When there's a trade made in professional sports, we're often quick to break it down to determine who wins and who loses in the transaction. When it comes to the Carmelo Anthony trade, the biggest winner is obvious. It's Anthony himself.
You see, as much as the Knicks and their fans would like to think that it was Anthony's undying desire to play in New York, the reason he'll don blue and orange may have more to do with making sure he got paid, rather than making a return to his roots.
First and foremost, it seems like Carmelo Anthony wanted to get paid. More power to him. That magical three-year, $65 million deal that Anthony was offered originally by Denver is what he'll likely sign when he does finally ink an extension with the Knicks.
And sure, he'll love playing in New York. He'll love playing with Amare Stoudemire. And he'll love playing for Mike D'Antoni. But, for that three years and $65 million, he would have likely loved playing anywhere.
Anthony's not dumb. He knows that the collective bargaining agreement is almost up. That key piece of information is huge. The system seems flawed, and a change of some sort is likely on the way. It's obviously unclear how exactly things will change, but you have to figure that it won't benefit the players. Even successful teams are struggling to stay profitable. The owners won't stand for that for long.
Anthony wants to get his money, and he wants it now. He wants it before things change, or, in the worst-case scenario, before a lockout.
That's why the Knicks seemingly bid against themselves. We heard all along that the Anthony wanted to play in New York. That may have been true, but don't you think Anthony would have gotten used to New Jersey (for now, and eventually Brooklyn), if he got his money? It's not like the two teams vying for his services were polar opposites, like New York and Oklahoma City. In fact, just a week ago, with seemingly both trades breaking down around him, Anthony whispered that he might think long and hard about taking the original contract offer from the Nuggets and stay in Denver.
And while Anthony may have chosen the Knicks this offseason, why risk it? The Knicks gave up a ton, at least quantitatively speaking, but outside of Danilo Gallinari, did they really lose that much? Keep in mind, too, that a lot of the offensive prowess displayed by those trade chips have flourished under D'Antoni.
Depending on what does actually happen with the new CBA, the Knicks will still have a nice sum of money saved up for the 2012 offseason when they can make a run for Chris Paul or Deron Williams.
In the end, though, the Knicks had to make this trade, and they had to make it now. They've made it no secret that they're doing everything they can to grab the city's attention again. This will certainly do it. Losing Anthony to the Nets would have bordered on catastrophic.
Besides, the Knicks learned pretty quickly last offseason that nothing is a guarantee when it comes to NBA free agency. Everyone says that Anthony would have come to New York this summer. But, didn't everyone say that LeBron James was on his way to New York last summer? How'd that one work out?
The Knicks still have some work to do if they want to be considered NBA title contenders, but it's tough to argue that they're going in a much better direction than they were just a few days ago. They wanted Anthony, and they got him. They've now got him as a centerpiece. They've got Stoudemire. And now, they're just one player (Paul and/or Williams) away from their own super team, which is apparently all the rage in the NBA.
Now, if they could only do something about that defense.