In Sunday's game against the Denver Nuggets, the New York Knicks fans gave Carmelo Anthony a standing ovation. Knicks fans are now hoping that they will have an opportunity to do that a lot more often.
An ESPN report, as of December 12th, stated that, "All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony told the Denver Nuggets he won’t sign the $65 million contract extension he’s been offered unless he’s traded to the New York Knicks. The Nuggets will likely get nothing in return for Anthony if they cannot trade him by the Februrary 24th NBA trading deadline."
So now that the Knicks are the clear favorites in the race for Anthony, which still includes teams like the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, what would it mean if the Knicks got him?
The Knicks are currently on an absolute tear, winning eight in a row and 13 of their last 14 games. Amar'e Stoudemire has led the charge, scoring 30 or more points in each of the last seven games.
Although New York is now in a better bargaining position, the Knicks would still have to give up some talent in exchange for Anthony. The trade would likely involve Eddy Curry (just a contract at this point to match salaries), as well as some combination out of Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler.
So where in the Eastern Conference would New York stand with a core group of Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and the remaining pieces after the trade?
Anthony would make the Knicks the third-best team in the Eastern Conference, behind Boston and Miami.
New York's winning streak has been impressive; however, the only impressive win has been against Denver. Two of the wins have come against Toronto, and the win against New Orleans is contextualized by the fact that New Orleans has gone 3-8 in their last 11 games. Moreover, the margin of victory has been slim in many of the games.
Still, New York has a great core and a terrific coach. Mike D'Antoni has finally made the Knicks relevant again in the NBA for the first time in a decade. Carmelo Anthony would give New York a second legitimate star player.
Unfortunately, even with the addition of Anthony, the Knicks would not have the same talent as the Heat or Celtics, and the Magic and Hawks would both be very competitive, as well.
Perhaps Chris Paul in 2012 isn't completely out of the question. It would certainly raise some eyebrows that the league is becoming too top-heavy.
For now, Knicks fans, just be happy that the days of Isiah Thomas and Eddy Curry are gone, and a new dawn has arrived.