The Carmelo Anthony saga has officially come to an end in New York. The Knicks have agreed to terms on a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The teams will swap Carmelo Anthony for Enes Kanter, Doug Mcdermott, and a second-round draft pick.
The Knicks have been trying to unload Anthony for almost a year now, starting with the vendetta that former Team President, Phil Jackson had against him.
Carmelo has played on the Knicks for six and a half seasons, made the All-Star team each year, and averaged 24.7 points over his New York Knicks career. He was supposed to be the key piece in the turnaround of the Knicks franchise, but was unable to lead the team to glory. Years of mediocrity led the Knicks brass to believe that they are better off without the future Hall-of-Famer.
As Carmelo’s career is now closer to the end, he certainly wants to be on a playoff contender and now he will be moved to one of the many super-teams in the NBA. Carmelo will be playing alongside the reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook, the former face of the Indiana Pacers, Paul George, and rising star Steve Adams.
This trade comes as a complete shock to both fan bases because, as of last night, the only two teams that Carmelo was openly willing to waive his no-trade clause for were the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Houston Rockets. This is a trade that is seemingly a win-win for both organizations.
For the Knicks, they bring in two solid role players to help build around their franchise player Kristaps Porzingis and they have finally gotten rid of Carmelo Anthony and his huge contract. The Knicks starting lineup will now be solid and Porzingis will be the leader of the offense.
The Knicks starting lineup will now be something like this: PG Ntilikina SG Hardaway SF Kuzminskas PF Porzingis C Kanter, with Mcdermott coming off the bench. Is it a championship lineup? No, but they are in an extremely weak Eastern Conference and can probably compete for a low seed in the playoffs.
Moving Carmelo Anthony will also open up a lot of cap space for the Knicks after this season as Enes Kanter has an 18.6 million dollar player option for next season that he may choose to decline in order to get a bigger contract. Mcdermott also has a 4.5 million dollar team option for next season and if the Knicks decline it they will have enough cap space to sign one or two top-tier free agents.
For the Thunder, they got to witness just how good Westbrook is this past season and that he is the leader of the team. They also saw how poor the team around him was when Westbrook was not on the floor the offense, which was embarrassing to watch.
This trade is now their second in the offseason to acquire a star, as they previously traded for Paul George. The Thunder did not give up much to get Carmelo in this deal, although both Mcdermott and Kanter are good players, Mcdermott was only with the Thunder for the second half and barely contributed. Kanter is a great offensive contributor, scoring 12 points per game, while averaging just 21 minutes a game. However, he was on the court less than half of each game, so his sizable contract isn’t exactly worth the output he had the past two years.
Paul George and Carmelo have extensive experience in leading an offense, so it is apparent that Westbrook now has the backup he needs to have a top-tier offense. The Thunder have three stars, but their bench is extremely weak, so they may have at least one of their three stars on the court at all times.
As per usual with blockbuster deals like this, time will tell how this deal plays out. One thing is for sure though: Kristaps Porzingis has become the face of the franchise in the foreseable future for the New York Knicks.