Yesterday, after months of discussion, the Knicks finally completed a trade for All Star small forward Carmelo Anthony. The traded ended up being a megadeal, with 12 players moving (and oddly, despite the deal being a 3-team trade, all 12 are either going to or coming from the Knicks).
The Knicks ended up trading:
-Danilo Gallinari (to Den)
-Wilson Chandler (to Den)
-Raymond Felton (to Den)
-Timofey Mozgov (to Den)
-Anthony Randolph (to Min)
-Eddy Curry (to Min)
-Knicks' 2014 1st round draft pick (to Den)
-Warriors' 2012 and 2013 2nd round draft picks (to Den)
-Carmelo Anthony (from Den)
-Chauncey Billups (from Den)
-Shelden Williams (from Den)
-Anthony Carter (from Den)
-Renaldo Balkman (from Den)
-Corey Brewer (from Min)
Reaction has been mixed. Some people say the Knicks gave up too much to bring in Melo.
I'm not one of those people.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the top ten players in the NBA today. And he's 26, so he should be one of the top ten players for the next five-to-ten years. He has the talent to be one of the top five. (Bergeronially, LeBron, Wade, Kobe, and Durant are the clera top 4, with a roving #5 that is filled by Melo, Dirk, Dwight, CP3, or Rose depending on the day).
It's not every day you have a chance to get one of the top 10 players in the NBA.
Danilo Gallinari is not a top 10 player, and likely never will be. He's not a top 20 player, and likely never will be. He's not a top 30 player. He's maybe a top 50 player.
Wilson Chandler isn't a top 50 player. Raymond Felton isn't a top 50 player. Timofey Mozgov isn't a top 100 player. Anthony Randolph never plays. Eddy Curry cannot play.
In what universe do you not make that trade?
Billups is an improvement at PG over Felton. Felton has had, by far, the best season of his career, and he has faltered a bit of late. Billups is on the downside of his career, and he is still having a better season than Felton!
Melo is better than Gallo. There isn't any question there. I like Gallo a lot, but he's no Melo and he never will be.
Wilson Chandler was leaving the Knicks after this season no matter what. It just happened earlier.
Mozgov has looked good the past few weeks, but who knows what he will become? Randolph and Curry were just sitting on the bench (or in the case of Curry, not even there).
Which of these pieces should have been a deal breaker in a trade for one of the top 10 players in the league?
Ronny Turiaf-Amare Stoudemire-Melo-Landry Fields-Billups is an excellent starting lineup. I'm not saying it's better than Miami or Boston or a healthy Chicago, but it is excellent.
D'Antoni uses a short rotation of 8-9 players. That means only three or four bench players really get used. Toney Douglas and Shawn Williams have already been filling 2 of those spots. Out of Shelden Williams, Carter, Balkman, Brewer, Andy Rautins, Roger Mason Jr, Bill Walker, and the likely-to-be-signed big man (probably Earl Barron), they can't find one or two contributors? Come on.
The Knicks are much better this season than they were last season, or at any point over the past decade. But they're also much better today than they were yesterday. And that's why you trade for Melo.