event against each other – the Knicks could sneak in. They were eighth on Sunday.
Refusing to play a big play for Anthony in November was the smart move. But don’t rule anything out in the future.
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