Almost two years ago, the New York Knicks acquired the superstar they were in search of by acquiring Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.
But things nearly didn’t turn out that way as the New Jersey Nets were also hot on the tails of Anthony as the 2011 trade deadline neared.
As the Anthony-led Knicks prepare to take on the now Brooklyn Nets to tip-off the 2012-13 campaign, it got me wondering how things would have played out if Anthony had ended up with the Nets instead.
It got Anthony thinking as well as he told ESPN’s Ian Begley:
“When I used to sit back and reflect on what happened throughout that whole trade process and the whole quote, unquote Melo-Drama that was going on, I could have easily been sitting there with a Brooklyn Nets jersey on at this very moment.”
The Nets obviously struck out on Anthony but landed Deron Williams in a surprise trade with the Utah Jazz shortly thereafter. Eighteen months later, they are set to tip off their inaugural season in Brooklyn with a roster full of big names (Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez) and strong complimentary pieces (Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks).
But I wonder what these two teams would look like on Thursday had the Nets acquired Anthony instead.
The Knicks would have a far different look as they wouldn’t have parted with young talents such as Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton and others.
Felton probably would never have left and Linsanity would have never gotten the opportunity to capture the hearts of Knicks’ fans.
However, who knows if the Knicks go out and sign Tyson Chandler either?
One thing I do believe is that had they not acquired Anthony, either Williams or Chris Paul would be in a Knicks’ uniform right now.
Would a team with one of those point guards, Gallinari and Amar’e Stoudemire (when healthy) be better than the current Anthony-led Knicks? One can only speculate, but quite possibly.
The Knicks probably keep Gallinari, add a star point guard and take a different approach in free agency and add a few more quality parts around them. They certainly wouldn’t be the oldest team in the league and its possible Mike D’Antoni is still the Knicks head coach.
If Anthony were a in a Brooklyn uniform, they would have a much different look as well. There would be no Williams, Wallace or Johnson and who knows what the Nets would have surrounded Anthony and Brook Lopez with? Would they have been able to add Dwight Howard?
However Anthony got his wish and will be in Knicks’ uniform to begin this season against the Nets, the team he will open the season up against on Thursday. The Nets also got their man and brought back Williams.
Things work out certain ways for a reason and while it’s fun to look back and say “What if,” both teams are happy that they got their man.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.