Knicks reportedly trade Carmelo Anthony to OKC Thunder: Takeaways
The Knicks unload Melo, sending their star to OKC for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a pick
The deal is only agreed upon at the moment, but the expectation is it will officially go through on Monday after the trade call is complete by then. Anthony will waive his no-trade clause to allow the trade go through. The Thunder add another superstar in what has been a crazy offseason for them while the Knicks finally put an end to a very dramatic era of basketball.
This is a massive change of events that have taken place in merely a few days. The Knicks didn't want Anthony to be with the team during training camp and Anthony agreed knowing that it would only make an already awkward situation worse. However, Anthony originally refused to waive his no-trade clause for anybody but the Rockets. In recent days, he , the Thunder and Cavaliers. Obviously, the Thunder won the ensuing sprint for Anthony.
This creates a really interesting power shift across the NBA. The Knicks were probably not going to be very good even with Anthony, but now they can move on and build toward a new future around Kristaps Porzingis. The Thunder, however, have added another star next to Paul George and Russell Westbrook that should vault them into contender status.
Here are some takeaways from this blockbuster trade:
The Thunder are contenders
The immediate takeaway is that this removes any questions on if the Thunder should be considered contenders next season. They have the reigning MVP, a star player who led some very good Pacers teams and now one of the best scorers ever on the same team. That's three superstar talents all together with nothing to prove but a championship. Whether it works or not is a question worth asking, but as of right now they should be considered contenders until proven otherwise.
OKC has an out
There is a possibility that none of this works and the Thunder have to push the reset button while they watch all the stars they've acquired walk to new teams. However, if that ends up being the case then they've built themselves a pretty brilliant out to easily transition to a reset. Anthony has two years left on his contract with a player option for the final year. Westbrook and George are in the same position. If the three want to give themselves two years to make it work then they can do that. If not, then they can all opt out and leave the Thunder with massive cap space to begin building a new team however they see fit. There's flexibility here not many teams have.
The Porzingis era is now
With Anthony on his way to OKC, the Knicks' new era of basketball begins now with the face being Kristaps Porzingis. He's their best young prospect in years and New York has made him practically untouchable at this point. It's clear they want to build around him and that means it's his team now. There are benefits and negatives to this.
One plus is that the team will be built around him and made to work with his skills. However, now the pressure of being the face of the Knicks is on Porzingis. Anthony has taken a large portion of both deserved and undeserved blame for New York's failures. Those expectations of success now fall on Porzingis' shoulders and one has to wonder how much time he'll be given to improve and succeed.
Can Anthony change?
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest scorers to ever play, but that has also come at a cost over the years. Anthony has been notoriously unwilling to adapt his game over the years. He wants the ball and he wants to score. That's been fine in New York, where he was the No. 1 option, but with Oklahoma City that won't fly with two stars next to him. He has to be willing to adapt in OKC. The only question is will he?
How this could affect the Lakers
Yep, the Lakers are somehow involved in all of this as well. Los Angeles has been saving up its cap space to make a run at free agency net summer and George was one of the big names on their list. They even got accused of tampering with him when he was with the Pacers. If the Thunder situation works out well for George, or he chooses to delay his opt out to play another year with Westbrook and Anthony, will Los Angeles be able to continue waiting for him?
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