Blog Entry

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Posted on: February 21, 2011 11:35 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 9:11 am
Posted by Royce Young

It happened.

Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the New York Knicks. Finally.

This trade finally happening is kind of like Chinese Democracy. We knew at some point it was coming but now that it is, it's kind of a letdown. Carmelo was going to be a Knickerbocker, it was just a question of what it would take to get him there.

Despite the New Jersey Nets best efforts, Melo was never going anywhere other than Manhattan. Through all the posturing, all the leveraging, all the nonsense, we finally have the resolution we knew was coming when Ken Berger reported that Melo wanted to be a Knick way back in September.

The cost of getting Melo might be that the Knicks front office has been doused in gasoline and one little spark will blow the whole thing up. The Knicks tried to say they were unified in the plan to acquire the superstar swingman, but by all accounts, James Dolan may have stepped on Donnie Walsh's face in bringing in Isiah Thomas to backdoor the deal. In fact, the deal has Isiah's stamp all over it -- overpaying as a result of knee-jerk reaction.

However, this is a deal the Knicks had to make. Whiffing on Melo simply wasn't an option. Maybe they gave up a bit much, but the Knicks are better today than they were yesterday and that's the whole point.

Whatever the case is, Carmelo will be donning the orange and blue in Madison Square Garden. Here's the framework of the deal, according to Ken Berger:
  • The Wolves will be sending Corey Brewer to the Knicks, while receiving Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph and $3 million from New York.
The question left begging of course now is, was it worth it for New York to pounce sooner than later? The Knicks have Anthony to go with Amar'e Stoudemire, but with what they had to sacrifice to get the duo, can you really see the additions of Billups and Melo putting New York into the Eastern contender conversation? I mean, a starting five of Billups, Landry Fields, Melo, Stoudemire and (probably) Ronny Turiaf isn't all that bad, is it? Two superstars, a solid veteran point guard, a promising rookie role player and a dirty work center in Turiaf.

But remember: Carmelo Anthony isn't LeBron James. He isn't the kind of player that's automatically going to elevate the player of everyone around him. He's no doubt one of the most gifted scorers in the league and maybe the toughest player to defend in the world. In Mike D'Antoni's system, Anthony will fit better than most think, plus playing alongside Stoudemire gives the Knicks one of the absolute finest inside-out, one-two punches in the league. Still, I can't get on the contender bandwagon. Yet, that is.

We all tooted the same horn when the SuperHeat were formed. Yeah they have LeBron, Wade and Bosh. But if you're going to win, you've got to have the role players. You've got to have the depth. And that's what Pat Riley desperately built in grabbing Mike Miller, Eddie House, Erick Dampier and James Jones. It's a good-enough second unit to supplement the Heat's super trio.

The Knicks on the other hand are dropping four players, two of them young, promising talents in Chandler and Gallinari. Now the depth chart has Shelden Williams seeing big minutes with Toney Douglas, Brewer, Andy Rautins, Balkman and Shawne Williams. Not exactly a championship unit there. I guess on the positive side of things, they finally have that backup point guard they've been looking for. Too bad it's Anthony Carter though.

(An aside: I think Brewer could be an underrated steal for the Knicks. He's a good player that was just never in the right role in Minnesota. He was always pressured to be a scorer rather than playing a specific role tailored to his talents. Now in coming off the bench to spell Anthony and Fields, Brewer can try and assert himself as an athletic defensive stopper, while also finding a bunch of open outside looks in D'Antoni's system.)

I don't think there's any doubt that the Knicks have improved here. At 28-26, they're in the middle of the East. With Anthony and Billups joining Stoudemire, this team is going to battle the Magic for the four-seed the rest of the way. With 28 games remaining, it's not hard to see New York going something like 18-10 and finishing with something like 46 wins, while at the same time being a scary team to play in the postseason.

But a contender? Not yet. That was the issue at hand all along for Walsh. Giving up too much for Melo just didn't make a lot of sense when you were essentially bidding against yourself. The cost might be some tension in the front office, plus a hefty price tag of young talent shipped out to the Rockies.

With a lot of the financial flexibility Walsh fought tooth and nail over the past few years now jeopadized because of the imminent $65 million extension for Melo, how do the Knicks fill out this roster? If the plan is to wait until 2012 to add Deron Williams or Chris Paul, did they really do themselves any favors by making this move now, instead of just remaining patient and making the play for Anthony over the summer?

The Knicks didn't want to take any chances and let their opportunity to land Melo slip through the cracks the way LeBron did. They wanted to pounce now, no matter what the cost was. Yes, they're better. Yes, they're dangerous. I know I'd be nervous if my favorite team were playing them in a seven-game series. Having two top 10 offensive players makes anyone good.

But are they actually a legitimate threat to unseat the Celtics or challenge the Bulls or Heat? Hardly. Just like they were yesterday before this deal was made, they're still a year or two away.

-- For more on our coverage of the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York, check out:

Ken Berger's report on the breaking deal

Matt Moore examines the danger of giving all that power to one player.

Ben Golliver hands out trade grades and winners & losers .

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2011 4:03 pm

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

This deal makes Denver a nice balanced team as well, they acquired some good young players...What i do like about this for New York 2 is that Carmelo is only 26, He has a lot of years its not like they over paid for a 33 year old Vet on his last legs.

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:30 pm

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Me-lo making the Knicks better? I say yes! However, its not always about who you can get, but the talent in a particular category. Take the Bulls for example, they had Rodman( top rebounder ) Scottie Pippen ( assits ) and MJ ( the scorer ). The Bulls of then and the Bulls of now are following the same example. Get guys that are strong in particualr categories. D-Rose is an all around player, Boozer inside threat, J. Noah rebounder and firecracker to ignite something that can not be taught ( passion for the game ). I will not be surprised if the Heat and Knicks get an early exit this season and seeing the Bulls and Lakers in the Championship game. Both organization build the team with legit players on the team and off the bench. Depth is everything in winning a championship.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:08 pm

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Contenders? No but no playoffs? Your joking right? They could go under .500 the rest of the way and still make the playoffs in the East. They are headed to a 6th seed and a matchup with the Bulls in the first round.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:23 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

He doesn't have to sign the extension for the trade to go through, but he certainly will. And no, he has not yet. Bottom line is that this sort of franchise hijacking is bad for the NBA and the pending CBA battle. Well, it's bad for the Union. The owners have had enough of players holding franchises hostage like this. They're tired of the system being manipulated. They're going to break the Union over their knee and take back control of the league, and it's going to cost us the 2011 season. Like, the whole 2011 season. Salaries are going to be brought under control (although the owners have no one but themselves to blame for that mess) and power is going to shift back to the owners' side of the table. The hard cap is going to be in place, so the Knicks better be sure that this core can win titles because there will be no Chris Paul. No team will have three max guys. I wouldn't even be surprised if there is no grandfather clause, meaning the Heat would be in a heap of trouble.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:12 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Here's a question...

Was this a sign-and-trade? I haven't read or heard if Carmelo signed the extension. Did he?

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:01 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

NY Knicks are now the Knicks of the 90s, Amare is comparable to Ewing and Carmelo is a Larry Johnson who scores more than Granmama,  but doesn't defend.

Bottomline is, that team didn't win anything and neither will this one. 

And with the new CBA how are they going to get a Deron Williams/CP3 to play for them?  Those guys aren't going to want to take a pay cut i wouldn't think.


There is a difference. There is no Michael Jordan to stop them year-after-year. The Knicks, like the Bulls and Heat should be threats each and every year. The Celtics are aging, the Magic will be broken up soon and have an imbecile for a coach. The key will be staying healthy, drafting wisely and making solid free-agent moves. Williams may take less to come east. There is the lure of winning and when you win in NY, your walllet gets fatter.

Btw, no one knows what the new CBA will look-like so speculation is just that.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:56 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Sure the Knicks gave up 3 starters(the Russian dude isn't really a starter), but they brought 2 back and they also got a nice young player in Brewer. They also dumped Curry and Randolph who were useless.

Anthony is a top 5 player. No one they gave up will ever be close to that. Felton is a nice point guard, but Billups is better overall and he will be re-energized coming back east. He's a superlative defensive player, a leader and clutch player. I always loved his game. He'll bring defensive toughness that at times is lacking. Brewer is a nice young player who could fit into the rotation if Stoudemire is playing center instead of power forward.

The Knicks also kept Landry Fields which is huge. They now have a solid backcourt(Billups/Fields) as well as a terrific 2/3's of a  front-court(Anthony-Stoudemire). Center is a problem unless Turiaf is healthy. They'll need to bolster that in the off-season through the draft or free-agency.

All this talk of a rift is laughable. Walsh stated he wanted 2 max players and he got them. All that clearing of cap space paid off. I hate losing Gallinari, but honestly, Chandler, the Big Russkie and Felton will hardly be missed. Denver got something with little leverage and if smart can turn that into something better. The Knicks got their guy and now can add a top level point guard to complete the package. If Walsh stays on, he'll get it done.

Btw, all this talk about Thomas is media speculation. He may have advised Dolan, but no one knows to what extent. I do not trust any of these so-called writers whether it's Kerber, that imbecile from Yahoo! or Ian O'Connor. All 3 of them are helots whose knowledge of the sport and ability to write is laughable. Thomas can't return and don't be surprised to see Stern involved and "gently" letting Dolan know that. He's no Bud Selig. He actually knows how to run a league. Also, I'm sure the NCAA is monitoring whether one of their coaches is involved.

Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:48 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

NY Knicks are now the Knicks of the 90s, Amare is comparable to Ewing and Carmelo is a Larry Johnson who scores more than Granmama,  but doesn't defend.

Bottomline is, that team didn't win anything and neither will this one. 

And with the new CBA how are they going to get a Deron Williams/CP3 to play for them?  Those guys aren't going to want to take a pay cut i wouldn't think.

Since: Apr 4, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:47 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

How about giving some props to the Denver front office?

Since: Apr 4, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:42 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?


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