With the start of the 2017-18 NBA regular season almost upon us, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to shock the entirety of the NBA by landing superstar forward Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks. The Thunder ended up trading Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round draft pick to secure Anthony. Today we will be breaking down how the trade turned out for both the Knicks and the Thunder.
New York Knicks: B-
Throughout the entire NBA offseason, one of the biggest and most consistent storylines was the eventual departure of Carmelo Anthony from his hometown Knicks. The relationship between Anthony and the team was beyond repair at this point, and him wearing a different NBA uniform by training camp was the most likely scenario. According to multiple sources throughout the league, the Knicks were courting offers from the Portland Trailblazers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Houston Rockets and of course the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the end, the Knicks literally traded Anthony days before the start of training camp by shipping him off to the Thunder for what general manager Scott Perry thought was the best possible offer to help the Knicks through their ongoing rebuild as they plan to build around star forward Kristaps Porzingis.
With McDermott, he was unable to find a proper niche with the Thunder after being unable to do so previously with the Chicago Bulls. With the Knicks having a glaring hole at the small forward spot and next-to-none three-point shooting, McDermott will be able to get the lion's share of minutes with his third team in eight months. Maybe the change of scenery and the opportunity for more consistent minutes will allow McDermott to continue to grow into the NBA. Maybe the league will finally see the game-breaking ability he carried in college:
The biggest acquisition for the Knicks was Oklahoma City fan favorite Enes Kanter. With Kanter, the Knicks landed a franchise cornerstone that will pair nicely with Porzingis. Kanter is a significant defensive liability while Porzingis is a stud on the defensive side of the ball. The other nice thing about Kanter's game is the fact that he is predominately a post-up, back to the backboard type of player that can thrive nicely next to a big man like Porzingis that can score from anywhere on the floor. Kanter will be a stud on a horrible Knicks team that will look to him to carry the offensive load for the squad.
Ultimately, the Knicks can finally say goodbye to the last toxic part of the disastrous Phil Jackson era of their history by finding a favorable trade for Carmelo Anthony. They were able to find a possible perimeter threat in Doug McDermott, who is still looking to regain his college form and a franchise cornerstone in Enes Kanter. The Knicks are going to be a bad basketball team next season, but with a foundation of Kanter, Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingins and a high 2018 first round pick is a lot better for the future of basketball in The Big Apple.
Oklahoma City Thunder: A-
Wow. Just, wow. Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti must know some serious dirt on Scott Perry and then-Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard to be able to land two superstar players in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. That goes without saying that the Thunder addressed the teams' two biggest problems with lack of three-point shooting and major holes at the small forward and power forward position in the starting lineup.
With Anthony, the Thunder finally caps off the best offseason in the franchise's history since moving from Seattle. The painful exit of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors is all but in the rearview mirror for the team. The Thunder now have a big three of their own that quickly makes them the second or third best team in the Western Conference. They also get arguably one of the best power forwards in the Western Conference in Anthony and as mentioned before they were able to lock up another stellar three-point shooter to solve their woes from last season.
This season will be huge for Oklahoma City as the team went out and surrounded MVP Russell Westbrook with tons of talent. The upcoming season will also be a critical one for Anthony because after last season many analysts are down on his ability as a player after a few dreadful seasons in New York. Here is a quick reminder of the player that Oklahoma City is landing for the 2017-18 season:
Oklahoma City still faces a few significant problems. They will need some time to gel before looking like a finished product. They lost players like Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter who were critical in the offensive production for the Thunder last season. The other major problem is the fact that Westbrook, George, and Anthony all lead the NBA last season regarding offensive touches and all three will need to learn to share the ball. They need to produce for the team and win big in a tightly contested Western Conference. For now, the team looks loaded and ready to take on and possibly knock off Golden State, but there will be some major growing pains along the way.
In the end, Oklahoma City Thunder fans can rejoice as the team continues to make major moves to finalize the roster that can hopefully take the team back to the NBA Finals. While it is hard to see a fan favorite like Enes Kanter go, the pain reliever is the knowledge that the team now has one of the best players in the league at the power forward position in Anthony. The last thing that Sam Presti needs to do is to sign Russell Westbrook to a contract extension and make this one of the best offseasons in NBA history for any team.