Joshua Hicks is a contributor to WARR and The D & Davis Show
With Kyrie Irving’s unexpected exit out of Cleveland and immediate transfer to Boston taking place mere weeks ago, NBA fans thought that they saw the official cap to one of the craziest NBA offseasons ever witnessed in history, but that wasn’t it at all.
The true climax to 2017’s wild summer came when Carmelo Anthony amped up his desired trade request list and set in motion one more trade to add to the offseason frenzy.
Anthony eventually lifted his no-trade clause to accept a shocking trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder that quite frankly became a trade that could help benefit both teams.
In New York, it was time for a fresh start. Between the Knicks’ lack of consistency from management in the Phil Jackson era, numerous coaching changes and a horrific on and off relationship with Melo, change was needed. One significant jump in a positive direction occurred by moving on from Phil Jackson, and now with Melo out of the picture they can finally hand the keys to the Garden to their young star Kristaps Porzingis.
The Unicorn Porzingis will also have more help to with him after acquiring Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and the Bulls’ 2018 second-round pick, originally acquired by OKC at last season’s trade deadline with McDermott and Taj Gibson.
Kanter is a very good low post presence that can counteract Porzingis’s Dirk-like perimeter play. McDermott has an opportunity to finally find a home with the Knicks as they follow through with their rebuilding transition. This can give Dougie the confidence he needs to become the effective sharp shooter he can be. With the Eastern Conference being so washed this year, this corps can possibly spark a full rebuild, there may even be cause to propel the Knicks into the upcoming season’s playoff race.
The Thunder already made huge noise earlier this summer by trading for Paul George to put in the backcourt with MVP Russell Westbrook. Now that they added Melo, the new big three in OKC will be the closest this franchise comes in comprehensive talent since the dynamic trio of Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden on the 2012 Western Conference championship team.
Westbrook has already proven that he can do everything on the court, from averaging the NBA’s first full triple-double season since Oscar “The Big O” Robinson in 1962 to being a leader by taking his team to the playoffs after his former right-hand man took his talents to the best team in the league. However, OKC’s latest additions brings an added depth that Westbrook was lacking on the offensive end of the court.
Last year, Westbrook experienced inconsistences with offensive production from his backcourt teammates, especially in late-game situations and throughout OKC’s playoff loss to Houston.
PG-13, who averaged 24 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals a game last season, brings the two-way perimeter game that OKC needs at the guard position, especially since their established two guard Andre Robinson is not seen as an offensive threat, only shooting 25 percent from three. The addition of Melo, who averaged 22 points a game last season, adds a player that can be clutch for them in the final moments of the game.
The Brodie, PG13 and Hoodie Melo each understand they have to make adjustments to make this work and have already made strides forming that chemistry throughout this summer. With respectable coach Billy Donovan and last season’s MVP leading the way, the sky is the limit for this new-look team.
The Thunder are now one of the few teams in the NBA to have three players that averaged more than 20 points a game on the same team.
OKC general manager Sam Presti has made the moves necessary to put his team back in championship contention without giving up any assets that would have kept the team from being seen as a potential top-three team in the Western Conference. At the same time these moves increase the chances of potentially having at least one — or even all — of this Big Three returning to OKC long term.
Joshua Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio