New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony wants some help. The Knicks' star believes the team needs to add a "bona fide secondary scorer" in order to get to the next level, according to a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post.
The Knicks flamed out in the second round against the Indiana Pacers this postseason, with Anthony battling through a shoulder injury and Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith struggling with his shot while dealing with fluid buildup in his knee. After the series, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim ripped his former star's teammates, saying that the Knicks asked too much of Anthony and that more scoring options are needed.
Smith was New York's secondary option all year, but he has delivered two stinkers in a row in the playoffs. The Knicks are hoping to re-sign Smith after he opts out of his $2.9 million contract, but Anthony would also like to add a more reliable scorer to the lineup.
Amar'e Stoudemire was supposed to be that second scorer when he and Anthony first teamed up in 2010-11, but Stoudemire's time in New York has been marred by injuries. The Knicks would love to rid themselves of Stoudemire's bloated contract (owed $45 million over the next two years), but they have already used their amnesty provision and almost certainly won't find any takers on the trade market. Instead, New York will likely have to live with a player with bad (and uninsured) knees, a terrible contract and a possible minutes limit next season.
Anthony's desire to acquire a secondary scorer is all fine and dandy, but with the Knicks' cap situation currently a mess, there's not much general manager Glen Grunwald can do. With nearly $75 million in contracts already guaranteed for next season, a sign-and-trade for a superstar like Chris Paul is pretty much out of the question due to new cap rules in the CBA that prohibits teams acquiring a player via sign-and-trade to go over the luxury tax "apron." The apron is set at $4 million above the tax line and will likely be around $75 million to $76 million this offseason.
New York could try and make a move with a regular trade, but there's not much of value on the current roster that would bring back anything significant. Tyson Chandler could be dealt, but he's one of the Knicks' only legitimate big men and a difference maker when healthy. Iman Shumpert is also a valuable asset who Anthony thinks has star potential in a couple of seasons, but the Knicks may not be able to afford to wait that long. If the team does not improve next season, Anthony could decide to opt out of his contract and test free agency.
All in all, it's hard to envision the Knicks making a big splash this summer. No matter how creative Grunwald tries to get, there are simply not many feasible options that would dramatically improve the team's fortunes.