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New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony Recruiting Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo

December 6th, 2013 at 9:18 PM
By Matt Agne

Recently there's been reports that Carmelo Anthony had grown tired of the Knicks struggles and would move on to another opportunity in the off-season. Anthony then denied those claims and recommended not believing what was said unless it was him speaking. Now Anthony's high school coach is claiming Anthony is already recruiting Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo to play for the New York Knicks when he becomes a free agent in 2015.

'Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license:

The New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics are a huge rivalry in basketball. It's New York and Boston, enough said. However, this isn't your father's rivals. Guys on both teams are fiends. They may hate losing to the team but for the most part they don't hate the other players just because they're wearing the wrong uniform.

Interestingly enough, the leaders of both teams happen to have a connection. Carmelo Anthony happens to wear a Knicks jersey now but he use to wear an Oak Hill Academy jersey. Oak Hill is a private Baptist-affiliated secondary school in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. Rajon Rondo is currently wearing a Celtics jersey but he, like several other NBA players, also use to wear an Oak Hill jersey.

Jason Jordan of USA Today reports that their former coach, Steve Smith, believes Anthony is trying to get Rondo to join him in New York.

JJ: Are you confident that he'll be just as good, if not better, coming off of the ACL tear?
SS: No, I think he should be fine. He took a long time off and he's rehabbed the right way. Whether he stays in Boston or not who knows. I know, talking to Melo (Carmelo Anthony), he's recruiting Rajon to come to New York. Melo thinks he'll come too. You never know about that stuff though. I think either way, Rajon will be fine.

Rondo being a target should surprise nobody. In early July, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Anthony was mad the Knicks hadn't acquired Rondo from Boston via a trade.

Anthony told friends after the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade to the Nets, he figured the Knicks would make a play for point guard for Rajon Rondo. Anthony believes Rondo would be the perfect piece and would be super motivated in New York to attempt to knock off Garnett and Pierce.

Instead, the Knicks will return two of their three primary free agents in J.R. Smith, who flopped in the playoffs, and Pablo Prigioni. They didn’t even have enough money in this new CBA to keep their young sniper, Chris Copeland.

In mid-November, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported Rondo was the Knicks number one target.

The Knicks’ primary target is Rondo, Boston’s All-Star point guard who is recovering from knee surgery. The Knicks have been trying to trade Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Stoudemire in a complicated deal for Rondo but the Celtics haven’t shown much interest.

Unless the Celtics are blown away with an offer, it’s hard to imagine GM Danny Ainge trading his best player, Rondo, to the rival Knicks.

Now their former high school coach is reporting Anthony wants Rondo to join him in New York. What a surprise. Anyone who has seen the point guard play from orange and blue knows they need an upgrade at the one.

Clearly a lot could happen between now and the 2015 off-season. Not only could Rondo be traded, to New York or elsewhere, but he could also sign an extension with the Celtics. He could also reach free agency and decide to re-sign with Boston then. None of those are reason enough for Anthony to not whisper in his ear about becoming the Knicks point guard.

That, however, doesn't necessarily mean Rondo and Anthony would be a good fit together. From one perspective, Anthony is in major need of a facilitator who can play defense, run an offense and be a leader. Those are all things that Anthony either lacks or doesn't do at a high level.

From another perspective, Rondo's skill set doesn't mix well with Anthony at all. Rondo is young, dynamic, has incredible court vision and is lightning quick. Those are all positives. Who wouldn't want an All-Star point guard? However, he needs the ball in his hands to be most effective. That's not going to work for Anthony.

Anthony is a very good small forward but he's an absolute monster as a power forward. He kills teams with his mid-range jump shooting abilities. He uses his speed to embarrass slower opponents. He's also strong enough to bang around with post players and yet strong enough to use his size against smaller opponents. He can also knock down shots from behind the three-point arc.

The problem is, Anthony too likes to have the ball in his hands most of the time. Even when he's not bringing the ball up the court or running the offense, Anthony takes his time to decide what he'll do before making his move. He's rarely decisive and definitely isn't going to become a catch and shoot player, that's just not what he does.

'Media Day is not a favorite for Rondo' photo (c) 2010, Aaron Frutman - license:

Those factors call into question if an Anthony-Rondo combination would even work. However, that really shouldn't stop the Knicks from pursuing Rondo and should stop Anthony from trying to bring Rondo to New York either.

What we do know is that Rondo would be the best point guard the Knicks have had in many, many years. He'd also be able to make up for a lot of Anthony's short-comings. Interestingly enough, Anthony could easily make up for Rondo's lack of scoring ability.

In those ways they'd be wonderful compliments to one another. It's likely they'd find a way to play together. They certainly fit together much better than Anthony and Amare Stoudemire ever have.

This won't be the last time we hear Anthony is technically tampering. We'll likely hear about Kevin Love and others as well. However, Rondo wouldn't be the worst choice. For now, this would imply that Anthony intends to be in New York beyond 2015.

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Tags: Basketball, Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Oak Hill, Rajon Rondo, Steve Smith

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