The Boston Celtics are heading into a new era. The Paul Pierce-Ray Allen-Kevin Garnett era will be remembered more for the bad luck that prevented them from winning three titles than for the one they won. Both Kevin Garnett's injury in 2009 and Kendrick Perkins' knee injury in the 2010 NBA Finals prevented them from winning the title.
Now, they have to look to the future. Unlike New York or the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics have never attracted a star/superstar type player through free agency. No one has demanded a trade to Boston because they wanted to play in Boston (K.G. would only accept a trade/extension with the Celtics after Danny Ainge made the move to get Ray Allen).
That means that Boston needs to be find a way to bring a star to Boston that is already under contract to help bring in other players. Enter Carmelo Anthony.
The biggest problem with the Celtics is that when teams smother them on defense, they have no answer. Kevin Garnett is not the athletic face-up or pick-n-roll player he once was. Paul Pierce can only get by with his veteran savvy against the better perimeter defenders. Ray Allen cannot create his own shot like he once could.
Rajon Rondo cannot shoot, and he cannot hit from the free throw line. Carmelo Anthony gives the Celtics an offensive stud to pair with Rondo. That also means that the Celtics could have enough room for a max contract. Now you could go after Dwight Howard.
If Dallas goes after Deron Williams, then best case scenario is they can offer Dwight a near max contract. And that's only possible if Dallas trades Shawn Marion or Brendan Haywood and amnesties the other. So Boston could end up the most attractive landing spot for Dwight if he makes it to free agency.
For the Knicks, they push their chips all in as Pierce and Allen are in the twilight of their career. In terms of the style, Mike D'Antoni wants to play, this is perfect. Pierce and Allen are terrific perimeter shooters and will allow Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire plenty of space in the paint.
The problem becomes that the window for this team becomes a lot smaller. If the offense breaks down, then you are asking Jeremy Lin to create something out of nothing. That's a lot to ask of Lin, but you'd have to as Pierce, Allen and Chandler all have difficulty creating their own offense.
Also, if the Knicks are not successful in the playoffs, Ray Allen could leave to play on another contender while Paul Pierce makes $16 million for each of the next two seasons. You also have to worry about Pierce's ability to stay healthy and his commitment to New York as he voiced his desire to be a Celtic for life.
This could actually be the most realistic of the trades I conceived. That is, unless Boston is under the illusion that they can go after Howard as they are now or they think they have a title run in them.