Carmelo Anthony is finally a Knick. Its over. Close the file on this one boys.
Late last night, the Knicks and Nuggets, with a little help from Minnesota, came to an agreement on the specifics of a deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York. The place he always wanted to play.
This is the deal:
F Carmelo Anthony
PG Chauncey Billups
PF Shelden Williams
PF Renaldo Balkman
PG Anthony Carter
F Corey Brewer (via Minnesota)
F Danilo Gallinari
F Wilson Chandler
C Timofey Mozgov
PG Raymond Felton
Second round draft picks from 2012 and 2013 acquired in the trade with Golden State for David Lee
2014 1st round pick
PF Anthony Randolph
C Eddy Curry (Expiring contract expected to be waived)
As far as numbers, this is no 15 player trade that the Nets had on the table earlier in the season but its the best that the Nuggets could get and trust me when I say that they came away with a lot.
I didn’t feel good about this trade as I went to bed last night but I talked myself into it this morning for several reasons:
1. The Knicks did what they had to do. The new labor agreement was the “phantom menace” (stolen from my friend Joel) hovering over this entire proceedings. It was the reason the Knicks were even in trade discussions to begin with. Had this been last year, the Knicks would’ve waited this thing out. But with uncertainty looming and talks of hard caps and franchise player tags, they could not run the risk of losing Carmelo to the Nets who all along were as serious as cancer about getting Melo as the crown jewel when they opened up the new facility in Brooklyn.
2. To get something you have to give up something. Timofey Mozgov was NOT the hold up in the Melo trade as some have jokingly insisted. He was yet another piece that the Nuggets insisted the Knicks add if they wanted Melo. The Knicks felt they had given up a significant amount of their team to facilitate this trade. But nothing comes cheap and certainly not a Top 10 offensive player in the league. Someone who is a threat to go off for 40 on any night regardless of who’s on the court opposite him. The opportunity to combine Melo and Amare was something they felt they couldn’t pass up and something they could not risk.
3. They remained flexible for 2012. I think. Whatever the cap looks like next year, they will have Billups 14.2 mil expiring and Corey Brewer’s 4.96 mil expiring in 2012 and contractually only Balkman’s 1.75 mil remaining from this deal. Money that could potentially be turned around for either CP3, Deron Williams OR Dwight Howard should the reports not be true that he’s got his sights set on Hollywood. The CBA will have a lot to say about how this deal potentially adds up to other pieces to the Big 3 that New York has been buzzing about since Melo’s wedding back last summer.
4. Knicks didn’t lose Chemistry. They gained talent.
The biggest problem I had was that the Knicks sacrificed too much of a good thing they had going here to get Melo. I checked the books again and I realized a few things. One, I’m a huge chemistry guy. I think a team has to enjoy playing with one another to win. Its that simple. Glue guys do that. The Knicks main glue guy was Amare who came into New York and immediately announced to the world that the Knicks were back and then went out during the season and backed up those sentiments with some statement wins over some of the NBA’s best. For all the great things the Knicks did this season, they are a .500 team. That’s not a knock on their talent, its a fair assessment of where they are. Simply put, the Knicks got someone that will put the fear of God in defenses. They now have 3 viable options late in games. Their collective basketball IQ got a lot better. Whatever chemistry they lost, will quickly be brought back with a veteran like Billups and Amare leading the way. Nothing’s changed. This is still Amar’e team leadership wise.
But for me there are still some troubling things about this deal that don’t bode well for the franchise. The architect of the team that just got shipped to Denver is conspicuously quiet and I’m sure that once the deal is made official with Melo’s physical and signing the extension that he wanted all along with the team he wanted to play for all along, then Walsh will make a statement. But anyone who believes that this deal was a Donnie Walsh move has not been paying attention.
Charles Dolan continues to value Isiah Thomas’, the GM that Walsh replaced, friendship and opinion. Its a relationship that is troubling to say the least and with this trade cements Isiah’s place among the hierarchy in MSG. There is no doubt whatsoever that Dolan believes everything Isiah told him because there is no doubt that Isiah convinced Dolan that if he were running the organization and NOT Walsh, that Lebron James AND Dwayne Wade would be playing at the Garden with Amar’e Stoudemire. That star trio would’ve electrified the Garden but what Isiah says is not true.
I wrote yesterday that today’s players are much more conscious of their brand and will do anything to maximize its value. These guys aren’t going to go anywhere just because they are told that its the right move. They will go there because they have decided to. The Knicks walked into that meeting certain that the allure of New York would win over Lebron and when it didn’t Isiah made his move.
Isiah can’t convince these guys of anything just like Worldwide Wes can. According to Woj he’s also a player trying to enter the rank and file of MSG. He wanted Lebron to go to Chicago. They both have no pull or say whatsoever. The danger here is that Dolan is the only one that doesn’t see that. Dolan believes wholeheartedly in everything Isiah tells him and despite having a single brain cell in his head left that tells him that he would be in PR hell were he to bring back Thomas in an official capacity to MSG, Isiah knows he doesn’t need that.
He knows where he stands within the organization. Donnie Walsh wanted Melo. But at a favorable price for the Knicks. I can’t imagine this is what he was thinking. In his mind, he’s as good as gone within the Knick hierarchy and won’t be given a passing mention if this all results in a championship though he should. He’s the reason the Knicks are even in the position they currently are. He brought in Felton, and drafted Fields. He took a chance on Amar’e and his bad knees despite all the worries from doctors and not having the contract insured. He’s the reason there’s a buzz in MSG. He hijacked Anthony Randolph from Golden State which enabled him to make this deal work under the rules.
This move was certainly made with one purpose in mind. This year’s Knick team probably won’t make that much noise in the playoffs but their job isn’t over. Yet another star player is in their sights and so that means Isiah’s influence and voice will be felt. No matter what us Knick fans say or do, it won’t convince Dolan. Isiah knows this and will happily accept the boos and curses on message boards if it means that ultimately he is vindicated by a Knicks championship.
That much I can respect. As warped and twisted as he is, Isiah is convinced that his method will bring a championship to New York and I believe him when he says he wants to bring one to New York. If he does that, great. But his prior record shows that his way isn’t the right way. His way won’t win titles and he isn’t the right man for the job.
The future may look bright for the Knicks now, but let’s remember that the future is uncertain. Remember how sure we were that Lebron was coming? Nothing is promised with this trade. The only thing guaranteed is that Isiah will be in Dolan’s ear and his voice will still be heard.