What the Carmelo Anthony Trade Means for the Knicks
After six and a half years, Carmelo Anthony has finally moved on from the New York Knicks. The franchise traded him on Saturday to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In return, the team received Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls' 2018 second round draft choice.
With the trade, the Knicks have finally entered full rebuilding mode. Anthony's presence on the roster meant that the playoffs were a priority. With him gone, the Knicks are embracing a full youth movement.
The most obvious consequence of the Melo trade is that Kristaps Porzingis is now unquestionably the man in New York now. With Melo and Rose gone, it will be on KP to step up and become the team's primary offensive weapon.
Porzingis will now be the focal point of the offense. With Jeff Hornacek likely looking to sped up the tempo from last year's triangle-slowed attack, Porzingis, and the team in general, will likely be hoisting up plenty of transition 3-pointers and attacking the rim when the defense isn't completely set.
Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack are the two guys most likely to lead the Knicks offense for the most part. Until the team is completely out of the playoff hunt, Frank Ntilikina doesn't figure to play a big role on the team.
Tim Hardaway Jr. will also likely see his shot output rise with Melo gone. Hardaway Jr. Is the new de facto number two option on offense. If he could extrapolate his 15 points per game last season into 20+ this season with an expanded role, he may prove that his contract wasn't THAT egregious.
Kanter and McDermott will likely see significant playing time with their new team. Kanter will be battling with Willy Hernangomez for a starting spot, but both figure to play prominent minutes with New York. McDermott will likely play a reserve role, unless he can outplay both Courtney Lee and Michael Beasley in training camp to start at the small forward spot.
McDermott is better off backing up Porzingis at the power forward spot. Porzingis himself is actually better suited to play center, but that looks unlikely given the fact that the team employs Joakim Noah, Kyle O'Quinn, Kanter and Hernangomez.
This Knicks roster has good depth, but will be relying too much on unproven commodities. If Porzingis and Hardaway prove that they can lead a team, the Knicks have a chance, albeit slim, to nab a playoff spot.
More than likely, this Knicks team will struggle as their young players develop. This might be a good thing long-term however. Luca Doncic could be the final piece of the puzzle for New York to finally become a competitive team again. If not Doncic, there are plenty of options in what figures to be another loaded draft class.