So finally, the New York Knicks have acquired Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets, in an elaborate, three-team, 12-player transaction.
Ultimately, New York sent Raymond Felton, Wilson Chander, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first-round draft pick and two second-round picks, in exchange for Melo, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman.
In addition to this, the Knicks dealt Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Corey Brewer.
Immediately, it seems as though New York gave up a lot for Anthony, especially given that just over a week ago they were discussing a deal in which they would have only given up Chandler, Curry and Randolph for Melo.
However, one must look closely at the deal in order to understand why the Knicks did what they did.
First and foremost, New York owner James Dolan was desperate to, not only acquire Melo, but to keep him out of the hands of Mikhail Prokhorov, the owner of the New Jersey Nets.
And while including Mozgov, their 2014 first-rounder and the two second-rounders seems like a bit much, Dolan probably felt that these were necessary to avoid a potential embarrassment at the hands of his cross-town rival.
Nevertheless, that inclusion is the one part of the deal which I find to be inexcusable.
The rest of the deal, though, makes some sense.
While trading away three starters does seem drastic, they did receive two in return, one of whom is, by-far, the best player in the transaction.
Furthermore, although it hurts to see them go, it appears wise to have dealt away contributors Chandler and Gallinari, if only for monetary reasons.
Chandler's contract is set to expire after this season and Gallinari's after next season, so if the Knicks had kept these two and sought to re-sign them, then they would likely be unable to pursue any of 2012's headlining free agents, namely Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.
Consequently, the team may have been forced to let both of them walk in free agency if they were not included in this deal.
Williams, Carter and Balkman, on the other hand, are all players who New York probably will not deem to be worthy of re-signing, thereby helping to give the franchise that cap flexibility.
Now in contrast to these players, the trade of the younger Felton for Billups, seems to have had little to do with money, as both players have contracts expiring within the next two years.
Rather, it is likely that the Nuggets requested this swap while looking to make room for their promising sophomore point guard, Ty Lawson, which would result in the team looking to trade Felton in the near future.
Now, Curry and Randolph were sent to the Timberwolves simply to make salaries match up in the three-team deal, so the players involved here were largely unimportant to the Knicks trade motivations.
So basically, the Knicks did what they did in order to lock down two big-time stars—Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo—while giving themselves the flexibility to pursue a third star in 2012.
Therefore, the only question now being asked in New York is as to whether or not they can acquire Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard.