Carmelo Anthony Officially Traded to Thunder from Knicks for Enes Kanter, More

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2017

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) smiles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Miami. The Knicks defeated the Heat 98-90. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony's strange journey with the New York Knicks has come to an end after he was officially traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blockbuster deal.  

The Knicks confirmed they moved Anthony to the Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick in a team release.

"This is a deal we feel works for both this franchise and Carmelo," Knicks president Steve Mills said in the release. "We thank him for his seven seasons in a Knicks uniform and all that he accomplished off the court for the City of New York by using his platform to address social issues. We will continue to focus on this team looking forward towards the immediate and long-term future. As we have said recently, this is a new beginning for the New York Knicks."

Anthony's stint with the Knicks has felt fragile, at best, for a long time. 

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported in February 2016 that the Knicks had "very preliminary discussions" with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers about a three-team deal centered around Kevin Love. 

Nothing came of those discussions, but it's been apparent the Knicks needed to move in a different direction. Anthony didn't seem inclined to agree, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported in December the All-Star forward was "unwilling" to waive his no-trade clause.

Anthony's stance changed in January, telling Al Iannazzone of Newsday he would agree to a trade if the Knicks wanted to move in a new direction:

"I think it will be more on the front office. I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it."

It appears the time for that conversation came about rather quickly, with the Knicks finding a way to move Anthony's contract which still has two years and approximately $54 million remaining on it after this season, per Spotrac.

Knicks president Phil Jackson told reporters after the team finished the 2016-17 season 31-51 he felt Anthony would be better off playing for a different team. 

"We've not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time," Jackson said, per ESPN.com. "I think the direction with our team is that he's a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship."

No one can accuse the Thunder of resting on their laurels after Russell Westbrook's MVP campaign during the 2016-17 season. 

Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti made arguably the biggest splash of the offseason when he acquired Paul George from the Indiana Pacers. He gave the Thunder a second superstar to pair with Westbrook after the team's bench was exposed last season, especially during the playoff loss against the Houston Rockets

Anthony no longer fits into the superstar category, but he at least gives the Thunder a third legitimate scoring option. His 22.4 points per game last season was more than six full points better than the No. 2 scorer on Oklahoma CityVictor Oladipo, 15.9 points per game.

The gap between the Golden State Warriors and everyone else in the NBA is still wide, but the Thunder have taken steps to move closer to teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference standings. 

While Anthony's tenure with the Knicks will likely not be remembered fondly, it does have a satisfying ending for both parties. The franchise gets out from under a contract that made no sense to keep around given how far away from title contention they still are. 

Kristaps Porzingis has become the face of the franchise in New York. The front office needs to build around him, but due to bad contracts given to Anthony and Joakim Noah, this at least gives them more flexibility to surround their young superstar with more talent. 

Anthony got his chance to shine on the New York stage, it didn't produce the final result he wanted and now he has a second opportunity to reinvent his image with a franchise that is better suited to take advantage of his skills as a scorer. 

       

Stats per Basketball-Reference.com