Carmelo Anthony
Flikr/Keith Allinson

By Marcus Shockley

Look, I’ve gotta be honest. I like Carmelo Anthony. I overlook the no-defense-style and I’ll always respect that he’s a superstar that proved he could hang in college, bringing a championship to Syracuse.

And, I’m glad he got to play where he wanted. I do agree with many analysts who say that the superstars teaming up like it’s AAU is bad for the league. That’s true. It also won’t last. The hard truth is that the players might think they run the show, but they aren’t writing the checks. The people who write the checks make the decisions, and that’s one of the big reasons there will likely be a lockout this year as the owners make a point to Lebron and all the rest of the players.

But, back to Carmelo and the Knicks.

Let’s get one thing straight: there is absolutely no reason why the New York Knicks can’t be one of the dominant powerhouses in the NBA, competing for titles every year. They have the big market, the money, the media and the ability to attract players that means they should be able to be just as competitive as the Lakers.

But they aren’t, and it boils down to management and ownership. You can’t overcome Bad Management, and the Knicks have some of the worst. If they were in any other market they’d be in danger of contraction. The worst thing about Bad Management is that it never learns, never changes and never gets better. The only thing that will save bad management and ownership is wholesale change (see the Tampa Bay Bucs and Indianapolis Colts), and the last time I checked, the same owner is over the Knicks that thinks Isaiah Thomas is an awesome guy.

To be blunt, the Knicks are a horribly run organization and business, and they won’t win while they have the current management.

Let’s unpack this blockbuster trade, shall we? The Knicks had already put together a team that was most likely headed for the playoffs, behind respectable GM Donnie Walsh (slumming, apparently), but traded away all of their supporting cast for a guy who puts up big scoring numbers. Yeah, that will work, unloading almost the entire team for a single scorer. Starbury, anyone?

Sure, they have Chauncy Billups and, of course, Amare Stoudamire. But Billups is gone at the end of this year, and then there will be a lockout, and the Knicks will be looking to bring in those same kinds of players they just traded away. Their roster is thin. Nobody on their team plays any defense. Deron Williams isn’t coming to New York. Chris Paul isn’t coming to New York next season. How, exactly, is all of this supposed to make them long term contenders with the Lakers, Celtics, Magic and Heat?

I’m not sold. Even though I like Billups, Anthony and Stoudamire on the same starting five, I know bad management, and bad management will always run it right into the ground.

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By Marcus Shockley

Kobe Bryant
Flikr/Keith Allison

Most of the NBA teams are terrible at business. Wait, check that, most professional sports teams in all leagues are bad at business. Just as with corporations, sports teams are usually dysfunctional organizations that limp along from year to year barely surviving a plethora of bad decisions.

However, there are some sports teams that know what they are doing, and one of them is the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the years, the Lakers have been patient, drafted well and traded well. They’ve cut older vets loose at the right time and brought in young guys at the right time.

That’s why with the talk of a Carmelo trade to the Lakers, I find it interesting that the Lakers aren’t actually looking to shed someone else.

Kobe Bryant.

Kobe has now played more games in his career than Michael Jordan. Now, it’s true that Kobe entered the league younger than Jordan did, and Kobe does appear to have more in the tank at this point than Jordan did when he’d played this many games. But the reality is, even though Kobe has a lot of scoring left, it’s plain that the end is in sight within a few years.

That’s why now is the time for the Lakers to be looking to trade their superstar, while they can still get a maximum return. This isn’t the first time they would have done it; Shaq still had enough game left to bring a title to Miami before he became the Big Backup, but the Lakers cut him loose for the long term. It may be time for the Lakers to do the same with Kobe.

It won’t be a popular decision, but it would be a blockbuster trade that could set L.A. up for the next ten years. It might even involve multiple teams. I couldn’t tell you what the frenzy would result in or where Kobe would land. All I could say with relative certainty that he wouldn’t end up in Cleveland.

Consider this: four years from now, Kobe might not even be in the league. That’s how fast a player’s career can go from superstar to Allen Iverson. And for Kobe, that time is approaching. Each year…actually, each month…that the Lakers hold on to him, he gets closer to that reality. Sure, he might play another five, six years, but the truth is, that’s not likely. Next year, he’ll be worth less than this year. The year after that? Less.

So before the Lakers make a big trade between Carmelo and some other supporting player, I think they should be looking at a major shakeup.

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The Denver Post is reporting that the Denver Nuggets are attempting to learn from Cleveland’s struggles this summer to keep Lebron James and may be working on a way to part ways with their own star forward, Carmelo Anthony:

There is no way Denver can afford to lose the face of its franchise for nothing as a free agent.

This may be the first reaction as a backlash to Lebron’s move by team owners. After all, despite the massive salaries commanded by the players in the NBA, the teams are still the business properties of the owners and those owners are not interested in hiring players who are going to just empty the coffers. While Anthony, a likeable player who is in the prime of his career, would continue to be a solid linchpin for the Nuggets, there’s no denying that his trade value has also never been higher:

His 28-point career scoring average through seven professional seasons should attract keen interest in Anthony from a franchise looking for a star to sell tickets in the regular season or hit a big shot at the buzzer during the playoffs. Anthony’s contract situation figures to give him leverage in trade negotiations, because any team looking to add the 6-foot-8 forward would want to be assured of keeping his services long term.

This will be an interesting development to keep an eye on.