The New York Knicks have finally landed Carmelo Anthony, but it wasn’t as easy as they thought it was going to be.
Anthony appeared to be headed to the New Jersey Nets earlier in the week, but before he would agree to an extension with the Nets, he gave the Knicks every opportunity to ensure that he ended up with the team that he openly pined for in front of everyone, including Denver Nuggets’ owner, Stan Kroenke.
Technically, Anthony didn’t make his intentions clear at his wedding with Kroenke in attendance. Chris Paul took care of it for him when he said during his toast that he, Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire were going to form “their own big three with the Knicks.”
Many people will look at this as just another spoiled athlete forcing the hands of ownership in order to get what he wants. Some may compare Anthony’s Denver exit to the way that LeBron James left Cleveland to team up with the guys that he wanted to play with.
Although it might leave a bitter taste in the mouths of Nugget fans, the truth of the matter is that Anthony didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, he may very well have done them a favor. At least Anthony’s departure doesn’t leave the cupboards bare in Denver the way that LeBron’s did in Cleveland.
LeBron made the people of Cleveland think that there was actually a chance that he would re-sign with his hometown team. In retrospect, it’s obvious that he just used them as pawns in his game and his infamous reality television moment, “The Decision.”
The only thing that gave the Nuggets any chance to re-sign Anthony was the threat of significantly lower wages when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is completed in the NBA. Ironically, the only reason that Anthony had any trade value at all was because of that very same Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Without the Collective Bargaining Agreement issues, Anthony’s public desire to join the Knicks would have reduced the trading partners for the Nuggets to teams that were looking to “rent” a player for the playoff run.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement made this trade much more expensive for the Knicks than it had to be. Without it, they could have kept all of their pieces in place and added Anthony to the mix. Now, with Anthony and Stoudemire in the fold, the Knicks will still need to put pieces around them to compete with the upper echelon teams in the league.
The Knicks have been bad for so long that any big moves will undoubtedly excite the fan base. However, excitement doesn’t necessarily translate into wins, especially in the playoffs.
With two offensive superstars on the team, the Knicks are going to score their fair share of points, but will it be enough? Their two best players can score a ton of points, but they are both defensive liabilities.
The only team in the league to give up more points per game than the Knicks right now is the Timberwolves. It is highly unlikely that this trade will do anything to improve their defensive standing, so Knicks fans should enjoy this moment, but temper their expectations about what Melo does for their playoff chances this season.
The bottom line is that the Knicks will be a fun team to watch, but they will not go deep into the playoffs this year. Ironically, this year’s Knicks may end up looking a lot like the Denver Nuggets of the 1980’s, who hold the record for the highest average points per game in a season with 125.6.