A Carmelo Anthony trade happened this weekend after all.
For the second time this summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder swooped in to acquire a coveted trading chip. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the Thunder acquired the Knicks point guard, a surprise team emerging from the pack to rescue Anthony from New York before the team’s media day kicks off the season on Monday.
Many believed it would be Houston or bust for Anthony, who desperately wanted to play with Chris Paul and James Harden on the Rockets. But as the reality that Anthony could actually have to show up to Madison Square Garden on Monday morning wearing orange and blue became clear, both sides clearly expanded their potential trade talks. And so, days before the Knicks could have started their season off with weirdness for the second straight year, they finally get a deal done.
But not even Portland, which was reportedly a fallback option for Anthony should a Houston trade not go through, could beat out the Thunder on Saturday. The deal does make sense in a number of ways, namely that it gets Anthony out of New York and gives the Knicks a young asset back in Kanter, who is 25.
It’s probably not the best move for Kanter, though, who truly seemed to love playing in OKC and called his team ‘family’ earlier this week in a pointed response to Kevin Durant’s trashing of the team on Twitter.
For the Knicks, trading Anthony closes a weird chapter for the organization, which had been shopping the guard for so long trade talks endured two team presidents. The Knicks can now focus on keeping Kristaps Porzingis happy, though that may be easier said than done. Porzingis has been unhappy with the way the team handled the Anthony situation, and it’s unclear if the budding star will be happy with the state of the team now that Anthony is no longer around. For now, though, many Knicks fans are just happy this whole thing is finally over.
The move also also adds additional intrigue to a Thunder team suddenly loaded with talent and potential. Anthony joins a team that already has the reigning NBA MVP in Russell Westbrook, a human supernova who averaged a triple-double last season. It went out and acquired Paul George from the Pacers around the NBA Draft. There’s no telling how a Westbrook-George-Anthony team looks, but it’s a lineup that certainly is worth watching this fall. It still might not be good enough to compete with the Golden State Warriors, but it might be enough to keep Westbrook — or maybe even George— around long-term.
Trading Anthony was an inevitability for the Knicks, but few thought the move would be as compelling for Anthony’s destination as it is a relief for his now-former team.