The best part of the Carmelo Anthony trade is that for all the buildup, now the drama is just getting started as NBA fans get to see if the former Denver Nugget bucket-getter can make an impact with the Knicks. And as an aside -- did you know it was Hockey Day in America on Sunday?
I hope they enjoyed it.
1. Did Isiah Thomas make the Carmelo Anthony trade?
It is tied for the second biggest trade in NBA history and ends the longest running soap opera in the NBA this season -- Wither 'Melo? -- but just because the New York Knicks landed the Denver Nuggets' scoring machine to pair with Amare Stoudemire doesn't mean the intrigue is over; it might just be getting started. Here's a break down for the deal that will have repurcussions for years. Meanwhile what I found interesting was the news over the weekend that the New Jersey Nets had re-injected themselves into the process after so publicly bowing out. Could all of that been designed to drive up the price the rival Knicks had to pay?: [Nets owner] Mikhail Prokhorov and Nets officials finally landed a meeting with Anthony on Saturday. Anthony gave the Nets no indication he’d be willing to sign an extension with them, and sources said team officials weren’t confident of their chances to sway him. Publicly, however, the Nets portrayed a more positive outlook. Even as late as Monday evening, the Nets continued to say they remained in the chase. In an interview with CNBC on Sunday, Prokhorov described his meeting with Anthony as “fantastic.” He also explained why the Nets hadn’t stopped pursuing Anthony: “I think we made a very good tactical decision to force [the] Knicks to pay as much as they can,” Prokhorov said. The Knicks did again add to their offer by including Mozgov. Multiple sources said [Knicks chairman Jame Dolan consulted former president Isiah Thomas throughout the negotiations even though the Knicks denied anyone from outside the organization influenced the trade. Though the Knicks released a statement on Sunday saying president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni had been in agreement with Dolan during the negotiations, sources continued to insist Walsh and D’Antoni are uncomfortable with how much the Knicks parted with for Anthony.
But that seemed a tepid response to this story by Adrien Wojnarowski which laid bare exactly how much the former Toronto Raptors general manager and scandal-prone Thomas has been involved in this deal: James Dolan has forever lusted for Thomas, and no level of shame, no humiliation, no embarrassment can keep them apart. The Knicks are giving up far too much for Anthony, and that doesn’t end with the players in the proposed package. Dolan sold this franchise’s soul a long time ago, and now that old, failed partnership is promising a second act that comes straight out of hell.
2. In a baggage claim area; a Knicks fan rejoices:
The first few moments, hours or days after a big trade are the best, for fans at least. All the dissecting, the projecting, the promise. The first press conference, the rushed first game. Given the way information swirls at the speed of light these days news of trades etc. travels fast. On Monday night the LA-NY flight arrived filled with a significant number of basketball types coming back from All-Star weekend. Here's a good piece by Henry Abbott of True Hoop about the scene when the news of the trade broke: "YEEEEEESSSSSSS! YES! CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARmelo!"
A short man in gray sweats is working his pleasingly gravelly voice to its outer limits, as he leaps from his seat. Everyone else is just waiting for their bags. But not this guy. He's pumping his fist like he has just scored a goal in the World Cup. He has more enthusiasm than every other person in the building combined.
Something , clearly, is up. ... The smartphone era turns one man's screams into (after a delay as thumbs around the room swipe touch screens) nods and conversation all around. This New York area NBA crowd just is getting a big piece of news, and they're buzzing.