NEW YORK, NY – It’s official, Carmelo Anthony is no longer a New York Knick. The Knicks shipped the 10x All-Star forward to join reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and 4x All-Star Paul George in Oklahoma City, where the three hope to start a new chapter of winning in their careers.
Whether it was former President of Basketball Operations, Phil Jackson, going at Anthony on Twitter, or the organization failing to get him the help he needed to win, we all knew it was inevitable that this seven-year relationship would end.
However, one thing we didn’t know is that the Knicks would get next to nothing in return for Anthony. In the deal that was completed this weekend, the Knicks received Center Enes Kanter, Forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick in exchange for Melo.
Since Anthony made it known that he wanted out of New York, he had the opportunity to play with LeBron and the heavily stacked Cleveland Cavaliers; he had the opportunity to join one of the better backcourts in the league in Portland and potentially other teams, which we may not know about. Therefore you may be asking yourself why the Thunder? It’s simple. Time.
As we all know, Melo preferred to be traded to the Houston Rockets and wasn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause for any other team. The difference however, is that time was in Melo’s favor with those other teams. He had more time to be picky.
To his surprise though, he made it to being 48 hours within media day for the Knicks before he was traded.
It’s actually quite interesting how Melo’s pickiness dwindled more and more all in the course of one week.
Early last week Anthony was singing the same tune that he had been singing since July, something along the lines of “Houston, Houston, only Houston.” On Friday (T-72 hours), Melo said he was finally willing to waive his no-trade clause to join the Cavs. Then at about noon on Saturday (T-48 hours) reports broke that the Knicks-Thunder trade had went through. I think it’s safe to say that Melo was not too keen of being in a Knicks uniform for media day on Monday.
Well now that Melo is gone and it’s the start of a new chapter in OKC it’s important to remember that it’s the start of a new chapter in New York as well.
This offseason’s most notable signings were G Tim Hardaway Jr, F Michael Beasley and G Jarrett Jack. Signing those three guys in addition to the rookie, Frank Ntilikina, means one thing. Kristaps Porzingis is now officially the face of the franchise.
The 7’3” Latvian forward averaged 18.1 PPG and 7.2 RPG last year in 66 games, and according to him, has added to his repertoire this offseason.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” said Porzingis. “I’ve been preparing myself for this moment.”
With so many new faces on the roster, we don’t know what the starting lineup will look like yet, but it will most likely be Jarrett Jack, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter.
For the three new faces in the lineup, last season Hardaway Jr. averaged 14.5 PPG, and shot 45% from the field. Jack’s last full year in the league (2014-15) he averaged 12.0 PPG and 4.7 APG. Kanter averaged 14.3 PPG, grabbed 6.7 RPG and shot 54.5 % from the field.
Lastly, since none of these players are defensive maestros that doesn’t make Hornacek’s job of getting the Knicks to improve defensively any easier. However as far as offense is concerned everyone on the roster will be starting fresh because Hornacek couldn’t implement his own offense last year, because he was restricted to the triangle offense, which is slower paced than what he likes to run.
So that’s one thing the Knicks have to look forward to, all starting off on the same page.
After all the team may have more tricks up its sleeve before opening night in OKC. You never know.