The ongoing saga and toxic relationship between the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony has reached it’s end today.
Carmelo Anthony waived his no trade clause and accepted a deal to be traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder were one of four teams Anthony was willing to waive his no trade clause too. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, and the Portland Trail Blazers were all trying to recruit Anthony to their team.
In return, the Knicks received center Enes Kanter and small forward Doug McDermott as well as the rights to the Chicago Bulls 2018 second pick.
Anthony will now form one of the most potent big three’s in today’s game. A trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony is just downright lethal. A trio that may even threaten the Golden State Warriors in a potential series.
The move makes the Thunder the clear cut second best team in the West. The Thunder feature more star power than the Houston Rockets and while the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard can’t be counted out, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which they will be able to defeat the Thunder in a seven game series.
This move has continued to reshape the NBA landscape. Has there ever been such a gap between conferences? The West is so superior to the teams in the East. Just looking at the rosters of each NBA team, it would not be crazy to say that only the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers would be a playoff team if they had played in the West. You could easily argue there are 8 better teams in the West than the Wizards, Bucks, and Raptors who are likely to be the 3 through 5 seeds in the East. The competitive disadvantage is like no other.
With that being said, lets break down this current deal further.
First, I want to thank Carmelo Anthony for bringing the Knicks back to relevance during his three peak seasons. The 54 win team brought a whole new level of energy and excitement back to the Garden even though the playoff run ended to the Paul George led Pacers.
Carmelo Anthony was a loyal player to the Franchise and was willing to stick it out until the Phil Jackson regime poisoned the relationship forever. Knicks fans should thank Anthony for adding additional teams to which he wanted to be traded. By adding the Thunder and the Blazers, he was able to allow the Knicks to get a much better value in return. Anthony did not have to do that. He owed the Knicks nothing especially after the way they treated him for the past year. The Knicks were able to get a much better return than they would have had they only had the option to deal with only the Rockets or Cavs.
Now, the Knicks are clearly building for the future. The reigns have officially been handed down to Kristaps Porzingis. It’s his team now, no disputing that.
Enes Kanter is actually a good fit within the Knicks roster. He’s an extremely talented offensive big and a strong rebounder. His defensive liabilities are well noted but the Knicks should be happy to get a 25 year old big man who is under contract for the next two years.
Kanter appeared in 72 games, playing 21.3 minutes a game. He shot 54.5% from the field and scored 14.3 points to go along with 6.7 rebounds. Pretty impressive numbers for limited minutes. Kanter will back up Willy Hernangomez and will be part of a pretty talented big man rotation with Porzingis as well.
The Knicks also got back Doug McDermott and the Bulls 2018 second round pick. It is clear the Bulls are tanking the year and will likely be picking within the top three spots in the second round.
McDermott is also 25 years of age and fits the mold as the Knicks are now trying to rebuild with younger players. McDermott is entering his fourth season and is eligible for a contract extension at the end of the year. He is an excellent floor spacer and shooter as he is a career 39.4% shooter from three. The Knicks would be thrilled if they can receive that type of production this year.
The Knicks did well in the trade but clearly not as well as the Thunder. Kudos to general manager Sam Presti. What a marvelous off season he has had. Thunder fans should be applauding him tremendously.
A year after Durant decided to join the Warriors and abandon the Thunder, Presti had added Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to the roster. Most impressively, he did it without giving up key assets.
The Thunder were able to get George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. That’s it! He then got Melo for Kanter, McDermott and a second rounder. Fantastic job! You can argue Presti has already won executive of the year and the season has not even started!
All in all this was a win-win for the both franchises. The Knicks were able to move on, acquire assets for the future and likely secure a top 7 pick in a loaded draft class while the Thunder elevated themselves to the NBA elite.
The trade also showed the Knicks may have finally found a competent GM in Scott Perry. Perry had a solid offseason after taking over the dumpster fire Phil Jackson had left behind.
To make things better, the two teams open the season against one another as the Knicks will visit Oklahoma City on October 19th! God Bless the NBA.