The speculation and never-ending drama is finally over. Carmelo Anthony has suited up and logged his first game as a New York Knick. Deron Williams will sit down for a press conference as a member of the New Jersey Nets today. Where do we go from here?
On the Knicks side of things, the consensus has seemed to form that the Knicks still aren't good enough to escape the first round of the NBA playoffs. It is a fair argument considering the short amount of time this team has to build chemistry and their lack of size. However, I wouldn't necessarily write them off yet as a team that can make some noise when the playoffs roll around. There is simply too much talent and playoff experience in their starting five to do that.
The work isn't done yet and the debate is raging on whether or not the Knicks can ultimately add a third star to their roster in 2012. Nobody truly knows the answer until the new CBA is worked out and it is found out how they tinker with their roster in the coming off-season. For now, they are still a more dangerous team than many are giving them credit for, especially if Chauncey Billups is rejuvenated by the trade and Toney Douglas keeps shooting like he did last night off the bench.
Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony will develop their rhythm together in time and hopefully are smart enough to figure out how to fit their egos onto one roster. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett figured it out in Boston. They look like they are figuring it out in Miami. If the Knicks ever want to compete with those type of teams, they need "Stat and Melo" to do the same.
In New Jersey, let's give a little credit to the Nets over-hyped brain trust for finally coming up with a big name. Nobody saw Deron Williams coming here but they finally got somebody who can hopefully sell some tickets for them. They have a ton of selling to do in the next year and a half to keep Williams around because if he leaves via free agency after next season, they gave up a big chunk of their future for back to back seasons out of the playoffs.
Let's be honest here, Williams is a great young point guard but the Nets as currently constructed aren't even a playoff team in the watered down East. They now gave up on Derrick Favors and lost two future first-round draft picks. New Jersey needs Williams to embrace the franchise and start working with the front office to get himself some help. If he doesn't, it is going to be a long time sitting in the shadow of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
Regardless, the buzz about basketball in this area is louder than it has been in a long time, it is almost loud enough to make you forget about the pending lockout in the NFL. For now, enjoy your spring New York City because between the playoff-bound Knicks, the NCAA tourney-bound St. John's Red Storm, and the rebuilding Nets, there is plenty to be excited about.