Acquiring Carmelo Anthony at the 2011 trade deadline was huge for the Knicks, but 12 years out, how did it affect the fans and team long-term?
You may not know it, but yesterday was a semi-important day in Knicks fandom history. It’s the 12-year anniversary of the now-legendary Carmelo Anthony trade! The traditional 12th-anniversary gift is silk, which is fitting for the stylish and silky-smooth scoring once-(and future?) Knick.
In one of the largest trades in the history of the organization, the New York Knicks sent Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a first-round pick, and two second-round picks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman. A colossal trade, it set up a team that hadn’t made a Finals appearance since 1999 to go out and make a swing for the title after bringing back the star hometown kid. Following a few years of finding their footing, the 2012-2013 season was an unforgettable one for the city of New York as the Knicks finished the season with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Although they lost in a second-round exit to the Indiana Pacers, New York still had a solid core to rely on in the next couple of years to contend while Melo was still in his prime.
Until they didn’t.
At the start of the 2013-14 season, the Knicks gave away significant depth (Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson, one first-round pick, and two second-rounders) for Andrea Bargnani, which began a precipitous downfall for the Knicks. It wasn’t long after that Phil Jackson was hired as the team’s president, and soon enough, Tyson Chandler was a Dallas Maverick once again and Derek Fisher was hired as head coach. All may have seemed lost just one season into Jackson’s hire, but when Kristaps Porzingis emerged as a top rookie in his class, all the lost hope vanished.
The Knicks from there were deadset on building a team around Porzingis and Anthony, some might even say a superteam, bringing in guys like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and others to help this team contend for a title. Early on, it was evident that this team had nowhere near what it takes to get to the promised land. In the 2017 offseason, the Knicks decided to blow things up once more, trading Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder, ending his career with the Knicks.
A sad move at the time, the idea was to orient this team around Porzingis and build around the youth. Even after choosing a direction, the Knicks couldn’t figure out how to maintain momentum, eventually shipping Porzingis out in 2019. While it is extremely disappointing how everything unfolded and the wasted potential of the #StayMe7o years, these types of transactions are what make Knick fans extremely hesitant (or trigger-happy) in the years to come after being hurt time and time again.
Prior to COVID during the 2019-20 season, the Knicks made a change of scenery in their front office, hiring Leon Rose and mutually parting ways with Steve Mills. Since then, many things have changed. The current Knicks squad at times may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s important to put it into perspective. Here’s a look at what the team looked like four years ago in comparison to now:
Knicks 2019 Rotation compared to 2023 Rotation— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) February 21, 2023
Kadeem Allen ➡️ Jalen Brunson
Damyean Dotson ➡️ Quentin Grimes
Kevin Knox ➡️ RJ Barrett
Luke Kornet ➡️ Julius Randle
Mitchell Robinson ➡️ Mitchell Robinson
Billy Garrett Jr. ➡️ Immanuel Quickley
Mario Hezonja ➡️ Josh Hart
In just three years, Rose has become Rumpelstiltskin, turning this Knicks squad from mere straw into gold. With all of this gold, a trade almost seems inevitable. Not for Rose though. Despite having several opportunities to deal his dragonhoard of draft picks and young players, he has learned from the franchise’s recent past and has saved Knicks fans an immense amount of grief for years to come while they enjoy the youth of the current team. Having a solid core that is slowly making progress in the playoffs just to blow it up and make a trade for a big-name player could have soured the rest of the decade for the Knicks, given what happened in the last one.
Whether the fans know it or not, Leon Rose has changed the culture in New York for the better, one that could help lure large-name free agents in years to come given the success that the team has had in the little time that he has been in town. Whether or not you think that the team is one piece away from contending for a title, Rose is going to wait until the right guy is on the table for the right price to strike a deal. It may be a frustrating ordeal for fans to watch given the “quick fix Knicks” they’ve gotten used to in the prior decade, but it’s time to get readjusted and watch a solid front office thrive and get this team where it hasn’t been in a long time.
Knicks record predictions, heading into the season:— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownNBA) February 21, 2023
All predicted for Knicks to be in the play-in range
NYK, right now:
33-27, 6th in the East and 2 games back of 5th place.
Exceeding expectations and overcoming hate. pic.twitter.com/OBM1x2DM3D
The Carmelo Anthony trade should always be viewed in a positive light, no matter what perspective you look from. In the short term, it gave the Knicks hope and the hometown star the team desperately needed at the time. In the long term, while it hasn’t led to immediate success, it has been a learning lesson for the latest people in charge of the team, and you’re seeing this team change, adapt, and improve for years to come. Leon Rose may not have the best relationship with fans and the media given how unavailable he is to reach for comment, but he knows within the confines of the front office that he’s doing his job the best way he can for the time being. It may be frustrating as a fan to not understand what’s going on within the organization, but day by day it seems clearer that the New York Knicks are in great hands.