Writer: Elijah Folsom
Carmelo Anthony has been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and it might be the last big move of the offseason. The western conference has been elevated to another level this summer, and Carmelo only adds to the fun. Anthony brings a different kind of swagger to the Thunder, and makes them real contenders. Most moves have been talked about before they happen, but nobody thought that Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony would all be on the same team for the season opener this year.
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Sam Presti is the GM for the Thunder and has done a very good job this offseason acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony while giving up athletes that were, for the most part, role players. Presti is not like other GM’s in the NBA because he prefers to do all of his deals in the dark (or without the media knowing). Oklahoma City is not much of a free agent destination for players so Presti has to work well with what he has. With the loss of Kevin Durant this past year, many people believed that the Thunder would have to go into a rebuilding mode, but Presti thought otherwise. He traded away Serge Ibaka and in return two years later traded for Paul George. He has also made a very convincing case for Westbrook, Carmelo, and George to stay in OKC next year to build a super team of their own.
This trade is very beneficial to the Thunder obviously with the talents that Carmelo can bring to the team, but it also comes with a risk. Westbrook, George, and Carmelo all have the same option to terminate their contracts at the end of this year and become free agents. The Thunder could have just struck gold with having all three of these players on the same team, but they are also running the risk of not having any of them next season. It will be interesting to see what happens with this team, and how far they make it into the playoffs, and to see whether or not any of the players will stay in OKC.
While everyone is focused on the Thunder and what this trade does for them this coming year, the Knicks are not in a bad spot as well. In this trade, they get a good low block scorer in Enes Kanter, and a good scorer off the bench in Doug McDermott. The smart move is to obviously tank this year, and most likely end up with a top ten pick in this year’s upcoming draft, but with Carmelo out of the picture, and Kanter’s $17 million contract potentially ending this year, the Knicks have a lot of salary cap space. New York is an obvious free agent destination for NBA players, and the free agent class for next year is looking very good as well with names like Cousins, LeBron, Durant, Westbrook, and Paul George. The Knicks could potentially sign some of these players and start a super team of their own to play in MSG to play alongside Porzingis.
The Thunder have become a new challenger in the west, and the Knicks have begun rebuilding without Carmelo through this trade and essentially nobody saw it coming. This trade has already sent shockwaves throughout the NBA community and the season hasn’t even started yet. With all of the trades and signings in what has shaped up to be the most exciting offseason yet, this year’s NBA season is going to be one to keep your eyes on.