Carmelo Anthony Trade: Just How Far Can 'Melo Carry the New York Knicks?

Keith SchlosserAnalyst IFebruary 22, 2011

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 10:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives to the basket between Ian Mahinmi #28 and Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 121-120. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

By now, news has traveled fast enough for Knicks fans to realize Carmelo Anthony is finally a New York Knick after a seven-month span of speculation that he would ultimately don orange and blue.

New York will also welcome Anthony’s Nuggets teammates—former NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams and former Knick draft selection Renaldo Balkman. In addition to sending draft picks and cash the Nuggets’ way, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov were all sent packing for Denver by the Knicks.

New York also acquired Corey Brewer from the Timberwolves in exchange for Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry as part of the three-team deal.

After the euphoria from the Knicks finally bringing in a second superstar alongside resident MVP candidate Amar’e Stoudemire dies down, the team’s attention will surely turn to building a certain chemistry between Anthony, Stoudemire and the team’s new cast of characters.

As much as the two may be the best of friends off the court, there is no guarantee that type of rapport will translate to the same high on it. Having said that, just the prospect alone of having two of the league’s top talents come together on one of the game’s biggest stages in Madison Square Garden is quite exciting.

Though it is Stoudemire, not Anthony, who will still be widely considered the leader of the New York Knicks, the team’s hopes of contending will surely weigh heavily on the shoulders of their new acquisition.

After missing out on the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, the Knicks surrounded their existing leader with a plethora of depth. That same depth was sacrificed to bring in Anthony.

With Anthony finally in the fold, the question now becomes just how good can the Knicks be? Is he enough to get them over the hump and beat teams like the Heat and the Celtics in potential playoff battles?

Given the early struggles the Heat had in getting their new stars accustomed to the offense, it’s likely the new-look Knicks will experience some growing pains as well.

It’ll be interesting to see how Anthony meshes into the D’Antoni-designed offense. While his acquisition was certainly made for the long-term future of the Knicks, Tim Legler of ESPN expects the team to continue playing solid basketball throughout the season.

Should the Knicks match up against the Heat in the playoffs, perhaps the extra time that the Heat have had to perfect their offense and chemistry (as well as having that third superstar on board) will still give them the upper hand on New York.

However, the fresh faces (in addition to the Knicks’ new mix of veterans and young talent—the veteran side perhaps lacking before) may give the Knicks the advantage over the Celtics, should Boston’s older foundation be exhausted and/or at all hobbled come playoff time.

Furthermore, the Knicks have already looked strong against the Bulls this season. The new star-studded pairing, along with their solid role players (Landry Fields, Corey Brewer, Shelden Williams, Ronny Turiaf, etc.) make the Knicks a stronger team on paper. The fact they still need time to mesh as a team is probably the only thing that still holds them back against the Bulls.

Should the new team take longer to build up a rapport than expected, would fans be disappointed if the Knicks actually ended up dropping the ball this season—or should this team be a shoe-in for the second round of the playoffs?

Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, the Knicks’ future is bright with Carmelo Anthony and the sky is the limit.

Just how long it takes to reach the sky remains to be seen—but it's certainly dependent on the new duo’s support, just as Stoudemire and New York's success had been throughout this season with the now former supporting cast.

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