After speculation throughout the first three months of the season that Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver, he was finally traded to the New York Knicks just days before the NBA trade deadline.
While fans and people around the league were under the impression that Anthony was the only superstar on the trade market, the Utah Jazz shocked the NBA world the following day by trading their star point guard Deron WIlliams to the New Jersey Nets, raising questions of whether the Knicks should have traded for Williams instead.
These questions are valid considering Williams is an elite point guard, something the Knicks lacked, while Anthony has a similar offensive game to the Knicks other star player, Amar'e Stoudemire.
However, when you look at all of the factors, it is clear that the Knicks made the right decision.
With the acquisition of Anthony, the Knicks immediately become arguably the best offensive team in the league, having actually increased their points per game average from 105.5 points per game to 108.8 in the 10 games since the trade.
While Anthony is not an upgrade on the defensive end, Williams isn't much better for his position.
Anthony is set to be a free agent after the season, but he has made it very clear that he would like to sign an extension in the range of three years and $65 million in order to remain a Knick through his prime.
This past offseason, Amar'e Stoudemire signed a contract that will keep him in New York through 2015, so New York is essentially looking at the period from now until 2014 or 2015 as an opportunity to be extremely competitive.
Meanwhile, Deron Williams will be a free agent in 2012, but unlike Anthony, he was unhappy to leave Utah, while expressing no interest in moving to the East Coast. Had the Knicks traded for Williams instead, he may have departed after next season, leaving Stoudemire without a sidekick.
As part of the Anthony trade, the Knicks received Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman from Denver. The Knicks sent Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first-round draft pick, two second-round picks, and $3 million in cash to the Nuggets.
While Chandler, Felton, and Gallinari were three of the Knicks' best four players, both Chandler and Gallinari will be free agents after the season with New York having been unlikely to sign one, let alone both of them.
Meanwhile, Felton will be a free agent at the end of next year, while the acquisition of Billups, whose contract is up after this season, more than makes up for Felton, at least through the end of this season.
Billups is still very effective at the point guard position and can shoot the three-pointer better than Williams or Felton, which fits very well with coach Mike D'Antoni's system.
In order for the Knicks to have acquired Williams, they probably would have still had to trade Gallinari, Felton and Chandler. But as opposed to Denver, which had depth and were able to give up Billups, the Jazz could not have afforded to give up any quality players.
It is tough to make too much out of the Knicks' success since Anthony's arrival. New York has gone 6-4, beating Miami, New Orleans, Memphis and Atlanta, but losing twice to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, in just the short time Anthony has been with the Knicks, he has clearly gotten better. Through his first four games, Anthony struggled a bit to find his shot, scoring 93 points in three games, but on 108 attempts. In the six games since, Anthony has been very efficient, scoring 148 points on 107 shots.
Anthony has the uniquer ability to create his own shot, so the Knicks have the luxury of being able to go to him during crunch time.
Last week in Memphis, with the Knicks and Grizzlies tied and just seconds left, Anthony made a slight jab move, getting a few inches of space, then knocked what turned out to be the game-winner over Tony Allen with 0.5 seconds left
Stoudemire has also played very well since Anthony's arrival, scoring 28.1 points per game in the 10 games.
Although the Knicks will likely have the disadvantage of being the No. 6 or No. 7 seed in the playoffs, they will benefit from the experience of Anthony, who has been to the playoffs in each of his first seven seasons, along with Billups, who has played in 139 career playoff games.
So, while the Knicks don't have much depth nor many defensive minded players at this point, it will be interesting to see if they can make up for it with star power and experience.
But as other players take note of the new-look Knicks, New York will likely have the means to acquire the defensive talent and depth necessary to be one of the better teams in the league in the upcoming years.
Thus, the bottom line is that while Williams would have been a great addition for the Knicks, he cannot compete with the top-notch offense, crunch time scoring or charisma that Anthony brings to the table.
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