The “Melo”drama is finally over!
After a long off-season of public posturing and “Trade Me!” requests , Carmelo Anthony is finally moving on from the Big Apple, as he’s been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a bag of peanuts (Enes Kanter) and a washing machine (Doug McDermott). With Media Day coming up on Monday, pressure was increasing for the New York Knicks to make a move, as there was no desire for Anthony to show up and be a major distraction. (The hockey world is showing us how well that works via Matt Duchene and the Colorado Avalanche.)
There is no doubt that Carmelo is a future Hall-Of-Famer but he’s in the twilight of his career. According to ESPN’s laughable player rankings, he’s not even a top-50 player anymore. His impact on the court, while still noticeable, is becoming less and less worthy, especially as his isolation style is becoming more passe in today’s pass first and shoot-the-3 league. However, this trade will have a major ripple effect on the rest of the NBA.
Here are five ways the Association changes after this deal:
- The West is now officially a three-horse race – The Houston Rockets made waves when they traded for Chris Paul, basically announcing to the rest of the league that they want to step up and challenge the future dynasty of the Golden State Warriors. And for most of the summer, Houston was the rumoured destination for Carmelo, as this was the only team he would waive his no-trade clause for (until a few days ago) Now, the Oklahoma City Thunder have also raised their hand and said, “Yes, we’re in too!”. Over the span of the last couple of months, The Thunder have managed to add two franchise worthy players and have had to give up very little in return. This is what they’ve given up in trades this summer: Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, a 2nd rounder. This is what they’ve got back: Paul George, Carmelo Anthony. WOW! The Thunder are geared up to make a run at former teammate Kevin Durant‘s (and all his social media accounts) Warriors.
- The San Antonio Spurs will do just enough to get to the 4 or 5 seed in the West – Coach Gregg Popovich has to be looking at all this and going….”Yeah, about that regular season…” There is ZERO reason for him to play and exhaust Kawhi Leonard, since the Top 3 is almost locked already. Pops will want to avoid the 6 seed, since that’s a potential 1st round match-up with one of the three listed teams, and a 2nd round with another. Yes, a 4 or 5 seed will line him up with a 2nd round date with Golden State, but a healthy Spurs squad can give the Warriors trouble.
- The Celtics and the Raptors just moved up a seed in the East – Not because they got better in the last week, but they play in the same division as New York. Whatever you think of Melo, the Knicks were more of a threat to win a game with him there. Expect Boston and Toronto to pick up an extra win or two with a weakened New York squad, and that may be enough to move up a spot in the playoffs.
- The MVP race just got even more interesting – Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook doesn’t have to do EVERYTHING now. That’s great for his playoff hopes, but adding George and Anthony will cut drastically into his scoring. He may still finish with a triple double, but his scoring will fall below 25ppg. Players rarely win the MVP a 2nd year in a row when their numbers have “fallen off”.
- LeBron will stay in the East – How can King James look at the West and think “I want a part of that!”. He’s had 7 (SEVEN) straight trips to the Finals. With an exodus of All-Stars from the East to the West, the path to the Finals looks easier than ever. Maybe he stays with Cleveland. Maybe he leaves. But if he does, maybe he takes his skills back to South Beach.
God Bless the NBA off-season!