Star players win
It's time to break out the ol' cliche: The team that gets the best player wins the trade.
Granted, the Knicks gutted their starting lineup to acquire Carmelo Anthony. But those who have focused on the Knicks trading four starters forget two things: They received two back in Anthony and steady pro Chauncey Billups. And one of those starters was named Timofey Mozgov. That's not meant as a direct rip at Mozgov, who has potential. It's more to say the Knicks sacrificed starters who wouldn't be starters on a championship-level team.
Stars win in the NBA. And the Knicks got the biggest in the deal while renting Billups until they have salary cap space in 2012 to try to add another. Anthony, to some degree, and Billups, in particular, are better half-court players that might slow coach Mike D'Antoni's system a bit. But star players figure it out.
Is this a trick question? Come on.
The Knicks got Anthony, a 26-year-old superstar, and the Nuggets got some guys with names I've already forgotten.
Whenever you can land a star, you do whatever it takes, even if you must say a tearful goodbye to Timofey Mozgov.
Even Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri conceded his team "got killed" in the deal.
And the most overlooked part of the deal was that New York also received decorated point guard Chauncey Billups, who can play traffic cop between Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
The 'Melo drama is, thankfully, over, but the NBA has a problem with its stars aligning. Denver is as devastated as Salt Lake City and Cleveland. Can you say franchise tag, Commissioner Stern?
Knicks relevant again
The Nuggets got more players, but the Knicks grabbed more appeal. Not only did the Knicks put themselves in position to compete in the tough Eastern Conference, they instantly became one of the league's most watched and marketable teams.
By making this move, the Knicks are once again relevant. When was the last time that could be said? The trio of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups should be enough to cause fear among the conference's heavyweights: the Celtics, Magic and Heat.
The Celtics are the only team in the group with better point guard play. Billups' addition has been way underrated.
If the Knicks can at least produce a competitive first-round matchup, it would open the door for potentially adding Hornets guard Chris Paul next season. That's when the true value of this trade will appear.
Quality over quantity
Los Angeles Times
'Melo might have signed with them anyway as a free agent, but the impending collective bargaining agreement fiasco and the insanity of the NBA's arms race made that a risk not worth taking.
Who cares if they gutted their roster? Nothing New York gave up compares to what it got in return: a young, top-five NBA player who wants to stay and play in New York.
Credit the Nuggets, who emptied the Knicks' pockets in the deal and now have some pieces to rebuild with. The Raptors and Cavaliers each got next to nothing when Chris Bosh and LeBron James left for the Heat.
But any time you lose your superstar, you're worse off. Just look at Cleveland this season, or Toronto.
And now, look at New York.