Carmelo Anthony Trade: Are the New York Knicks Now Contenders?

Dan AngeContributor IIFebruary 22, 2011

Carmelo Anthony Trade: Are the New York Knicks Now Contenders?

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    Finally! The Melo-Drama is over. Late Monday night it was reported that the New York Knicks finally got their man. In a deal which included three teams and a dozen players, the end result is that Carmelo Anthony is now a Knick.

    Just as many have done already, we’ll break down the trade and where the Knicks go from here.

In Case You Missed It

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    Here is the full extent of the trade:

    Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman and Corey Brewer

    Nuggets get: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Timothy Mozgov, along with the Knicks’ 2014 first-round draft pick and two 2011 second-round draft picks

    Timberwolves get: Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry

    Some notes on the trade:

    - Reports have the Nuggets already seeking to ship out Gallinari

    - Chauncey Billups is moving for the sixth time in his 13-year career

    - Renaldo Balkman returns to the team that drafted him in 2006

What’s Left of the Nuggets?

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    Having the fortunate opportunity to live in Denver, the reaction to the departure of Carmelo Anthony has been pretty calm. People here were sick of hearing about trade talks, so it came as a relief for many once it finally went down.

    However, what Nuggets fans are most disappointed with was the inclusion of hometown favorite Chauncey Billups in the trade. Billups went to high school in Denver, attended the University of Colorado and had two stints with the Denver Nuggets. He’s 34 years old and in his 14th NBA season.

    Second-year player Ty Lawson will be the new everyday point guard and the Nuggets will be left to make something out of nothing for the remainder of the season.

    Don’t be surprised if George Karl walks away after the season is over. Karl, who turns 60 in May, has battled serious health issues in recent years and with a team that looks to be starting from square one, he may not have the energy for this new project.

What Does This Mean for the Knicks?

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    This question is a tough one. Right now, the Knicks are second in the Atlantic division at 28-26, their best start in quite some time. The addition of Melo is definitely a sexy one, but the Knicks traded away practically everyone except Amare Stoudemire. It will be an interesting situation to see how the Knicks can progress throughout the rest of the season with the squad that remains on the team.

What Does It Mean for Amare?

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    Amare Stoudemire has to be on cloud nine right now. He got his wingman. Amare is posting career highs in points per game (26.1) and blocks per game (2.2) but will no longer be the one garnering all the attention of opposing teams.

    Amare was never really “the man” in Phoenix, (most would agree Steve Nash was) but he was “the big man.” He’s averaged at least 20 points and eight rebounds per game each of his last seven seasons (minus 2005-06, which he missed on account of his knee injury).

    With Melo joining in, Amare can go back to being the big man down low and allow Carmelo to be the major scoring threat on the perimeter.

Can Melo Bring What the Knicks Were Missing?

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    Carmelo Anthony knows how to score. Melo is a career 24.8 point per game forward. So far this season, he’s averaging 25.2. By comparison, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are averaging 17.1, 16.4 and 15.9 respectively.

    Perhaps the biggest thing Carmelo Anthony brings to the Knicks is an identity. Melo isn’t one to shy away from the spotlight and he’s now in the biggest city in the country and will able to become a superstar.

Who Is the Missing Piece?

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    If the Miami Heat is any example, then Melo and Amare are going to need another piece to complete the puzzle. Two names are thrown around more than any others: Deron Williams and Chris Paul. Ironically, Williams and Paul were drafted third and fourth overall respectively in the 2005 NBA Draft.

    Deron Williams, in his five and a half years with the Utah Jazz, is averaging 17.3 points and 9.1 assists per game. Williams has helped lead the Jazz to a playoff appearance in each of the last four seasons.

    Chris Paul is the sexier name to join the Knicks. He’s been the face of the Hornets franchise over the past few seasons. He’s averaged 18.9 points and 9.9 assists per game.

    While the statistics may be comparable, “CP3” would bring another name with superstar clout to join Anthony and Stoudemire.

How Will 2010-2011 End Up?

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    How the remainder of this season is going to end up is completely up in the air. Don’t expect them to come out tomorrow night against the Bucks and put up 120 points. These things take time.

    Remember, Wade, James and Bosh had a whole preseason to prepare for this season. And even they got off to a slow start before getting to where they are now.

    However, aside from Boston, Miami, Chicago and Orlando, the East is very beatable. If Melo and Amare can do enough to stay competitive for the second half of the season, Knicks fans can only hope they can really start to click by the time playoffs come around.

How Bright Is the Future?

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    In the short-term, not very bright. The most the Knicks can hope for right now is that Stoudemire and Anthony can become a competitive duo in a very short amount of time.

    In the long-term, next season and beyond, the future is very bright. The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season. That streak will end very soon, especially if they can add a star point guard like Chris Paul.

Final Thought

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    It’s going to take a few weeks, but Carmelo, Amare and the Knicks will begin putting it together shortly before the playoffs. The Knicks are currently sixth in the East, 5.5 games behind Atlanta and two games ahead of Philadelphia.

    The Knicks will hold on and earn a spot in the playoffs this season. Unfortunately, they won’t have the necessary time together as a unit to get past one of the top four in the East—a first round exit this year. Next year, however, the other teams better watch out.

Want to Read More?

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