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: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:07 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

  The Knicks will take a step back the rest of
year, in fact as long as Dolan is the owner they
will always take a step back...
    By next year Dolan will bring back ZEKE to
GM & coach , Melo will lose interest fast & the
Nets will use those draft picks to be a better
team in the long run.....

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2011 3:25 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Contenders? Cue to Jim Mora voice - playoffs? PLAY-offs? The Knicks won't even play .500 ball the rest of the way.

Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 2:34 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

I really hope the Knicks bring back Isiah Thomas!  lol   WHat a joke if they do!

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:49 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Don't think they can contend, and I'd be surprised if they move up any in playoff position (other trades aside). Just the time it takes teammates to meld will prevent moving up. But then, I think Melo is overrated anyway.

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:28 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Its way too early to look at anything at this juncture but lets take a closer look shall we?

The knicks lose some major size and young talent. They gain a saavy vet at PG, a superstar scorer who is also a very good rebounder when needed as such, a capable backup PG, an underrated C (Shelden Williams was averaging nearly a double double early in the season and did a good job - he is not a scrub as much as I hate to say that about a former dukie), a defensive stopper with good length and some additional front court Depth.

Rotation Wise you have


A Carter
Azubuike (When healthy)
Mason Jr

Shawne Williams
Bill Walker

A couple of wildcards exist here in Azubuike( Capable scorer when in Golden State who does well in an up tempo style) and Brewer a guy who can defend 2 positions and is a decent spot up shooter. Turiaf and Williams can hold their own in the post well enough and you have more than enough role players to make due. Fields will really benefit from having hit the Rookie wall with Melo and Chauncey. He has a game reminiscent of an Afflalo. Again it will take time to come together but if the Knicks can pickup some bodies in the post they have more pieces than you think. Sure they had size before and some nice talent thats now gone but two guys who both require a double team is worth it.

Since: Feb 7, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:19 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

Me too.  I wake up in cold sweats thinking about him.

Since: Jul 13, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:18 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

This year?  They are still at best the 4th best team in the Eastern Conference.  The East goes: 1) Boston 2) Miami 3) Chicago 4\5) New York\Orlando.

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:08 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

They have TWO legit bench players in Brewer and combo guard Douglas. Turiaf is totally undersized at center (you'll hear him called "scrappy" alot in the next few weeks) and has zero offensive game. Melo and Amare are below average defenders, Billups has lost a step (love ya Chauncey). So as a Bulls fan I'm not afraid of the Knicks one bit and neither should Boston, Miami, or even Orlando and Atlanta.


Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:02 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

BTW, Isiah Thomas still scares me.

Since: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:01 am

Melo Trade: Are the Knicks now contenders?

The comment is completely backed by years of experience and statistical assumptions that will most likely prove correct. They are not contenders right away, they have some riduclous holes in their lineup and NO DEPTH. I like the team, but I don't think they will even make the playoffs, but hey, let's wait til they get beat by the C's, Heat, Orlando, and Hawks to see if they can hang with the East...

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