It's Done: Carmelo Anthony Is Your Newest New York Knick

The Knicks keep giving players until they finally get their man

It's a shame that James Dolan wasn't part of the group that bought Manhattan from the natives back in 1626.

Instead of just getting some beads, trinkets and guilders from the Dutch, the sellers would have wound up with the deed to Amsterdam, a couple of ships to use for an Atlantic crossing and several of the strongest men that the Dutch West India Company had to offer.

Alas, it took a few centuries before Dolan came around, which means it is the Denver Nuggets and not the Lenape tribe that gets to benefit from the Knicks owner's generosity.

Dolan scrapped an entire season's worth of maneuvering by Donnie Walsh to ensure that the Knicks only gave the bare minimum to secure Carmelo Anthony's services in a trade and pulled the trigger on a trade Monday night.

The Denver Post was the first to confirm that Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman are coming to New York in exchange for a package that just kept growing over the last few days.

The final piece to the puzzle was Timofey Mozgov, added to a pot already containing Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari on Monday to get the deal finished. There's another piece involving Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph headed to Minnesota, and the Knicks are also sending their 2014 first rounder to the Rockies, but the part that everyone's going to concentrate on is the four rotation pieces sent packing. 

As well they should. It is impossible to believe that it was necessary for the Knicks, more than 48 hours away from the deadline, to offer up that much to make a deal to bring Anthony to New York.

Until the weekend, Gallinari's name had never been part of any discussion and then, suddenly, he and Mozgov were sent packing in a rush to complete a deal for a player who wasn't going anywhere else. The Nuggets played this perfectly, allowing the Nets to hang around as a big bidder even though there was never a chance in hell that 'Melo was going to wind up plying his trade in Newark.  

That the Knicks wildly overplayed their hand is a much bigger deal than the actual players sent on their way. It's important to remember that the players who are departing were good enough to get the Knicks to .500 but it would be quite the overstatement to say that they were going to push them into the next level of the NBA.

That's not to say that Anthony will do so either, but the current Knicks roster isn't demonstrably worse than the one that we saw beat the Hawks in the final game before the All-Star break.

It feels a lot worse, though. Walsh's exit is probably just a matter of time -- consider him another piece thrown into the trade -- and Isiah Thomas's fingerprints are all over this deal.

Regardless of his official role, this is a trade right out of the playbook he used to acquire Curry, Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis. No attempt to make a smart deal or a savvy one, just a grab for a big name without any consideration for the bigger picture. The whole world, save Dolan, knew that Anthony was going to be a Knick by Thursday, but Dolan's the only one who matters and he's simply unwilling to make the prudent decision when the nuclear option is at his disposal.

The Knicks may be slightly better as a basketball team right now, but they've stripped themselves of the assets that Walsh painstakingly put together to put the team on the track toward contention. That's right where they were when Walsh took over the reins in the first place and it will almost certainly remain that way as long as the owner is willing to dump years of work on a whim.

Trades like this are supposed to feel like triumphant moments, not like canaries in all too familiar coal mines.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.

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