Bernstein: ‘Melo, Knicks Take Aim At Bulls

By Dan Bernstein–

The ongoing saga of Carmelo Anthony has been mere background noise for the Bulls fan.

Not compelling so much as just constant, the steady, droning flow of news, rumors and commentary has existed all year. There has not been good reason to devote too much basketball brain-space to any of it, seeing as it’s far more worthwhile to watch Derrick Rose and friends evolve into a conference contender under Tom Thibodeau.

Now it’s time to pay attention.

If the playoffs started today, the Bulls’ first-round matchup would be against Anthony and the newly-remodeled NY Knicks.

It was a nine-player deal. New York gets Anthony (averaging an NBA-6th-best 25.2 PPG and 7.6 RPG), guards Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter, center Shelden Williams and forward Renaldo Balkman. Denver receives guard Raymond Felton, forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, center Timofey Mozgov, a first-round pick, two seconds and $3 million in cash. In another deal, New York unloaded the expiring contract of Eddy Curry, forward Anthony Randolph and another $3 million to Minnesota for forward Corey Brewer.

Got it? Ok.

Knicks owner James Dolan reportedly stomped all over team president Donnie Walsh to get this done, amid talk that the invisible hand of Isiah Thomas is back pulling the strings.

The abrasive, brash Dolan didn’t push all-in for one of the league’s top scorers with the intention of losing in the first round. We could have some serious, big-city ball if the standings stay slotted as they are today.

Whether it improved the Knicks markedly remains to be seen. It will take time to incorporate new players into Mike D’Antoni’s frenetic, seven-seconds-or-less offense, which looks for the first open shot and tries to maximize the total number of possessions. Billups is a better, smarter point guard than Felton, but he’s 34 years old, past the 30,000 minute threshold, and prefers a more methodical, half-court game. Anthony has always been less than a committed defensive player (either when guarding his own man or helping/recovering), but that trait is mitigated by a system that essentially ignores defense.

Amare Stoudemire has flourished to this point, so it’s possible D’Antoni will be fixing something that isn’t broken. Once the ball gets to Anthony’s hands, it rarely leaves for anything but a field-goal attempt. There will be egos to massage as shot-distribution patterns emerge.

There is one clear upgrade, however, that should concern the Bulls. Free throws often decide playoff games, and the Knicks new big three are absolute killers from the line. Anthony shoots 82%, Stoudemire 79% and Billups an NBA-2nd-best 92%. One of them will always have the ball.

The west-to-east NBA power-shift that accelerated in the offseason continues with this deal. A star scorer in the prime of his prime moves to the league’s largest market, and a heritage franchise slaps a big name on a hallowed building.

Many of us have casually assumed that this fast-rising Bulls team was entitled to a spot beyond the first playoff round, at the very least.

Now it seems another big, proud NBA town may have something to say about that.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: Melo, Knicks Take Aim At Bulls

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here.
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  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Gonna be a lot of fun in the Eastern Conference with Da Boo, Celtics, Heat, Knicks and Magic.

    I’m glad that Noah will finally be back!

  • basketballmoses

    Bring it the f— on, New York

    • scott

      I totaly agree I don’t think they are better than us right now.

  • Glockster

    Dan touched on a nice point. I never get tired of seeing Mike D’Antoni (or VInny Dek Negro) coached teams get stomped by the real teams. If the Knicks lose now, it is because of D’Antoni’s foolishness. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t play defense, you can’t play.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Great comment Glockster.
      I put it this way, when Da Boo play the Knicks (or VDN’s Clippers) at home, it means free Big Macs for everyone at the UC.

      • Glockster

        The summer of 08 really drove me up a wall. I breathed a sigh of relief when the Bulls didn’t hire D’Antoni…then they went and hired Vinny.

  • Pulseczar

    I’d argue that even at 34, Billups is just as big a member of a “Big 3” as Chris Bosh is- just at a different position. One could argue that Billups is more “Big” than Bosh considering Bosh kinda isn’t even really doing what his team expected or was was hoping for him to do. It will be seen if Billups can run a frenetic go-go-go offense, but what is undoubted is that he can still hit very big shots.

    The Knicks and Heat have a Big 3; let’s see if the Bulls do too.

    • AT3374

      What did the Miami Heat EXPECT Bosh to do ? He has two 25 + point scorers in front of him , all he needs to do and chip in some points and rebound . Not enough plays to go around for 3 20+ point scorers .

      The Heat will be fine , they might not win this year but next year they will be even more solid .

      The Bulls RIGHT NOW are still better overall than the Knicks since their half court defense is in the top 5 and finally they have a low post scorer in Boozer and with Noah coming back , they will be just fine . Just keep Derrick healthy though or it’s murder she wrote . .. . .

      Ditka …sausages …Ditka

      • Pulseczar

        Double-digit (or close) rebounding. Strong inside presence.

        He’s improved a bit, but Bosh as much as LeBron took the path of least resistance by teaming up with two other stars.

  • lebasket

    D’Antoni’s style doesn’t work in the playoffs. We’ve known this for years. I don’t care how much firepower his teams have offensively. I’ll never take his teams seriously come playoff time. As for the trade, this just shows you how stupid Jim Dolan is. Anthony has said no to the Nuggets and Nets, if you waited it out you could have signed him this summer and retained all the complimentary talent (and 1st round pics) needed to contend in the East for years to come. Now you have two offensive monsters who don’t play defense, an elderly rental point guard that will soon turn into a hole when he bolts after this year and absolutely no one to come off your bench. Congrats Jim Dolan, you just let Isiah talk your dumb ass into dumping all the young talent you have for a player you would’ve signed in the offseason anyways.

    • Pulseczar

      Yes, Anthony would have went to the Knickerbockers anyway.

      Most of it was the Nuggets didn’t want to get left with nothing when Anthony left. Anthony didn’t want to go to the Nets, so the Nuggets dealt with NYK.

      I don’t see where Isiah made this any worse than it could have been if he wasn’t involved.

    • CW

      You are right on point. Isaiah fouls up another team…congrats to NY. LOL

    • AT3374

      100 % correct sir

  • Murph


    I believe the saying is If you are scared, buy a dog.

    • Larry Horse's Arse


      You made my day with that one, really a classic line.

  • Pulseczar

    Any one else think Stoudemire kinda looks like Kool Moe Dee?

    • Pulseczar

      Amar’e needs the dark Trek Shades.

      Since I’m thinking of Kool Moe now… NYK should name their stars The Treacherous Three.

      Wonder who will be the Cool J to Amar’e’s Kool Moe?

      Forget Oreos- eat Carmelo Cookies.

  • Red

    Why is anyone anymore concerned about the Knicks now than before they made this trade? Good defense, size in the rotation, and rebounding are what win in the playoffs. The Knicks don’t have a single player on the roster over 6’10” and have a 3 man big rotation that relies on minutes from NBA legends like Shelden Williams and Ronny Turiaf. They don’t have anyone who can play a lick of defense and are being coached by a coach who probably spends 10 minutes a week on defense in practice. Their bench makes the Heat’s look average or better by comparison.

    Good trade for New York for the future? Absolutely, any time you can add a top 10-15 player for average starters you have to do it. Will the trade have any effect on New York’s playoff outlook this year? No.

  • bigtime sucker

    YEAH, actually the “old” knicks presented matchup nightmares for the boo, while melo is a heads and shoulders better player than anybody both individually and collectivly that the knicks lost, Deng can pretty much can play him one on one and while Anthony shouldn’t have a problem maintaining his averages, deng can keep him from going ballistic, noah can take amare, rose can check billups but now the boo don’t have to send noah and boozer above the free throw line to check wilson chandler or gallianari, so they can play a more standard defense, this move actually may help the bulls defend the knicks, not hurt them at all

  • bigtime sucker

    i wouldn’t be suprised if the knicks moved balkman and taurioff to get guys who can play on the perimeter at the 5 spot, the knicks do have landry fields still, that’s a plus for them

  • Pulseczar

    Man, every other comment I try leaving gets eaten for no reason. I’m not swearing or soiling the name of WSCR/CBS or affiliates. Frustrating.

    • Pulseczar

      Have to change a word at a time and resubmit after every attempt.

      Can we have a list of the words this blog doesn’t like? This is dumb.

  • Finally Grown

    Wake me when Carmelo plays something resembling defense

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Then you’d better change your moniker to “Rip Van Finally Grown”.

      • Likquid Swordz


        I didnt realize that I was logged into my WordPress account before I hit “submit comment”


      • Likquid Swordz

        Sign me up on the “hate this new blog” list


    The Bulls have only one more regular season meeting this season with the Knicks, and that’s April 12th at New York’s Madison Square Garden. I think Bernsy brings up a very valid point about free throw shooting. The Bulls have not exactly hit their free throws down the stretch in close games this season, and there have been games where the Bulls’ opponents clearly get to the foul line more than Tom Thibodeau’s guys. That’s definitely one big concern as the Bulls start the second half with a winnable game in Toronto tomorrow night and a nationally televised game vs. Benedict LeBron and a Heat team that could be a lot more formidable than in the first meeting won by the Bulls at the United Center last month.

  • dave

    its just really going to suck when darren not deron williams comes the knicks next year

    • AT3374

      Or Chris Paul unless the Count of Miami gets him . Man THAT would be NASTY

      • Pulseczar

        The way their offense is run, the Heat don’t really need a PG in the traditional sense.

      • CW

        Let’s hope he doesn’t go to Miami! That would be brutal for years to come! All they would need is a real center then and more bench, but they would be able to dominate for some years with that addition! Please don’t let it happen!!! LOL

  • Whiskers

    Now we get to spend a year and a half listening to talking heads speculate whether Deron Williams or Chris Paul will end up in New York.

  • Luol Dung

    The goal should be to win a title this year. If you can’t even beat a middling .500 team that gave away all it’s wings and size then I need to re-evaluate the Bulls.

  • Larry

    LD I think you meant that the .500 team gave away all of its weengs


    Even though the Nuggets & Nets initially agreed to a deal just before the NBA All-Star Break late last week, I wasn’t convinced one bit that Carmelo Anthony was going to ever agree to a reported 3 year, $65 million extension to play next season in New Jersey and then become the marquee attraction of the Nets’ new arena in Brooklyn come 2012. Now that he’s a member of the Knicks, it remains to be seen if (1) he will agree to an extension in NYC & (2) what kind of an impact he’ll make the rest of this season and beyond. I also wonder, as absurd as this may appear, what kind of behind the scenes role Carmelo’s wife, former MTV VJ LaLa Vasquez, played in her husband getting his wish and trading in Denver light blue for New York blue & orange. You know she wants to become a bigger star herself now that Carmelo’s a Knick…

  • Jon, Montgomery

    the bulls should trade omer asik for courtney lee.

    i really didn’t think the nuggets would deal with the knicks, but they were forced to because carmelo wouldn’t sign with the nets. soooooo….. melo gets what he wants and goes to NY. i don’t see how this makes the knicks better though, i’d say they’re the same team as before, just now with a superstar player, which would help in the playoffs. we’ll see.

    but it’s amazing when the knicks overhaul their roster it’s all candy and roses, unlike when the magic uverhauled their roster and it was highly scrutinized and it was painted as pushing the panic button.

    choke on a booyahs

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Just a little NY/Bahsten bias at Booyah, huh?

      We really are fortunate to have an independent sports voice in WSCR because the Booyah marketing machine sux totally.

    • scott

      They both where desperation moves IMO.

    • Pulseczar

      I’m not completely disagreeing, but the Magic were a good pick (though not ever a lock) for NBA East conference champion this season when they blew up their roster. NYK is picking up a cornerstone around which to build in the future.

      The Magic also didn’t blow up their roster to pick up a top 10 player- top 2-3 at his position.

      Regardless, we saw what the Magic had and we saw that it probably wasn’t good enough to take the next step.

      Do you think Howard will bolt as soon as his contract is up like almost every NBA “expert” seems to think?

      • bigtime sucker

        doesn’t that depend on what the CBA looks like? i hate speculating on the unknown, if the system stays the same, he probably goes, but if it’s hard cap but with a franchise tag, he probably won’t have a choice. wait until that deal is secured, then predict

      • Jon, Montgomery

        i suppose.

        looks like we have to wait on two major sports to get new CBAs before we can speculate on anything.

      • Jon, Montgomery

        i’m not saying the magic will win the title because of their trades, but i don’t think people realize that it made our team better than it was before.

        the knicks still need more to get me to believe they have a strong future, that will probably be supplied by david stern in the off-season.

        as far as dwight, he needs to be able to buddy-up, and he cannot do that in orlando as it currently stands because of the bad contracts we have. so will he leave? sadly, unless we win the title, he will leave. probably for the lakers, because stern wants to keep them relevant.

  • lebasket

    As the deadline approaches be glad Pax isnt going to give up Omer or Taj to upgrade the two guard. You can always pick up a good two guard with a 1st round pick. Having bigs produce off your bench is invaluable come playoff time. I say stay put and use your first rounder to pick up your Bogans replacement in the offseason. Why rush into a deal now? I can’t think of any “courtney lee” like player who is remembered for being the final piece to a championship team, can you?

  • Pulseczar

    I said before- I don’t want to lose Asik or Gibson for any SG rumored to be on the block. It’s not worth it with Noah and Boozer unable to stay healthy. They need cover at those positions.

    They do need an upgrade at SG too though.

  • DaBUU

    Lil Danny Bernstein, your blogs are great! Keep it up.

    • Lil' Danny Bernstein

      my name is dan bernstein, i’m from deerfield illinois

  • Pulseczar

    They’re discussing relegation in English football.

    League structure in English Football:

    English Premier League- 20 clubs, bottom 3 relegated
    League Championship- 24 clubs, top 2 promoted, teams 3-6 playoff for promotion, bottom 3 relegated
    League 1- 24 clubs, same as above except bottom 4 are relegated
    League 2- 24 clubs, same as above except bottom 2 are relegated to conference play

    Bottom 3 teams go to league under it. Top two teams get automatic promotion, places 3-6 have a playoff to determine third promoted team.

    Top 4 EPL teams also get to play in the Champions League which puts you into a league played concurrently vs the top teams from other European leagues. This also comes with a huge payoff. Clubs that failed to make the Champion’s League can spiral into near-ruin. Read: Leeds United.

    Cup winners (FA Cup, League Cup) and 5th place EPL team get to play in Europa League. There are tie-breakers and next-in-line clubs if a club also qualifies for Champions League.

    Then you also have domestic cups in every major European football league as well.

    Other leagues are different. La Liga, Serie A, Eridevisie, Scottland, France, etc.

    • Pulseczar

      Typing too quickly; meant to take out that Bottom 3 paragraph.

      Don’t think too many people here care about it, but European football is by far by favourite sport.

  • Jon, Montgomery

    well, uncle Terry just gave a 0% chance of Dwight Howard staying in Orlando.

    • Pulseczar

      His logic would apply to any team outside of a major market. Suck for a year or two, get a top pick, don’t blow it, be competitive for the duration of the top pick’s contract(s), lose top pick to big market, start over.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        I understand Uncle Terry’s logic, but it doesn’t need to be iron-clad.
        For example, David Robinson and Tim Duncan had/have had long careers with the Spurs and had opportunities to go elsewhere as FAs but remained in the small market because it fit their personalities. Someone could truly love, just love, living in Orlando and want to stay (especially if a family guy).
        But I understand TB’s point, just don’t see it on par with the law of gravity.

  • bigtime sucker

    i still say, if hard cap/no tag system, howard gone, if hard cap.tagging system howard stays against his will

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