It was reported earlier today that the New York Knicks have traded Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the Knicks received C Enes Kanter, SF Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls’ 2018 Second Round Pick.
Does this make the Knicks better for the upcoming season? Heck, no. The Eastern Conference is extremely weak this year. Therefore, I gave the Knicks a slight chance of making the playoffs as the 8th seed with Carmelo on the team. However, I no give them no chance of making the playoffs.
Their starting lineup should look something like this:
I do like Willy Hernangomez, but I like pairing up Porzingis with Kanter better. Ramon Sessions will most likely be the starting point guard to begin the season, but as the season goes on I think Frank Ntilikina will take over. The Knicks should finish at either 13-15 this season in the East. It will be them, the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls fighting it out for the worst in the East.
For future reasons, I do actually like this trade for the Knicks. For you stubborn Knicks fans out there, get it through your head we were not bringing in that much for Melo. He is still an elite scorer, but besides that he does not do anything else well. On top of that, he is on the decline of his career and owed a ton of money.
Any first round pick the Knicks would have received from him would most likely have been in the 25-30 range of the first round. Instead, they received the Bulls’ second round pick that will be in the 31-34 range at the beginning of the second round. The Knicks were find with this pick because of the talent they received back in Enes Kanter. The Knicks were not getting a player of his caliber from any other team. They also received a decent bench player in Doug McDermott.
First let us take a look at the contracts that were exchanged. Carmelo Anthony is owed $53 million over the next two years, while Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott are owed a combined $44 million over the same span. On top of that, Enes Kanter has a player option that can opt out of. If he does opt out, the Knicks can still re-sign him and I think he will be worth less money than Carmelo would be owed. He also would be on the rise, while Melo’s talents are falling.
The Knicks can now say they have a power forward and center for their future, hopefully a point guard as well. A duo of Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter down low may be one of the best front court duos in the league. Let’s take a quick look at the duos who are POSSIBLY better than them right now:
Boston Celtics: Marcus Morris, Al Horford
Cavaliers: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson
Nuggets: Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Clippers: Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Pelicans: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
Wizards: Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat
Raptors: Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
I think most of those are debatable besides the Clippers, Nuggets and Pelicans. Even then, Kanter and Kristaps are younger than all of them. Being able to build around something like that is key for a young team. If Frank Ntilikina pans out then they are set at point guard as well. So, now you have a Point Guard, Power Forward and Center for your future. The Knicks will likely have a top five pick this year too. They can add another young, key piece to their rebuild through the draft. You are looking at four starters who will be 26 years or younger come the 2018 NBA season.
Can this lead them to luring a superstar NBA free agent to New York? Now that Phil Jackson is out of town, I would say it is definitely possible. The Garden is the mecca of sports, so many iconic moments have happened there. Why wouldn’t an NBA star want to help bring a champion to NYC? They would be a legend in the greatest city in the world.
Over the next two years there are plenty of superstars who will be free agents. LeBron James, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are a few. Can the Knicks bring one of these stars to New York? Maybe. Only time will tell. However, as a Knicks fan, I am very happy with the direction this team is headed. Carmelo will definitely be missed as he has been the only bright spot for this franchise over the last few years, but it was time to move on. I am happy he was traded to a contender and I hope he can win himself a title. I wish nothing, but the best for Carmelo. #StayMe7o