Assessing The Carmelo Anthony Deal
By Guest Blogger Geoff Nelowet:
There has been a lot of talk that the New York Knicks had little reason to make this trade since Carmelo Anthony was willing to sign with them in the offseason, which obviously would have allowed the Knicks to hold onto a ton of assets. I think, though, that it’s hard to really gauge how obvious it is that Carmelo was a lock to sign with the Knicks from the open market. We don’t really know what was said between Carmelo’s party, the Nuggets and the Knicks, but I think it would have been worth rolling the dice. The Knicks have given away a ton to pick up a second superstar, which is generally an acceptable proposition, but the Knicks really aren’t in position to contend for a title in the near future.
One of the biggest drawbacks to making this deal now, though, is that it could prevent them from signing Chris Paul or Deron Williams down the road, and I think this is the biggest issue with the trade. Because Melo will be signing an extension as opposed to a free agent contract, he can sign at the Joe Johnson rate, which could be the absolute max: 6 years, $119 million. If the Knicks can’t put together a superstar trio (a la Miami, an unproven model at this point), they’re left with very few options if they want to contend for a title. From here on out, they’re likely a 50-win team, so there is no more rebuilding, and free agency is really their only option for getting better.
At this point, they have two superstars, a good but aging point guard in Chauncey Billups who isn’t a substantial upgrade over Raymond Felton, a solid rookie at shooting guard in Landry Fields, a hole at center, and an empty bench. This team is grossly unbalanced, and they won’t be able to afford resigning Fields in 2012 if they intend on going after another star. It’s hard to imagine that they’ll be a serious championship contender, and even if they bring in a Chris Paul, how great will that team really be? The general consensus will still be that Miami’s trio will be markedly better than New York’s, and not to mention the teams that are currently better than Miami.
The NBA is run by superstars, and the elite fifteen to twenty players in the league dictate virtually everything, and when one of those players is made available, it’s sensical to think that a team such as New York would give away a huge number of assets in order to add a second superstar to their team, but this deal just doesn’t make that much sense, and especially when looking at the current NBA landscape. The Knicks could be a much better situation if they cultivated their young talent over the next two seasons and waited for 2012 in hopes of luring a Dwight Howard and maybe even a Chris Paul as well. Putting Dwight Howard with any other superstar equates to a championship team. Giving away your bench and all meaningful role players to play two or three-on-five basketball really won’t cut it, and the Miami Heat at this point look like a very good team but with very little chance of knocking off defensive juggernauts like the Celtics, Spurs or Mavericks come playoff time.
The trade itself wasn’t horrendous. The Knicks gave away a bit too much, but my issues lies with their desire to trade for Carmelo Anthony in the first place. Their roster is not equipped for him, and they’d be in substantially better shape if they had waited for free agency to sign him. If they miss out, it’s not the end of the world. They would still have a solid young core centered around Stoudemire and a huge free agent class coming up in 2012.