If someone told you that Michael Beasley had the opportunity to become a franchise cornerstone for the 2017-18 season would you believe them? For the last nine seasons, the self-proclaimed “favorite player’s favorite player,” has bounced from team to team, rivaling only the ball with which he shares a court, segmenting three stints in Miami and two in China with stays in Milwaukee, Houston, Minnesota and now, the Mecca of Basketball.
The New York Knicks are officially slated for a wild season. On Saturday, September 23, the Phil Jackson-less, Charles Oaklely-lawsuit having, James Dolan-cares-more-about-his-band-than-his-team, Knicks, sent a formerly frowny-faced Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City, in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick (from Chicago).
New York continues its tradition of being the most nonsensical team in the league, picking up some talent in the trade while staying so low under the playoff radar that military grade equipment would have difficulty making sense of its flight path.
From a NY state of mind, the trade is mediocre and further insults season ticket owners who can look forward to the rogue 30-point game from Michael Beasley, or the occasionally sweet dish from Ron Baker. Focus strictly on basketball though, and the Knicks are now just bad enough not to make the playoffs, but also have the capability to score more points than an handful of Eastern Conference teams, thus dashing hopes for tanking without Tim Dongahy levels of conspicuousness.
The predicament lay in the presence of guys who have yet to hit that magic, prime age of 27 or so, but still have spent some time in the league. Beasley, as well as Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez, Doug McDermott, and Kristaps Porzingis (rookie deal) are all staying in the big apple to the tune of sub-$5 million contracts. Barring a season of boneheaded moves by Beasley, each of those guys are young enough to score at least one more big deal, if not more, or at the very least, con some team into overpaying them à la Tim Hardaway Jr. on… the Knicks.
Where the “Trust the Process” Sixers could afford to sweet talk their youth into tanking to score big draft picks, the Knicks don’t have that luxury. Since beginning the process in 2014, the Sixers have preyed on its players age and development-mindedness in a show of wizardry that fostered brand loyalty with enticement as strong as whatever keeps that Doomsday guy predicting the world’s end. Philly’s premier NBA team effectively gave their youth a platform to shine, free of the expectations of winning, while stocking up on young talent to take the league by storm, hopefully come 2017-18.
The Knicks, however, have managed to craft one of the most hated brands in sports, despite maintaining a legion of fans that refuse to take the ferry to Brooklyn. Between GM, owner and coach shenanigans, the Knicks maintain relevance in every way possible that does not involve the win column. For the young guys suiting up for the Knicks this season, this is an opportunity to spell-out in bold, Broadway font why any of the other teams not named the Knicks should take a chance on them.
On the flip side, OKC and Sam Presti has quite possibly won the heart of franchise centerpiece Russell Westbrook, all while ensuring ticket sales for the foreseeable future. Picking up PG-13 and Hoodie Melo over a matter of months is a recipe for positive values in the offensive box plus/minus, in addition to restoring faith in Russ that his MVP efforts will be rewarded by giving him the chance to reduce the need for 40-point triple-doubles on a nightly basis. Although Patrick Patterson just saw a seat on the bench open up for at least the next season, the Thunder have beefed up the likelihood of contending against squads like the Spurs, Rockets and Warriors, and the potential for success is sure to have smiles throughout the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Thoughts on the trade? Find me @BJTripleOT on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org