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Melo Drama

View of Knicks game at Madison Square Garden
Image via Wikipedia

The 2011 NBA season has been a rollercoaster ride for New York Knicks fans. After an off-season that brought an almost entirely new starting lineup, the Knicks made a recent trade to help propel them into the upper tier of Eastern Conference teams.

On Feb. 21, New York made a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets to acquire all-star forward Carmelo Anthony and former Finals MVP, Chauncey Billups. The trade, however, would come at a very costly price.

Besides giving Denver $5 million in cash, the Knicks traded away four players from their starting lineup: Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, and Timofey Mosgov.

For a Knicks fan at Staples High School, landing Carmelo and Chauncey came with bittersweet feelings. Obviously, it is a fan’s dream to see as many superstars on the floor as possible. However, the players traded for Carmelo were electrifying and very well liked by the fans.

Danilo Gallinari was one of the centerpieces in the trade between Denver and New York. The young and athletic Italian was really starting to evolve into a phenomenal player. He and coach Mike D’Antoni both shared Italian roots, and D’Antoni had also played with Gallinari’s father in Italy several years ago.

The Knicks drafted Gallinari in 2008 when he was only 19-years-old, largely in part to D’Antoni’s high hopes of him. Before the Knicks traded him, he had managed to bring his scoring average up to nearly 16 points per game, and had become one of the anchors in the Knicks’ up-tempo offense.

A heartbreak in the Knicks’ trade was parting ways with captain Raymond Felton. After being traded from the struggling Bobcats in the off-season, the explosive guard took on a strong leadership role for the new Knicks team. He had shown glimpses of his potential in Charlotte, but was being held back by their lackluster style of play. In the Big Apple, Raymond was able to thrive like never before. He improved his stats in almost all categories, averaging 17 points-per-game and nine assists as well. Although his time in New York was very limited, he was able to thrive in the small window of opportunity he had.

Wilson Chandler is an underappreciated player that was also included in the deal with Denver. The six-foot-seven forward struggled with off-court controversy, but overcame it to produce a very impressive 2011 season. Chandler brought a great balance of offense and defense to the team, averaging nearly 17 points-per-game and a career-high 1.4 blocks-per-game.

One of the final pieces in the trade was the Knicks’ Timofey Mosgov, a young, Russian center. Mosgov played a limited role for the Knicks, but was just starting to show tremendous value for a team that lacked depth in the center position. Although Mosgov played very little time, he was a big loss for the Knicks.

Seeing these players in different uniforms is a sad sight to see, but fans are also affected in other ways.

Firstly, going to Knicks games has become more difficult than ever. Knicks games at the garden have never been outrageously priced, but they are now becoming a large investment for high school Knicks fans. Ticket prices have skyrocketed since the arrival of “Melo.” According to, ticket prices have raised a ridiculous 55 percent since the Knicks added the second all-star to their starting lineup. The costs are especially disappointing considering the always-inflating prices of going to Yankee Stadium or the Meadowlands.

Secondly, the basketball jerseys that were purchased this season displaying a Knicks player’s name is probably no longer relevant. Before the Carmelo trade, anyone could see Staples students proudly wearing jerseys from all the Knicks’ players. Gallinari, Felton, and even Chandler jerseys were common sights for Knicks fans all over the school. Now, in order to appropriately display a liking for a Knicks player, fans need to head back to the local sporting goods store.

It is clear that the trade for Carmelo Anthony brought pros and cons to those associated with the Knicks. True fans love his or her team no matter who is on the floor, but one cannot resist becoming attached to players that help the team win games.

But on the other hand, the Knicks organization deserves some credit. Teams are supposed to consider the likings of their fans, but also keep the well-being of the franchise as the top priority. People forget that the NBA is a business, and the only goal for teams is to win championships. By acquiring Carmelo and Chauncey, the Knicks believed that they would be better equipped to survive against powerhouse teams like the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls. Fans will say what they want about the trade, but in the end, The Knicks will continue to be a team of passion, intensity, and excitement.

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