There was just too much smoke to indicate otherwise.
When you have stories of Melo agreeing to expand his list of potential suitors combined with the Knicks not placing their star of six years on the team’s media guide for the 2017-2018 season, it becomes very easy to put two and two together.
On Saturday, the inevitable became official.
The Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick in 2018.
As I woke up, I read the details about the trade and my first thought was “wow, this makes too much sense for both parties!”
It was so obvious by the end of last year that you knew the Knicks were not going to win big with Carmelo Anthony on the roster.
A team in transition combined with an aging superstar is just simply not a good mix.
The Knicks took a player who Phil Jackson was ready to release back in early June and brought back two young assets, a draft pick and did not put themselves in a worse cap predicament.
It’s not an all-world haul, but the trade of Carmelo Anthony is much more about the symbolic shift of the franchise turning the reigns over to third-year phenom Kristaps Porzingis.
The Knicks need to become Porzingis’ team and they will. What exactly they will look like and how they’ll play is another story.
For Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City offers a legitimate hope to advance deep into the postseason.
He’ll get the chance to play with two of the best players in the world in Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and that trio should give the Thunder a chance to have the second-best team in the West behind the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
It’s unfortunate the Melo era in New York ended the way it did. I think back to the winter of 2011, when the Knicks traded a king's ransom to acquire Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.
“I’m coming home, I’m coming home,” Anthony said then, “tell the world I’m coming home.”
Knicks fans believed the trade was the start of something special, but in the end Anthony’s Knicks tenure didn’t result in enough quality seasons.
Fair or unfair, on the night Melo was brought to MSG you expected more than one playoff series win.
The lack of stability within the front office and the coaches and teammates around Carmelo Anthony did not help his situation in any way.
Sadly he was a very good, not great, player caught in a terrible situation.
There were moments of greatness, though. A 62-point game, a scoring title, and a 54-win season back in 2012-13.
The 2012-13 season was Anthony at his very best. A scoring machine who was surrounded by shooters, defenders and veteran leaders.
It was Melo’s best chance at going deep into the playoffs with the Knicks, and the dream of playing Lebron and the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals died on a Roy Hibbert blocked shot.
He never returned to the postseason in a Knicks uniform.
Melo’s game is far from perfect. He has a ball-stopper reputation, which at times is justified, and he’s not a great defender, but the silky smooth mid-range jumper was automatic for so many nights on that Garden floor and was fun to watch.
I look forward to watching him chase a title with better teammates, and I look forward to seeing the Knicks built around their new franchise player.
Melo’s Knicks legacy? Well, it’s complicated.
I will be in London for the week and taking a few days off. My next show will be on Wednesday, October 4, at 10 p.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM JJ’s Week 4 NFL Unlocks (7-8 on the year)
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