The New York Knicks may be feeling a bit nostalgic lately as February will be the month six years ago their franchise changed. The Knicks were looking for a shot in the arm and the Denver Nuggets were in search of relief. It’s funny, but if the Knicks knew what they know now, would that deal have gone down?
At the time, George Karl was well-respected in the circle of NBA coaches but he tried to warn everyone about Anthony. No one listened. All anyone saw were the 25 points and eight rebounds per game and the fact that he was only 26 years old. The warning signs were there but the Knicks turned on their blinders and mortgaged their future.[Mark]
But, how could they have known?
Many figured that Karl was just blowing smoke but he knew that his Nuggets could not win with Anthony and he decided to make something happen. The Knicks needed a face. Amare Stoudemire was good but he was coming off so many injuries the Knicks couldn’t solely rely on him to hold up for an entire season. So, the call was made, both teams agreed and no one saw the end results until now.
To be fair, it didn’t take the entire six years to see how this was going to unfold. Let’s take a look back at the players involved.
The Knicks received Anthony and Chauncey Billups while the Nuggets received Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first-round pick and the swap rights in 2016. Wow, that’s a load for two players. But, at the time Anthony was a powerhouse and Billups still had a little gas left in the tank and were in dire need of a PG.
Here’s how the trade looks six years later. Melo and the Knicks have done nothing in their time together but if you’re looking at stats then he has shined. But, the team as a whole has suffered due to his presence. In his time spent in with the Knicks, the team has gone to the playoffs only three times since his arrival. The Knicks have won over 50 games once. His time in NY has been a failure if you view it off the player he was before coming to the Knicks.
On the other hand, you have the players the Knicks gave up for Melo.
Gallinari and Chandler are still playing for the Nuggets and like Melo, they have reached the playoffs three times but hit 50 wins twice. What makes what they have done stand out more than Melo and the Knicks is that they have managed to do it in a much stronger Wester Conference. Gallinari has averaged 16 points and five rebounds during his time with the Nuggets. Chandler has posted averages of 14 points and six rebounds. Mozgov just anchored a Cleveland Cavaliers defense to back-to-back Finals while earning a championship along the way. Felton has jumped teams but he has been another steady player throughout his career.
Looking back, it would seem that the Knicks won this deal as they were getting an All-Star and face of the franchise player but it has not translated into wins. The Nuggets haven’t fared any better but they have managed to build a team around what they received from the Knicks. As Anthony is more than likely on his way out of New York, it’s pretty clear that the Nuggets won this trade and the Knicks should ask for a mulligan.