Remember that time that team tried to build a team around that one small forward? Sure you do.
LeBron in Cleveland. Vince Carter in New Jersey and Toronto. Turkoglu in Toronto. Paul Pierce in the pre-KG days. Building around a small forward just doesn’t work. You need a dominant center (Shaq in L.A.), a defensive force (KG), or a pass-first point guard who can score (Magic Johnson).
So why, why, why would the Nets want Carmelo as their centerpiece until kingdom come? And why would Carmelo want to go to the Nets? Sure, the move makes sense if the starting lineup in New Jersey is Harris, Carmelo, Favors, Lopez, and Anthony Morrow. But to get Carmelo, it’s bye-bye to Harris and either Favors or Lopez. So what’s the point? Billups would still be Carmelo’s point guard. Favors is a promising player, but not a third option yet. The Nets would also probably lose a lottery pick. I just don’t see the point.
The Knickerbockers, on the other hand, offer a much more promising situation. With Stoudemire playing the role of “dominant center” despite being a scoring forward. We’ve seen that two dominant players can coexist (the Heat). To get Carmelo, I think the Knicks would have to also land Chris Paul in a trade for Raymond Felton, Landry Fields, and a draft pick. Then, they’d have the cap space to sign Carmelo come free agency. The East would be more littered with stars than ever before, with the Heat, Knicks, Celtics, Magic, and Bulls all serious title contenders. It would also cut down the ever-popular notion of the dominant Western Conference (though, likely, still the more powerful) by stealing away two of its best talents.
We’ve seen that two scorers and a complimentary player can exist happily (the Heat are 21-1 in their last 22). Carmelo is equally as good a scorer as LeBron or Wade; Stoudemire has proven to be a force despite playing center when he is truly a power forward (Eddy Curry time?); and Chris Paul would run wild in D’Antoni’s system and dish out 20 assists per game.
As a Celtics fan, it would be scary. But it would also be fun, because they’d be one more thing to hate about New York.