Carmelo Anthony’s escape pod out of Oklahoma City officially came to a crash landing on Thursday when the Rockets revealed they plan to part ways with the 16-year veteran, and Anthony’s failure to launch in Houston serves as a reminder that the Knicks made the right move in trading Anthony when they did.
The former Knicks gunner struggled during his one season with the Thunder and had a rough go of it in Houston, averaging career lows in points (13.4) and minutes (29.4) per game. The rollout of his departure from Houston was unfortunate and so very Melo. It started with a Woj bomb that was followed by multiple reports citing anonymous sources as saying Anthony’s time as a Rocket was coming to a close. The team ultimately pulled the plug on Thursday by confirming to ESPN that they will be parting ways with Anthony. To make things even more Melo, the Rockets said they don’t plan to release him immediately, and under NBA rules he can’t be traded until December 15, so while Anthony won’t be with the team going forward, the Melo-drama continues.
The Knicks (4-11) are on pace to lose a whole lot of games this season, and watching the losses pile up can be a frustrating endeavor — even for fans of Team Tank — but the team avoided a slow and painful riding out of Anthony’s career by jettisoning him ahead of last year’s training camp, and the more time goes on the more clear it becomes that the Knicks not only traded Melo at the right time, they actually received a pretty solid haul for the fading future hall-of-famer.
To recap, the Knicks received Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round pick from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Anthony.
McDermott is now an Indiana Pacer, and while Enes Kanter might be defensively deficient, he does put up double doubles on a nightly basis for the Knicks and adds a lighthearted atmosphere to a locker room that in years past had the ambience of a prison cell. That second round pick, meanwhile, wound up turning into Mitchell Robinson, an enormous string-bean who provides multiple “wow” moments every game and has already set the Knicks rookie record for blocks in a single game with 9 in a recent loss to the Orlando Magic.
Mitchell Robinson tallies 9 BLOCKS for the @nyknicks at home. #NBARooks— NBA (@NBA) November 12, 2018
At 20 years and 215 days old, Robinson is the 2nd youngest player in @NBAHistory to record 9+ blocks in a game. #NewYorkForever pic.twitter.com/Atri05R9Pd
This isn’t to say that the Knicks got nothing out of the Melo era, and the team will always appreciate the many virtuoso performances he put together, especially during the 2012-13 campaign. But if you take a quick look at the state of Anthony’s draft class, it’s not that surprising to see that Melo might be on his last legs. In fact, most players from that draft class are either retired or on their last legs, minus LeBron James, who is quite the anomaly:
The Knicks arguably got fleeced when they traded a major chunk of their roster for Melo back in 2011, and Anthony himself may have been the one who requested to be traded from the Knicks before the 2017-18 season, but the way Steve Mills and Scott Perry handled the latter matter was one of the early indicators that the team’s new regime was truly ready to go forward with an eye on the future, and the Knicks are better off for it.
As for Anthony, whose overall illustrious NBA career could very well nearing its conclusion, there is still hope. There have been reports that teams including the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers might have interest in giving Melo a shot, and if none of that shakes out perhaps he can join up with former Knicks teammate (for about a week) Jimmer Fredette, who has been lighting it up in China for the Shanghai Sharks and recently scored 75 points in a single game.