For those who are enthusiastic about the New York Knicks' recent acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, I have one question: Do you think the Knicks can win the championship this year? If the answer is yes, I salute you and your optimism. I'll be standing right next to you at the imaginary victory parade.
If the answer is no, then your outlook for the following years should be equally as dim.
Listen, Anthony is a tremendous player, but the Knicks gave up way too much for him. By way too much, I mean they could have gotten him for the fantastic price of FREE! It's no secret that Melo wanted to come play in the Garden—that's why he wouldn't sign the extension with Denver. And no, he was never going to play in New Jersey.
The Knicks will more than likely give Melo an extension before the end of the season. Had they waited until he became a free agent, they would have been able to sign him at roughly a 40 percent discount, depending on the new CBA agreement.
So let's take a look at what the Knicks gave up for the right to pay Carmelo more money and grab him for an extra three months.
The argument will be made that the players the Knicks gave up—Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton, among others—are nothing but serviceable role players. True, none of the players traded away can be confused with a superstar, but they are certainly better than nothing.
Pardon me, I sometime confuse nothing with Corey Brewer and Sheldon Williams.
But wait, there's more! As a replacement for the Knicks' floor general, Raymond Felton, they received a player paid nearly twice as much who cannot distribute the ball nearly as well in Chauncey Billups.
Felton is averaging close to double the assists per game that Billups is putting up. I worry that the offense will become stagnant in the half court. Billups can't run the pick and roll as well as Felton, lacking the speed to take the ball to the rim.
Let's also not forget the fact that Billups is from Denver and had hoped to end his career there, reportedly saying he would ask to be bought out if traded. I don't see him on the team after this season.
The Knicks were also kind enough to give up their two biggest trade assets in Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry's expiring contract. In return, they received the Timberwolves' first round pick in 2014 and the aforementioned Corey Brewer.
They also continued their tradition of ridding themselves of burdensome draft picks, giving up one of their 2014 first round picks and the second round picks in 2012 and 2013, in exchange for Anthony.
According to James Dolan's logic, you can't mess up a draft if you don't draft at all.
So let's look at what the Knicks have left, and their chances in the future.
For those that are hoping for Deron Williams or Chris Paul, be patient. Neither can opt out of their contracts until after next season. Without a true point guard (Billups is a scorer, not a distributor), D'Antoni's system comes to an abrupt halt. Losing Gallinari will hurt our threat from three-point range, although Kelenna Azubuike could fill that role, should he ever put on a uniform.
The Knicks also still lack a quality rebounder, with all due respect to Landry Fields. Mozgov could have proved valuable in that regard had he not been traded. Any big bodied team will certainly dominate the Knicks on the glass. I had been hoping the Knicks could swing a deal for a big man by putting a package around Curry's contract or grab a big man through the draft, until I remembered how much we hate draft picks.
I do think the Knicks can make an interesting spring run and am still tickled by the notion of returning to the playoffs. However, I think this trade leaves the Knicks worse off in the long run. I believe they were swindled into adding more into the deal by the Nuggets and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who said as much the other day.
Somewhere across the river, that mad Russian is laughing at the fools on 4 Pennsylvania Plaza.