Carmelo Anthony is coming for LeBron James's throne.
As far as rumors about tipsy wedding toasts go, Chris Paul, perhaps the league's best distributor and teammate, is expected to arrive in the next 18 months.
After all, the Melo trade is much more about the future than the present. Before this season, the Knicks hadn't been relevant since the late 1990's when they made two straight Eastern Conference finals and one NBA finals under Jeff Van Gundy.
All year long, a rejuvenated crowd at Madison Square Garden has rallied around Amar'e Stoudemire and a young Knicks team back on the upswing. With the addition of Carmelo Anthony, the atmosphere at MSG is about to go from fanatical to rabid.
This is a hungry franchise; one without a title since Walt "Clyde" Frazier led the team to championships in 1970 and 1973. For the most ardent of today's Knicks supporters, this was before their time.
Instead, this current crop of fans were nurtured on the promised career of Patrick Ewing that came and went without a title. They fell depressed as Allan Houston's smooth mid-range jumper, and his knees, gave way under the weight of his max contract.
Then they grew angry as Isiah Thomas gutted the roster and brought in overpaid and unlikeable stars.
There is no bigger stage in professional basketball than Madison Square Garden. With at least two teams in each of the other three major sports, New Yorkers only have the Knicks to follow in basketball. It is the one team that we all share.
Knicks fans are a hungry bunch, and the organization is desperate for a title.
The NBA is a league that favors offense. In theory, with the right personnel, Mike D'Antoni's system can exploit even the best defensive minded teams.
Carmelo Anthony is among the league's best point scorers. Just watching his highlights tells you all that you'd ever need to know about his game. While LeBron and Dwayne Wade throw full-court alley-oops, Carmelo relentlessly attacks the basket with a frightening combination of power and quickness.
There is no flash; only jump-shots, layups and probably the best spin move the game has ever seen. Carmelo simply likes to put up points, and for that he gets all the attention.
That is, except when the conversation changes to the topic of the league's best player. For that, the attention switches to LeBron James.
How many titles will Carmelo win with the Knicks?
The No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft went two spots in front of Carmelo Anthony. It was Carmelo, however, that carried the Syracuse Orange to an NCAA championship as only a freshman. But the hype machine surrounding LeBron had already been churning for two seasons.
When it came time for the first selection, Anthony was an afterthought.
If Chris Paul makes his way to New York, that may not be the case any longer. Add an elite point guard to the mix, and the Knicks big 3 far outclasses whatever the Heat or anyone else can bring to the table.
As they enter the championship primes of their careers, Carmelo Anthony (26) and Amare Stoudemire (28) are poised for a long run of success.
If Carmelo is able to bring titles to New York City, and prevent LeBron from doing the same in Miami, the paralells between he and Michael Jordan would be almost uncanny.
Both NCAA champions. Both drafted 3rd overall behind a clear cut number one star (Hakeem and LeBron). Both the best scorers on championship teams who made dominant runs.
By winning even one title as a Knick, Melo's status would propel to a level that no New York athlete has experienced since Joe Namath won Super Bowl III.
Perhaps LeBron James was proclaimed as the King too early. If Carmelo Anthony can stop LeBron from winning titles while grabbing a few of his own, it is surely Anthony, and not James, who will go down as the royalty of the collusion era.