Knicks F Carmelo Anthony is expected to waive his no-trade clause to go join Russell Westbrook and Paul George in Oklahoma City. How will the move affect the Thunder and what does this mean for the Western Conference?
The Thunder have just completed their second blockbuster trade of the offseason with the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a future draft pick. In the deal, OKC appears to tend to a shooting problem, letting go of low-post player Kanter and upgrading the outside shooting forward role McDermott played in exchange for a much better shooter and all-around player in Melo. Oklahoma City is able to hold on to young, tough center Steven Adams in the trade, which will likely be overlooked by most but is a huge deal. With the rim-protecting of Adams along with other defensive stalwarts in Andre Roberson and Patrick Patterson, the Thunder really just stretch the floor in this deal while holding onto the players who will take pressure off of their stars on defense. Because the team was able to hang on to several important role players that, prior, I believed would have to be shipped out with Kanter, I give this trade a B+ for the Thunder.
In the Knicks case, they likely lose this trade, though getting rid of Anthony is the right move and first step in their rebuild. The acquisition of Kanter should move Kristaps Porzingis over to center where he thrived last season. The keys to the franchise are now in Porzingis’ hands as the Melo era is over in Manhattan and the young Latvian stud is now the first option whenever he’s out there. The ridding of Anthony now opens up trade deadline options for New York. Michael Beasley, Courtney Lee, and Kyle O’Quinn should be on the trade block come February as contenders will be looking for role players to bring in to help come playoff time. This also means opportunities for young players Frank Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez, and obviously Porzingis will be more abundant and we could see the usage of a player like Tim Hardaway Jr. be one of the highest in the East. There are more moves to be made and much time before the Knicks are back in the postseason but this is definitely the right move for the franchise moving forward. The newly hired New York front office gets a B- for this one.