Finally the Carmelo Anthony trade went through with the New York Knicks successfully trading for the superstar.
It has been widely reported that Anthony only wanted to play for the Knicks and the Nuggets were finally forced to deal him. The New Jersey Nets were also in the hunt for the elite wingman, but in the end, they were simply there to force the Knicks to offer more.
The Denver Nuggets agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman to the Knicks in return for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, their own 2014 first round draft pick, the Warriors 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks, plus $3 million. (The Knicks are trading the draft picks in which they received apart of the David Lee trade that occurred last off-season with the Golden State Warriors.)
Should the Boston Celtics be worried? Time to examine the pieces the Knicks received in the deal:
Chauncey Billups is past his prime but can still play at a high level from time to time. His playoff experience may prove to be invaluable for the Knicks, but Rajon Rondo has a fair amount of playoff familiarity as well. Rondo has proven that he can take his game to another level during the playoffs and should the Knicks and Celtics meet then, Rondo will certainly have the advantage. Billups is a very smart player and has good chemistry with Carmelo Anthony, so the disadvantage won't be monumental, but the match-up clearly favors Boston. There is still an outside chance that the Knicks may simply buy-out Billups' contract, leaving them with Toney Douglas to run their offense.
Shelden Williams was actually playing well for the Nuggets early in the season but has since seem his playing time diminish. Celtics fans are all too familiar with his sporadic play as a member of the 2009-2010 squad. As a fan of Williams, I hope the best for him, but this move won't cause the Celtics any trouble.
Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman were throw in pieces in order to complete the trade. The Knicks traded away Balkman once already (to the Nuggets) and Anthony Carter may also be bought out his contract. If he remains a member of the Knicks, his impact on the game most likely will have minimal affect.
Carmelo Anthony provides the Knicks with another star to play along side dominant big man Amare Stoudemire. Anthony has shown the ability to take over games and make clutch shots. He is a very versatile player and can be a problem to guard when he's motivated. His main weakness is his defense and playing within the Knicks system, it will most likely remain a weakness. Paul Pierce will have his hands full with Anthony, but Pierce is more than up to the challenge.
Did the Knicks give up too much? For months the Knicks have been hesitant about including so many players and draft picks into the Carmelo deal. Denver was eventually able to convince New York in giving up four starting players:
Wilson Chandler plays the same position as Anthony, so trading him away makes perfect sense. He's a quality player but including him in the deal was a no brainer.
Timofey Mozgov is a rookie center who has shown that he has the toughness and willingness to be a quality center in the NBA. He likely won't be a game changer, but his impact on the court is something every team would like to have. His potential style of game will be something the Knicks wish they still had come playoff time.
Raymond Felton was having a very good season for the Knicks and there was even talk of him becoming an All-Star. Felton was clearly a good fit for Mike D'Antoni's fast paced style of play but the Knicks felt that they can find someone else to run their offense. Felton has had some good games against the Celtics in the past, so it is good to see him moving to the Western Conference.
Danilo Gallinari is a sharp shooting big man who has never seen a shot he doesn't like. He provided the Knicks will quality size (6'10'') and was a good rebounder as well. New York will likely miss his production on the court, but Carmelo should have no problem in providing the same things as Gallinari did.
The Knicks also lose their 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks from the Golden State Warriors as well as their own 2014 first round draft pick. Seems like an awful lot of players to be giving up in hopes of building a championship contender. Losing four starters and future draft picks for one superstar player does not seem like a fair trade. The Knicks are already the second worst defensive team in the league and this trade will likely not improve that ranking (although they really can't go anywhere but up). New York finally has two superstars that they have felt they needed in building a championship team. It's easier to build a bench in the NBA than it is to find marque players, so despite trading away so much, the Knicks have taken a step in the right direction.
The Celtics are still clearly the better team but the future of each franchise seems to favor the Knicks. Boston will enter a re-building phase in two seasons (or even this off-season) while the Knicks have two superstar players in place (as long as Carmelo signs an extension).