Armstrong: Five thoughts on Carmelo, Randolph and more

Jack Armstrong
6/23/2014 12:51:45 PM
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1. CARMELO ANTHONY: As Knicks fans worry about the potential departure with his decision to opt out, I see this as a blessing in disguise.  As currently constructed, the Knicks have NO shot at being a legitimate contender. Yes. The organization gave up a king's ransom to get a major Asset yet when you reflect on his time in NY he's been a terrific scoring talent and they've had their share of up's and down's and in his defense - not all his fault. He is what he is at this stage of his career -- a brilliant scorer who plays very hard on the offensive end of the court. In the end, sometimes in sports, business and life the best strategy is to cut your losses and move on. With Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani all off the books next season, it allows president Phil Jackson to shape the organization in his image which is the right move. The key is to avoid all the 'noise' from the NY media with demands to go for 'Big Name $$ Quick Fixes' and make thoughtful basketball decisions. This organization tries too often to 'Win the Back Page' rather than do what's smart. Yes, a terrific talent could walk out the door for little or nothing yet in 12 months you get to truly build the right foundation for long term success. Good common sense.

2. CHICAGO BULLS: You'll hear their name lots in the next 10 days when Melo's name comes up and if I were Melo this makes complete sense to me as long as he's willing to take a pay cut that he can earn some back in quality endorsements if he's a significant piece on a major-league winning team in Chicago. Against the Knicks, a quick comparison: Money: NY, ownership: Chicago…. not close, management: Chicago…. Sorry, but Phil Jackson has never been a president/GM, coach: Chicago…. not close, team talent level: Chicago. If Derrick Rose can even get back to being 80 per cent of what he was, this is a nice edge.   In my mind, the Bulls make the most sense if -- and it's a big IF -- he's willing to sacrifice. He'll be held totally accountable here on a daily basis. No nonsense.  Defining moment for him in his career.

3. KEVIN LOVE: Where there is smoke ….  If I'm the T'Wolves, I move him as soon as I can and get on with the business of reshaping my team while his value is at its highest. Many folks say wait until the trade deadline, yet I'm not sure you'll get better than the next few weeks. I think you owe it to yourself and your fans to cut the cord as soon as you can. Believe me; if they really want him, they'll blink and offer you close (not all) of what you want. Be proactive. In 12 months, he'll be out the door. Deal with it and rid yourself of the drama.  Terrific talent, yet he's got you to how many playoff appearances? Sure, the other 14 teammates matter a whole lot in the Western Conference but it's time to be realistic and based upon your market build a team rather than the concern with having 'name guys.'

4. ZACH RANDOLPH (Grizzlies): Trying to get an extension worked out in Memphis. Makes perfect sense to me.  All the guy does is produce and he's done it in the context of winning/playoffs. A double-double machine who is one of the toughest covers in the league, he's been very good for you. A piece you can't lose. If the term and money make sense, do it.

5. JOEL EMBIID: Feel awful for this young man. Watching him play this year at the University of Kansas he's an intriguing talent with loads of major potential that I love.  On the other hand, with some teams freaked out by the injuries to bigs like Sam Bowie and Greg Oden over the years with the complete - and I mean complete - change in the way the NBA game is played on the perimeter it might benefit him to fall a bit to a team that will be patient with him and allow him to work his way in at the right pace as a rookie. He's got a chance to be very good, yet in a different league that bigs came into 20 years ago. If he drops a bit, someone's going to be quite lucky if he holds up physically.  Risk vs. Reward.  Can change in a very positive way or end some careers with this pick. Will be interesting to watch unfold.

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