Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bring Carmelo to Cleveland

Danville, Kentucky -- Folks, I do not speak Chinese. I made a point of avoiding foreign language classes during high school. Why learn how to speak like some foreigner when you could be taking shop class, learning how to build stuff with your own bare hands? Moreover, learning Chinese (or any other non-American language) is utterly unnecessary for a man like myself with no plans to leave the United States (or even the Eastern Time Zone). With jobs rapidly returning to the United States thanks to Trump, there is no longer any business rationale for learning the tongue of Middle Kingdom either.

Yet, there is one word from the Chinese language that every American should know and internalize: 危机.

This is the Chinese word for "crisis." It is composed of two characters; the character that signifies "danger" and the character that signifies "opportunity." Out of crisis comes opportunity.

Folks, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in crisis. Kevin Love blew out his knee. He will likely miss the rest of the regular season. When he returns he may be a hollow shell of himself, representing a huge question mark for the Cavaliers as they attempt to defend their NBA title. The last thing the Cavaliers need is for one of their key pieces to be hobbled as they make a push for a second consecutive NBA championship against a formidable Golden State Warriors team that has added the traitorous but highly talented Kevin Durant. The Warriors cared more about breaking regular season records than winning rings last year, but that might not be the case in 2017. The Cavaliers will need to be at full strength. They need Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks.

Folks, Carmelo has already replaced the injured Kevin Love on the Eastern Conference All Star team. It's time for him to take Love's spot on the Cavaliers' roster as well. You have to fight fire with fire. The Warriors think adding Durant gives them an advantage? The Cavs should re-raise by acquiring Melo, one of the league's premier scoring threats.

It makes too much sense, folks. Carmelo has played in blue states like Colorado and New York his entire career, a sad reality that has limited his potential. Playing in a hard-working red state like Ohio would be a welcome change of scenery.

Mr. Anthony is a three time Olympic gold-medalist and a patriot. He led the Syracuse Orangemen to an NCAA title en route to becoming the NCAA Tournament's "Most Outstanding Player" in 2003, a simpler year when nobody had heard of kale or quinoa. Carmelo guided his college team to a title; when Kevin Love's UCLA Bruins lost in the Final Four, he abandoned ship. I know which guy I'd rather call my teammate.

In addition, playing in Cleveland would fix many of Carmelo's chemistry issues. He would no longer be playing in the shadow of the tyrannical Phil Jackson. Jackson keeps trying to change Melo, to turn him into a player he's not. Folks, as a man who has been divorced four times, let me tell you that people are who are they are. For a relationship to work, you have to accept your partner unconditionally, faults included. If you try to change people, you'll only bring misery upon yourself. If the twice-divorced Jackson had a few more divorces under his belt, he'd probably have figured this out by now. Melo has chafed as Jackson has attempted to bully and intimidate him into changing his game by moving away from isolation plays. If Melo were traded to Cleveland, he'd no longer have anything to prove to Jackson. Indeed, Melo could escape the spotlight - the Cavaliers will always be LeBron's team.

Trading Carmelo makes sense for the Knicks as well. The injured Kevin Love will not help them much in the short term, but in the long term they will have brought a ceasefire to the Jackson-Anthony Cold War while obtaining a player that they can rebuild around. It's time for the Melo era of the Knicks to end; the Ron Baker era must now begin. By trading Carmelo, the Knicks can move past the era of constant feuding between players and the front office, and begin an era characterized by players that simply show up and do their jobs, like millions of other Americans do every day without fanfare or renown. No player better encapsulates this blue-collar lunch-pail mentality than the inveterately gritty Ron Baker, proud product of Wichita State University. By clearing their roster of high-profile tabloid characters like Anthony (and eventually the aging and ineffective Derrick Rose) the Knicks can give folks like Ron Baker the playing time they deserve and bring some heartland-raised common sense to their team in the process.

The Cavaliers and Knicks both face a crisis. The injury of Kevin Love has put the Cavaliers' title defense in grave jeopardy. The Knicks organization faces a crisis of confidence as the war between Jackson and Anthony escalates. Both sides need to remember that out of crisis comes opportunity. Make it happen, James Dolan and Dan Gilbert. Bring Carmelo to Cleveland.