Double G 3-on-3: Who Won The Carmelo Anthony Trade?
Double G Sports basketball insiders discuss the trade that sent Melo to Oklahoma City.
After months of rumors and speculation, Carmelo Anthony is no longer a member of the New York Knicks. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick. Who got the better end of the deal? New York Knicks lead writer Andre Oge, Brooklyn Nets lead writer Jason Goldstein and NBA Columnist Ben McDonald go 3-on-3 to discuss the aftermath of the blockbuster trade.
What was your initial reaction to the Carmelo Anthony Trade?
Goldstein: It’s about time. The Knicks no longer wanted Anthony and Anthony no longer wanted the Knicks. As much as he enjoyed playing in New York, it was evident for a while that Anthony wanted to play elsewhere. After toying with fringe playoff contention for years, the Knicks are finally undergoing a full rebuild.
McDonald: Wow! Sam Presti is a ninja. There is really no other explanation. This is a huge relief for Knicks fans who no longer need to worry about the prolonged Melo drama dragging out across the season.
Oge: My initial and ongoing reaction has been disbelief. It’s not enough to say that Oklahoma City was a dark horse destination for Anthony. The Thunder really came out of nowhere save for a solitary rumor that quickly disappeared during the summer. Simultaneously ,there is a sense of relief that I feel that the drama in New York has finally ended.
How did the Knicks fare with this trade?
Oge: In the simplest terms the Knicks did not get enough. On one hand they got rid of a disgruntled star who would’ve dragged the team down throughout the season. On the other hand, the team took in Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott who the team didn’t really need. Granted, the Knicks couldn’t have realistically gotten much more save for maybe Andre Roberson, but even still there is a huge scoring gap that will definitively need to be filled.
Goldstein: I do not like this trade for the Knicks. I know this deal was put together in a hurry, but the Knicks did not get much back in terms of value. Kanter is a nice piece, but he joins a crowded Knicks frontcourt that includes Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Willy Hernangomez, and Kyle O’Quinn. There are simply not enough minutes to go around for everyone. McDermott could be the x-factor in this deal. The Knicks lack a serious perimeter shooting threat, and McDermott can step in and knock down open 3-pointers. If Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. can continue to play well, the Knicks could have some decent wing play to complement their collection of bigs. The true value of the second round pick will not be known until the conclusion of the upcoming season, but I’ll never understand how the Knicks didn’t land a first rounder for giving up their franchise player and future Hall-of-Famer.
McDonald: This is a bad trade for the Knicks in a vacuum but the Knicks live in a post Phil Jackson world. Jackson tanked Anthony’s value. With that in mind, the Knicks should be applauded for getting this done before the season started. They did not get a first round pick but the Bulls are currently the favorites to land the first pick with the worst record in the NBA so the pick they got will likely be right at the top of the second round. Maybe Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry think McDermott is a player and will keep him long term. Enes Kanter is a good player but his contract is an albatross. If the Knicks can move him without attaching a draft pick, they should do it so Willy Hernangomez can get some minutes. Do not overthink this one. It was a great move by the Knicks simply because it frees them to prepare for the future and dramatically increases their lottery odds. This is a move for 2020, not 2018. If the Knicks end up with Marvin Bagley, Luka Doncic, Michael Porter, or any of the other elite talents in this year’s draft, it will be a direct result of decision of the Knicks’ front office to cut the cord with this trade.
How did the Thunder fare with this trade?
McDonald: Presti is going all in with this move but he undoubtedly got the better haul in a win-win trade for both teams. He managed to get another top-25 player in the NBA without giving up a first round pick. Presti even managed to get rid of Enes Kanter’s bloated contract. Anthony also fits perfectly into a team and immediately has the ability to flip into the supporting role he excels in on the Olympic teams. At this point, Presti has managed to turn Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow, Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo, and Enes Kanter into Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. That actually understates things as Taj Gibson also came to the Thunder in those deals but Presti let him walk and replaced him with Patrick Patterson on a much cheaper contract. He is pulling off deals more fit for NBA 2K than the actual league. In short, Presti is the runaway executive of the year for executing this and the George deal.
Goldstein: I agree with Ben. The Thunder won this deal by a landslide. Anthony is not the player he once was, but playing alongside two top-20 players in Russell Westbrook and Paul George should reinvigorate him a bit. Anthony will play a lot of power forward for the Thunder, due to George’s presence at the small forward slot. Anthony is a great rebounder, but that still puts pressure on Steven Adams to clog the paint and protect the rim. I’m a little concerned with the lack of depth on OKC’s bench, but Patrick Patterson, Jerami Grant, Raymond Felton and rookie Terrance Ferguson should fill out the rotation nicely. Ander Roberson should start at the two-guard spot alongside Westbrook, George, Anthony and Adams.
Oge: The Thunder made out like bandits. They gave away two bench players that the Knicks may or may not need. What did they get in return? A proven, perennial, All-Star scorer that might just be the last piece in the Thunder retaking the West. They already have the MVP in Russell Westbrook. They already have an athletic and sharp shooting All-Star in Paul George. Now with Carmelo Anthony on the team it’s hard not to see the Thunder finishing with the number one or number two seed in the West.
Can Kristaps Porzingis succeed at being the new face of the franchise?
McDonald: The biggest part of this trade for Knicks fans will be the unleashing of Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis has continually been stationed at the elbows or in the corner as Anthony isolated. He has shown flashes but his usage rate actually declined last season. That will obviously change this year as Porzingis eclipses the 20 points per game plateau and reaches his first All-Star game. The key for the Knicks will be his ability to play as the lone big man. The trade temporarily disrupts any ability for Coach Jeff Hornacek to play small with a glut of other big men on the roster but if Porzingis can increase his rebounding numbers, he could help the Knicks become a modern five out offense and even shift towards the way Hornacek had his teams play in Phoenix. Those factors will determine if he can be a true franchise player for the Knicks but I would also expect Porzingis to get a lot of DNP’s towards the end of the season as the Knicks start to “play their young guys” and prepare for the draft.
Oge: Kristaps Porzingis has slowly, but surely been transitioning into the team’s face since he got drafted. This deal has just made the whole thing official. Porzingis, in his short career, has electrified the Garden and been a spark for the Knicks in two lackluster seasons. Granted his skill and the circumstances that surround the franchise this upcoming season I believe that Kristaps will rise to the occasion. He wants to win and his drive to do so will force him to be a successful leader for the team. At the bare minimum, Porzingis’ actions will help put the Knicks in the best position to win in the seasons to come.
Goldstein: From a basketball standpoint, Porzingis is ready. If he can stay healthy, he is the best player on the Knicks and one of the better players in the Eastern Conference. I think he still has some growing up to do off the court, given how he behaved during player exit interviews back in April. If you want to be a star athlete in New York City, you have to stay level and hold yourself accountable during both good times and bad.
Where does this put the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference hierarchy?
Goldstein: In my opinion, the Thunder are right up there with the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs in the race for the second best team in the Western Conference. Westbrook carried the Thunder to 47 wins and a playoff berth by himself last year, so the Thunder will only improve with George and Anthony in the fold. I’ll be extremely disappointed if the Thunder don’t finish in the top four in the West, especially with the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz taking a step back. After the Warriors, the Rockets, Thunder and Spurs are the three best teams in the conference by a wide margin. I could see the Minnesota Timberwolves also coming on strong this season, but the Thunder are officially back as a Western Conference power.
Oge: As previously stated it’s hard not to see the Thunder finish as a first or second seed in the West. Russell Westbrook was able to keep the Thunder afloat last season, all the while averaging a triple-double. Now that the team has managed to land both George and Anthony, there is some hope that the team will be able to give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money. It is still pretty earlier to realistically place them above the Warriors, let alone as the next Champions of the NBA. This move, though, really solidifies their reinvigorated position as a powerhouse in the West.
McDonald: The league is moving out to the perimeter and the Thunder now has some firepower to help Russell Westbrook compete with the Warriors. Both Anthony and Paul George create the most formidable wing combination outside of Golden State. Oklahoma City plays Golden State four times this season. Those matchups were exciting a year ago but take on an entirely new character now. No one matches up against the Warriors better than the Thunder after this trade and knowing Presti, there could be more moves to be made. Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey talked about raising the risk profile of his team in order to compete with the Warriors as a precursor to the move to get Chris Paul but Presti is living that with moves like this. The Thunder emerge as a legitimate contender in the West and should reignite what could become the best rivalry in basketball if the teams retain their players and stay healthy.
Bonus Melo Content: Click here for a special episode of The Box Out Podcast with Kahlil Thomas and Jason Cordner. The duo breaks down and reacts to the Carmelo Anthony trade.