The blockbuster trade in the NBA that everyone saw coming months ago has finally occurred. Carmelo Anthony gets his wish to play for the New York Knicks, but do the Knicks really win this deal?
Let’s start with taking a look at the full details of the trade:
New York Knicks receive:
Carmelo Anthony (from Denver)
Chauncey Billups (from Denver)
Shelden Williams (from Denver)
Anthony Carter (from Denver)
Renaldo Balkman (from Denver)
Corey Brewer (from Minnesota)
Denver Nuggets receive:
Wilson Chandler (from New York)
Raymond Felton (from New York)
Danilo Gallinari (from New York)
Timofey Mozgov (from New York)
2014 first-round draft pick (from New York)
the Warriors’ 2012 second-round pick (from New York)
the Warriors’ 2013 second-round pick (from New York)
$3 million cash (from New York)
Minnesota Timberwolves receive:
Anthony Randolph (from New York)
Eddy Curry (from New York)
If you determine the winner of this trade as the team that receives the best player, than the Knicks clearly win this deal. But, looking deeper than that Carmelo Anthony is the real winner. Anthony basically forced this trade to happen by refusing to sign an extension with any other team. He clearly indicated he wanted to go to New York and he made sure it happened. The Nuggets were trapped. They had to trade him because they knew they were losing him when the season ended. It makes you wonder, if the Cavs knew they weren’t going to be able to keep LeBron, would they have traded their hero?
The 28-26 Knicks are currently 6th in the Eastern Conference behind the Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Magic and Hawks. Anthony wins but he won’t be winning the NBA championship anytime soon. Does this trade vault the Knicks to the top of the Eastern Conference? No way. I’ll still take the Celtics, Heat and Bulls before the Knicks. I might even take the Magic before the Knicks as well.
Did the Knicks need Anthony? It depends on how you look at it. Of course any team would want Anthony, he is one of the purest scores in the NBA, but need is something different. Do the Knicks need Anthony to sell tickets like the Nuggets did? No, they have no problem selling out home games. The Knicks have the 6th highest home attendance and they sell 99.7% of the seats on average. Were the Knicks missing that one piece to become truly dominant, yes, but at what cost?
The Knicks downgraded at point guard in this deal and they sacrifice future youth. Chauncey Billups is a leader and a great point guard who has won the Championship in the past, but Raymond Felton was playing incredibly well with the Knicks this season and he is eight years younger than Billups.
The Knicks also lose Chandler who was having a great season, but he is a scorer and Anthony is clearly a better scorer. The other players of the deal don’t really impress me. They all have their share of upside, but they clearly aren’t the center pieces (although Mozgov’s upside must be tremendous since he was the player that made this deal happen). The draft picks and cash are going to play a big part of this deal depending on who the Nuggets get.
In conclusion, if I had to pick a winner of this deal it would be Anthony since he was able to get all that he wanted – New York lights and money. If I had to pick a team that wins, its the Nuggets. The Nuggets get some solid players in Felton and Chandler and they get tremendous upside to rebuild with. They were going to lose Anthony anyway, so they get a great package to rebuild with.
The Knicks don’t win for several reasons:
- Anthony doesn’t help them sell-out the Garden (they were already doing that). Yes, they get to sell new merchandise, but that’s not what it is about.
- The Knicks don’t vault the Eastern Conference with this trade. They move up one maybe two spots, but they aren’t winning the East this season or next season.
- The New York expectations are now higher than they can possibly be, and it sets the Knicks up for a disappointment. When they don’t win now, people will be complaining.
But hey, at least the Knicks didn’t have to give up Landry Fields. He is quietly having a monster rookie season.