Remember last week when Carmelo Anthony was extremely close to becoming a Net, so much so that people like me were writing about the ramifications of the trade. So much for that… Now we have Carmelo heading to the Knicks, where he wanted to be all along, and the Knicks are giving up a hell of a lot to get him. Carmelo is headed to the Knicks with Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman. Denver receives Danilo Gallinari, Timofy Mosgov, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, New York’s first round pick in 2014, and two second-round picks from Golden State (from the David Lee trade). Minnesota chips in by receiving Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry, as it's being reported now by Yahoo! Sports; the T-Wolves will send Corey Brewer to the Nuggets. (Got all that?)
With the Knicks, it all starts at the top. This deal was run by Jim Dolan, who went over Donnie Walsh’s head to get it done. Walsh had turned the Knicks into a respectable franchise after Isiah Thomas burned it to the ground. Walsh and coach Mike D‘Antoni were not in favor of this trade. Dolan didn’t care and was rumored to have taken the advice of Thomas to get the trade done. Dolan traded away most of his talent, along with his soul and 500 tickets to watch his band play in concert next time they’re in the Denver area.
Carmelo will likely be good for the Knicks, but the initial appearance here is they gave up a lot. Chandler’s a solid player who regressed in the last month as all the trade rumors surfaced. He’s the player I care most about giving up because I think he still has a lot of potential. He may never be the scorer Carmelo Anthony is, but he’s a better defender, a better rebounder, and he is perfectly suited to be a team’s third or fourth option. If the Knicks added a better guard (either an upgrade on Felton or a scoring shooting guard) and a center, there’s a chance they could’ve been better off with Chandler.
Felton going to Denver leaves me with mixed emotions because he was thriving as the team’s point guard, but his future was uncertain. He likely was only around until the summer of 2012, when the Knicks throw big free agent dollars at either Chris Paul or Deron Williams. In the next two years, however, he gives the team a better chance to win than Billups does. Billups isn’t suited for D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense and the loss of Gallinari and Chandler won’t help that either. I don’t think Gallinari’s ceiling is as high as Chandler's. He can’t play defense and isn’t as good of a shooter as he was supposed to be.
Denver seemed to have fully taken advantage of this situation and I think they make off much better than if they had Favors and four first round picks. Once they realized Dolan was involved, they milked the Knicks for everything they could get. Knowing Anthony was a goner in the offseason anyway, they’ve now got at least three pieces to help them stay competitive in the Western Conference in the coming years as they add players with their now open cap space. We still have to see whether or not the rumors are true of them flipping two of the acquired players to New Jersey for future first round picks.
As a Knicks fan, I’m now left with three emotions: skepticism, curiosity, and excitement. It’ll be fun to have Carmelo and Amar'e playing together in the Garden, but I’m skeptical about the long-term future of this team. Anything that has Dolan and Isiah’s fingerprints all over it doesn’t make Knicks fans feel good. Finally, I’m curious to see what other pieces they add now that they’ve lost a lot of depth.
Knicks fans will be left to make an interesting decision with their franchise after this deal. We all hate what Thomas did; we all respect what Walsh did to clean up his mess, and we all are worried when Dolan gets involved. Despite all this, we’re excited to have Carmelo around.
It should make for an interesting few years at Madison Square Garden.