New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire (1) reacts after scoring in the second half of the Knicks 115-106 victory over the Washington Wizards in their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Stoudemire broke his own personal mini-slump with 30 points in the victory. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
It's nice to bask in the morning afterglow of 'Melo's return home, but that doesn't mean this new setup will magically cure what has ailed the Knicks for years. Most rational people can agree that this move gives New York its best chance to make a deep playoff run, but it comes with risks.
In addition to the 'Melo Coming Out party, Wednesday at the Garden was also "Legends Night," a nod to former great Knicks players. Hours before Carmelo Anthony played his first game in orange and blue -- scoring a respectable 27 points -- two legends, Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe, reminisced about their relationship as teammates more than three decades ago.
"They weren't even giving [our partnership] a chance, whereas with these guys no one is doubting they can play together, which is an x-factor. We don't really know that," Frazier said, according to the New York Post. "I think we're assuming this is going to be a smooth transition for both of these guys, and we're going to live happily ever after."
Monroe had arrived in New York from Baltimore in 1971 and there were concerns that the new marriage wouldn't work.
"Yeah, I think it's crucial that he does that, take a step back," Frazier continued. "Amar'e has been here and rejuvenated the franchise and [Anthony is] coming in just to be a part of it, keep it going. That would smooth things a lot with the players here, ease a lot of tensions."
"On my way from Baltimore, I stopped at home in Philadelphia and talked about it with some friends, and just realized, all the things I thought I was going to be able to accomplish as an individual player, that wasn't going to happen," Monroe said. "I had to come here with the idea I had to fit in and wait my turn. That's what I did. I see a lot of parallels. He can shoot really well, he's from Baltimore, he wore No. 15. All those things make it a pretty good parallel."
Frazier and Monroe led the Knicks to a championship in 1973, primarily because Monroe was able to tailor his game to fit New York's style. Which essentially meant sharing the spotlight with Frazier. "In his 328 regular-season games with Baltimore, the Pearl averaged 23.7 ppg and 20.1 shots, but just 13.8 and 12.1 in New York." the Post's Brian Lewis writes.
Thirty-eight years later there's no reason to think that Carmelo and Amar'e can't make the same concessions. Anthony admitted as much during his Wednesday press conference. Now it's just a matter of putting words into action.