Carmelo Anthony wants to be recruiter for Knicks, starting with Rajon Rondo

Associated Press
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Carmelo Anthony wants to be a guy who drinks coffee. A closer.

The Knicks need to sell free agents this summer if they are going to take the next step forward, and Carmelo Anthony wants to go John Calipari/Nick Saban/Chandler Parsons and be the ultimate recruiter for New York.

Starting with going after Rajon Rondo, he told Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

“I think Rondo — just me personally, I don’t want to be tampering — but I’ve heard he said he wouldn’t thrive in a system like this,” Anthony said. “I think he’d be perfect in a system like this….

“It is a misconception about that. Some of the keys of our offense is penetration, getting in the paint,” Anthony said. “Pushing the pace, transition. Creating in the paint for bigs, for yourself, everybody else. I think a point guard would love that. Especially a point guard who can penetrate, create for yourself, create for others. I think it’s a perfect opportunity for him.

“Put me at the head of the (meeting) table,” Anthony said. “And let’s go to work.”

Is Rondo an upgrade over Jose Calderon? Sure. But that’s a low bar and the Knicks need to aim higher.

A point guard who can’t shoot is an offensive liability everywhere, including in the triangle. Rondo is putting up raw numbers this season — 11.9 points and 12 assists a game — but watch the Kings and he’s not great at establishing and offensive flow, teams back off him and dare him to shoot, and his defense has slipped considerably (Sacramento’s defense is two points per 100 possessions better when Rondo is off the court than on it). The Kings have been a better team when Darren Collison plays (both by the eye test and statistics). That said, somebody is going to overpay Rondo this summer, just watch.

While his choice of targets is questionable, the Knicks do need Anthony at the table to try to sell recruits. Any hope they have at an elite player — Kevin Durant isn’t coming, but more like Mike Conley — will in part be based on that person wanting to play in New York with Anthony.?

The bigger question becomes, if/when those pitches fall short, will Anthony be willing to waive his no-trade clause and help the Knicks (and himself) move on to their next phase? Remember his trade kicker is far more valuable to him after July 1 when the cap spikes.