Column: Melo-drama mercifully ends

FILE - In this July 12, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti answers a question following Paul George's first news conference in Oklahoma City, since the Thunder's blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers. The real MVP of the offseason appears to be Presti. The soft-spoken Thunder general manager made blockbuster deals to add Paul George and Carmelo Anthony that immediately put the Thunder in contention to compete with Golden State in the Western Conference. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

After a summer full of trade rumors, Carmelo Anthony has finally been dealt by the New York Knicks’ mess of a front office. Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday in return for center Enes Kanter and small forward Doug McDermott.

Anthony spent seven seasons with the Knicks and although he scored over 10,000 points with the team, his time in New York was a disappointment.

Seeing Anthony leave is strangely relieving for Knicks fans. Despite all the personal success for the 10-time All-Star, the Knicks were not a good team for most of the Melo-era. In the last four seasons, the Knicks have a putrid record of 117-211.

Lost in the recent failures of the Knicks is the earlier part of Anthony’s New York career where the team had some success. The Knicks, who had not made the playoffs in seven years before Anthony was traded, made the playoffs in each of his first three seasons with the team.

Anthony and his “iso-ball” took the Knicks to the conference semifinals in 2012-2013, a season that he averaged a career-high 28.7 points per game. Although Anthony’s Knicks lost twice in the first round and never made a conference finals appearance, he provided fans with their first winning seasons in 10 years.

But the good old days are long gone and the recent Knicks have been dreadful. Anthony is certainly not the biggest scapegoat for the Knicks’ pitiful performance of late. That honor belongs to the organization’s front office, namely Phil Jackson, who was fired this offseason.

Jackson’s insistence on running the outdated triangle offense provoked a feud with his best player. Anthony stated his disapproval with the triangle offense, which angered Jackson to the point where the two were portrayed as enemies in the media.

The Knicks, led by notoriously awful owner James Dolan, have long been one of the worst-run franchises in sports, but Jackson’s feud with his star player epitomizes the dysfunction of the front office. General Managers, or in Jackson’s case team presidents, are supposed to build around their stars, not force them into a system they are not made for.

While the isolation-based game of the Anthony-led Knicks certainly isn’t the most fun to watch, it won them games; something that cannot be said for Jackson’s triangle.

Anthony leaving is for the best on both ends. While Jackson is no longer a Knick, he ruined Anthony’s relationship with the Knicks and was on the verge of deteriorating Kristaps Porzingis’ career in New York as well. Now, the front office can focus on developing 22-year-old Porzingis and building around their future superstar.

While Kanter and McDermott won’t even come close to matching Anthony’s impact on the roster, they are young pieces that are necessary in the Knicks’ rebuilding process.

Anthony gets a chance – albeit a very small chance – to win that coveted first championship with the Thunder, something he wouldn’t even sniff if he played out the last two years of his contract with the Knicks.

And I’m rooting for Anthony, despite the fact that he led Syracuse to their only National Championship. He stayed loyal to a franchise that treated him like dirt, trying to bring his hometown fans a championship. Moving on was something that the Knicks needed to do, and Anthony is clearly not a part of their long-term plan for the franchise.

If they even have a plan.


Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.