Anthony trade to benefit Knicks

28 February 2011

Written by: Ben Waterworth

The much-hyped trade which saw LeBron James and Chris Bosh join Dwayne Wade at Miami before the start of the 2010/11 season has paid dividends for the Heat so far. At the halfway point of this season, Miami currently occupies top spot in the Southeast division, with a commanding 43-16 record.

Now another franchise has welcomed a star player to its roster and will be hoping for similar success as the NBA season heads towards the playoffs.

As of last Tuesday, Carmelo Anthony is a New York Knick. After months of speculation and innuendo, the Knicks and the Denver Nuggets finally reached a deal that sent the All Star forward to the ‘Big Apple’. The complicated yet blockbuster trade involved three teams, with 13 players, three draft picks and three million dollars all changing hands. The Minnesota Timberwolves were the other club involved in the deal, helping the Knicks clear the salary-cap space required to accommodate their new assets.

Anthony signed a three-year contract with New York reportedly worth in excess of $65 million. Other potential suitors came and went, but the small forward’s long-anticipated move to New York finally occurred.

As a result of the deal, the Knicks sent Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to Denver. The Nuggets also received three million dollars cash from New York to help balance the salary-cap, plus the two second-round draft picks the Knicks received as compensation for David Lee joining Golden State in the last offseason. Along with Anthony, New York welcomes Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman from Denver. Minnesota has taken Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry from New York, sending Corey Brewer to the Knicks.

So what does this all mean?

The Knicks have added a bona fide superstar to their line-up. A player who can guarantee them 20-25 points a night. A player who reduces his opponents’ sleeping time the night before a game. A player who provides a perfect partner in crime to superstar centre Amar’e Stoudemire.

A player who is potentially the missing piece for a franchise that has struggled to rediscover its identity, whilst toiling away in mediocrity, over the last decade.

However, acquiring ‘Melo’ and Billups – the other main asset in this trade – doesn’t mean the Knicks automatically become a championship contender for this season. We don’t know yet if they will have enough quality to compete with the likes of Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston or Chicago.

But that is precisely why this trade had to be made from a New York standpoint.

Ever since Patrick Ewing retired in 1999, New York has been anything but championship caliber. It simply hasn’t had the quality of players on its roster. In fact since 2000, the Knicks haven’t recorded a single playoff series victory. And for a franchise widely regarded as a corner stone of the NBA since the league began, it has been a tough realisation for their rabid fan-base to swallow.

The lack of on-court success, has severely affected the team’s popularity in the cityFew cared about the Knicks anymore. They were a laughing stock throughout the league. They performed poorly on the court, forcing a high turnover of coaches.

The New York Knicks were irrelevant on the NBA landscape.

Not anymore.

Not only are the Knicks now a better skilled team – who currently sit second on the Atlantic division table with a 29-27 record – they’re also a much more attractive brand to watch. No longer do fans have to watch teams like the Heat and the Lakers to be entertained.

Sure, the Anthony trade doesn’t automatically guarantee them a title. It doesn’t even guarantee them an Eastern Conference championship. But there is now little doubt the New York Knicks are on the upswing. After countless false starts over the last 12 years, the Knicks once again find themselves on the road to contention.

New York has acquired a 27-year-old superstar who ought to be in his prime for another six to seven years. With the fact he’ll be on the East Coast and playing his home games at Madison Square Garden, surely Anthony will be motivated to play at his best during the final 24 game sprint towards the playoffs. Stoudemire must also be thrilled he now has two players with proven championship experience on the same team, forming a trio that can match it with any team in the league. New York management also ought to be pleased they didn’t let Anthony slip through their grasp to join one a rival club.

Knicks fans can finally say their time spent in basketball purgatory is over. With big stars, big numbers and a potent, fast paced offense, the Knicks are now the lead attraction on Broadway once again.

Liam Quinn is a first year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. This is Liam’s first piece for upstart.