Amid all of the crazy things going on yesterday, it could have been easy to miss some of the biggest NBA news in…well, a few weeks.
Carmelo Anthony finally has a new home, and it’s not the favorite in Houston. Melo instead has been shipped to Oklahoma City in a shocking trade that saw the Thunder add a second All-NBA player in the span of a month.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 24, 2017
What’s even more shocking is what the Thunder gave up: Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a future second-round pick.
The Knicks have of course been ripped for the lackluster package they nabbed in exchange for the All-Star Melo, but this divorce has been public and loud for a long time. The Knicks had their hand played very early, and appears to have finally just taken the best offer they had.
Carmelo Anthony leaving the Knicks like
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) September 24, 2017
Still, this one stinks to high heavens for the Knicks. Kanter is solid, but he’s decidedly not the type of talent that Carmelo should command, and McDermott isn’t much better. The Knicks are now full rebuild for sure, with Kristaps now running that roster full of younger players (and Joakim Noah).
But over in Oklahoma City, this is yet another incredible fleecing for a Thunder team ready to compete. After watching Russell Westbrook go off against the league last season for a triple double, the Thunder front office saw their squad squashed by the Rockets. Knowing he needed help to compete, the Thunder went all in on a roster revamp, and somehow got Paul George for peanuts and then Melo for more peanuts.
In all, the Thunder sacrificed Domontas Sabonis, Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo, Enes Kanter and a second-round pick for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. If you try that trade in NBA 2K, the game laughs at you. These are major bargains for a team that needed a roster overload and got them in a big way.
Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 7 for the Thunder.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 24, 2017
The Thunder entered the offseason with quiet concerns that Westbrook could be lured away if he continued to be smacked around by the superstar-laden teams around the Western Conference. So, as the summer started, the Thunder looked at ways to beef their roster, but I doubt they imagined it would look like this.
With George and Anthony, the Thunder have fixed their wing scoring problem, pairing Russ with two high volume scorers that can let it fly from distance, something he’s lacked in his time without Durant. Now, they’ve got a long and talented starting lineup with Russ, Roberson, Melo, PG and Steven Adams.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) September 24, 2017
That’s a lineup that, on paper, looks like it can compete with the better rosters in the West. But is it moving OKC? The Rockets still look like a better team, and obviously so do the Warriors. But this move does match them up better with the Spurs, and could make them the clear number three team out West.
The question now shifts to how these stars can coexist together. It’s apparent that they like each other, with Melo declining his no-trade clause to come to OKC and pair up with George and Westbrook in the first place.
But on the court, things could get tricky. George is solid defensively, but Westbrook and Melo lack that strength in a pretty apparent way. Beyond that, PG, Melo and Westbrook ranked all in the top ten in the NBA last year in isolation plays. That’s a lot of standing around for two stars, and not a lot of movement.
Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Paul George have 20 combined All-Star appearances, more than some other notable NBA trios. pic.twitter.com/U0M3m9NJqu
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 24, 2017
It’s going to be a tough task to make things work on the court, and even tougher to keep them financially together (both George and Melo have contracts that expire next summer), but boy is this thing going to be fun to watch.