TNT NBA analyst Brent Barry told the NY Post that Joakim Noah is a terrible fit for the Knicks and that Carmelo Anthony should ask to be traded.
"I was a little bit shocked,'' Barry said about the Knicks signing Noah to a four-year deal worth $72 million this offseason. "Who else was bidding for Noah's services? Maybe Washington. It was an interesting gamble in the sense the last couple of years he had not been healthy."
Barry added that Noah doesn't fit in Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek's system.
"Going to a new system and new coach who doesn't know him that well, it's hard to understand how Hornacek would pull three-seasons-ago performances out of Joakim,'' Barry said. "He was relied on with the ball to do a lot of things for Chicago. He's already got Melo, Kristaps [Porzingis], along with Derrick.''
Regarding Anthony, Barry said he should priorotize winning over anything, even if it means asking for a trade.
"At what point do you really want to win? That bumps up to his argument of wanting to win in New York but that might not be the reality of your situation," Barry said "...If you would waive the no trade and make yourself available, you could go somewhere and impact how the last few years of your career goes in terms of winning basketball."
It could be easier, given the moving parts that figure to be associated with a blockbuster trade involving Anthony, to explore a deal in the offseason. This would allow the Knicks to judge this season as a whole, as opposed to jumping to a conclusion based on their most recent struggles. Even so, the latest skid should only prompt a feeling of deja vu for what's become a familiar feeling of failure in the Phil Jackson era.
It's not in the best interest of the team to deal Anthony at a time like this, simply for the sake of making a change. What's more, it'll only be worth dealing Derrick Rose's expiring contract if they can reel valuable future assets back in return. That doesn't appear likely, so it's better off they just let the guard's contract expire and look to improve from there.
Letting Rose go and exploring a deal for Anthony, all the while reflecting upon what looks to be another poor campaign, would be the sensible thing to do. At that juncture (the summer), the organization can also review Jackson's efforts, with a fuller body of work after three seasons, and ponder whether or not he's capable of taking this team where it needs to go.
In critiquing the Knicks, Barry is especially right about something else: the team's gamble to remain competitive around Anthony hasn't worked out. In hindsight, fans and media members alike have asserted how much easier it would have been to build around Kristaps Porzingis right off the bat.
Given that Anthony was already re-signed, it was much more worthwhile to explore utilizing him as a star talent (while Porzingis continues to flourish into one) before attempting to move him. Anthony is one of the most talented scorers in the NBA. Theoretically, it would have been such a positive for Porzingis to develop in the midst of a winning culture. That has not happened, and the Knicks may be left with cutting their losses after spending big last summer.
Aside from Rose's offseason acquisition, all three major free agent signings have put together underwhelming campaigns. As could have been predicted, Noah has battled the injury bug a bit. He's failed to fit in on offense and has been an inconsistent performer against the better big men in the league defensively. Courtney Lee has arguably worked out the best, boasting a percentages line of 45/46/85, but even he has disappeared from time to time after signing a fairly lucrative contract.
If New York opts to make major changes, it may be smart to cash in on the value Lee has to get something meaningful back in return that better fits with whatever they look to create going forward. As for Lance Thomas, his veteran presence is valuable. He too has battled injuries this season, but this looks like a classic case of someone over-performing before cashing in on a big contract.
By the time this offseason comes, Rose could be on his way out, as could Brandon Jennings. Another failure to reach and compete in the playoffs could leave Phil Jackson on the hook.
Whether Jackson stays or goes, the Knicks should explore deals for Anthony and Co. This experiment hasn't worked. New York is now on Porzingis' clock (and much less Anthony's) to start winning, and they should want to benefit from his early years.