The New York Knicks didn’t get LeBron James this past offseason, and their fans were none to happy about it. And during this current season, fans have been teased by on again, off again rumors of the other big name draft pick from the class of 2003 coming to the big city, Denver Nuggets scorer Carmelo Anthony.
Over the last 12 hours or so, a deal finally got done and Anthony is indeed heading to the Knicks as part of an insane three-team deal involving 12 players (six from the Knicks, five from Denver and one from Minnesota).
What they got in its deal with the Nuggets is the following: Anthony and veteran and championship-experienced point guard Chauncey Billups from Denver, and Corey Brewer from the Minnesota Timberwolves (who get Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph in return).
What the Knicks gave up: their second, third and fourth-leading scorers in Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and 22-year-old rising Italian baller Danilo Gallinari to Denver, along with Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first round draft pick, some cash ($3 million) and a couple of second round draft picks. To refill the Knicks bench, Denver also sent them Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.
Though the deal with the Wolves was a good get, the Knicks gave up a lot to Denver, a bit too much if you ask me. But after a year of rumors and broken down talks involving everyone from the Knicks to the Nets and even the Lakers, it had to be done and the NBA world (and Anthony) can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief.
The Knicks are trying to build a perennial playoff team around Anthony and Stoudemire, and also set the stage for more possible big name free agent signings over the next couple of years (when the likes of Deron Williams and Dwight Howard will be among the high class of free agents). The problem is going to be that about $40 million of the Knicks team salary will be tied up between Stoudemire and Anthony. And because of that and the uncertainly of what will happen regarding the league talks on a new collective bargaining agreement, luring more talent to come to the Big Apple to support the superstars will be tough (just as it was with Miami once it acquired Chris Bosh and LeBron).
For now, the Knicks, as if it wasn’t clear before, are a totally offensive-minded team now just as it was before the trade, but with a couple of more playoff-experienced players in Anthony and Billups. This Mike D’Antoni-led team will be even more exciting to watch now that Carmelo Anthony (and his 25 points and 7.6 rebounds per game) is in town, but they aren’t ready to make a serious run as a top team in the Eastern Conference, let alone an NBA title. Why? Because of the lack of defense.
The reason (my hometown) Celtics (squad) and Lakers win is because players like Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo combine exciting offense with clutch perimeter defense, while in the box, combos like Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins for the C’s and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum of the Lakers, shut down opposing star-studded offenses. D’Antoni-lead teams in Phoenix, exciting as they were a few years ago with Steve Nash and Stoudemire, never won it all because they didn’t have that balance. And I don’t see his Knicks squad attaining it anytime soon.
Are the Knicks better than the Celtics, Heat and Orlando Magic? Not even close. Heck, I don’t think its roster is stronger top to bottom than the Atlanta Hawks.
Knicks fans, keep enjoying the high-flying basketball you’ve been seeing all year, but get ready for some growing pains as the new studs come to town. You’re still a long ways away from seriously being a title contender of any kind.
Photo credit: Life.com