The Line that should not be crossed

Everyone knows by now the Knicks most recent offer in the Carmelo Anthony drama. Namely a combination of Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and a 1st round draft pick (via a swap of Anthony Randolph to the Minesotta Timberwolves).  

Although the Knicks give up significant pieces on their roster in that transaction, it is a deal for Anthony that many Knicks fans would be willing to accept. However, as with their dealings with the New Jersey Nets, the Denver Nuggets are trying to push the Knicks off the line they are currently towing. They are trying to get the Knicks to offer more. It is also possible that some within the Knicks organization sentimental for losing a godson may be willing to push the organization to acquiesce to the most recent Nuggets counter offer. 

That Nuggets’ counter offer was tweeted today by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, via word from NBA TV. That counter offer being the following:

NBA TV reporting that Nuggets want Fields & Mozgov in the deal instead of Gallinari. Thus far, as source said neither side will budge.”

Alan Hahn of Newsday has also tweeted the same counter offer and appears to be ecstatic that Gallinari maybe saved at the sacrifice of Landry Fields and Timofey Mozgov. Hahn tweeted the following:

“If Knicks can somehow keep Gallinari in this deal, as NBAtv says DEN prefers Mozgov/Fields instead, that would be amazing.

So that’s the Nuggets’ counter offer. Let me be short and to the point regarding my opinion on that counter offer.  I don’t like it or care at all for it. To accede to that counter offer would hurt the Knicks in two key areas of need that both Mozgov and Fields address more than adequately.

One of those areas of need is that of size and length on the interior. Currently the Knicks are woefully thin at the 5 spot and even smaller at the 4 spot if you consider that Wilson Chandler, Shawn Williams, have played minutes at both those positions due to injuries to Ronny Turiaf and the reticence of Mike D’Antoni to sooner phase in Mozgov. Mozgov in the games since his return has proven that he can more than adequately man the center position and that his good motor and resilience (just look at his comeback game against the Clippers) are aspects he can build off as he develops polish in his game.

Gallinari does not provide the size and girth inside to help Stoudemire hold his own against the beefier frontlines in the Eastern Conference and NBA generally. He may be a lengthy 6’10” but he is a gawky 6’10” whose frame is still not filled out. Mozgov on the other hand is a bigger 7’1″ and is also lean, yet stouter in the post than Gallinari. Mozgov’s ability to provide Pick and Roll offense to the Knicks also helps to relieve Stoudemire when he heads to the bench.

The other area of need for the Knicks in any trade scenario for Anthony will be a need for players that enhance chemistry leading to fluid transitions in the event of Anthony’s arrival at the Garden. Namely that of players who compliments the talents of ball dominant scorers. Players who can play off the ball and don’t need it effectively to contribute to the outcome of the game. Landry Fields currently fills that role way more than effectively. To my knowledge the effectiveness of a Landry Fields is measured in the way that his off the ball scrappy play enhances team chemistry. Something that will be dearly needed should a shake up happen at the Garden. As a rookie, Fields leads the league’s guards in rebounding, is amongst the league’s most effective (accurate) three point shooters in the fourth quarter when those shots count most – clutch anyone?

Danillo Gallinari is a decent player who gives good effort. He has a pretty varied game that has extended beyond the arc to a slashing game where he effectively draws and converts fouls shot opportunities.  However, despite his gawky length and a decent ability from beyond the arc, he does not the fill the needs that the combination of Landry Fields or Timofey Mozgov provide the Knicks. Gallo does help on the boards but is no where near as effective or productive from his wing position (Fields plays the 2, Gallo plays the 3) than Fields. He is not as effective without the ball on offense. As a matter of fact he needs touches to create free throw opportunities with his pump fake slashing game. Fields provides a more seamless transition than Gallinari.

Given the elements of the games that both Mozgov and Fields address over Gallinari, and given how important those elements will be in transitioning the team in the event of a shake up it would behoove the Knicks not to bite on that onerous Nuggets’ counter offer!