What if the Knicks decided to go after Carmelo Anthony in free agency and not trade for him?
Back in 2011, the New York Knicks traded for Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo was very vocal about his interest in joining the Knicks and was planning on going during his free agency. But the Knicks decided to make the trade during the season. If the Knicks has played it smart and waited until the offseason, they would not have lost so many valuable pieces. Let's explore the scenario where the Knicks don't make that trade.
The Knicks traded up and coming talented young forwards in Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari. They also gave up their starting point guard, Raymond Felton and backup center, Timofey Mozgov. The Nuggets also received New York's 2014 first round draft pick, two second round picks, and $3 million in cash. The Minnesota Timberwolves also were involved in the deal as they received Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry and $3 million cash. The Knicks received Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Corey Brewer, Shelden Williams and Anthony Carter.
The Knicks from October until January were 25-22. The trade happened in February, and the Knicks went 17-18 after the deal. Amar'e Stoudemire was playing arguably the best basketball of his career, averaging 25.3 points per game. Felton was also playing at career-best levels, averaging 17.1 points per game. Furthermore, Chandler was averaging 16.4 per game, and Gallinari was averaging 15.9 (all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference). It was a great all-around effort.
The Knicks finished with a 42-40 record then went into the playoffs against the Boston Celtics and lost 0-4. Billups ended up suffering a knee injury before the playoffs. Carmelo and Amar'e did not have enough help. If the Knicks had waited until the offseason to acquire Anthony instead of trading for him mid-year, they would have had a potent offensive team under Mike D'Antoni's run and gun system. The starting lineup would probably have been Felton, Landry Fields (remember him?), Melo, either Gallinari or Chandler starting at the 4, and Amar'e at the 5. The Knicks would have easily been one of the top offensive teams in the league. Defensively, they probably wouldn't be very good but their game plan would be to outscore teams. That's a team I think everyone would've enjoyed watching. Too bad we never got a chance to see that team. Just another bad management decision by the Knicks.