‘Didn’t Want to Be a Part of Rebuilding’: Carmelo Anthony Explains Motive Behind His Controversial Trade to the Knicks

Published 02/27/2021, 12:12 PM EST
DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 12: Carmelo Anthony (00) of the Portland Trail Blazers prepares to face his former team the Denver Nuggets before the first quarter on Thursday, December 12, 2019. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


Former Knicks’ superstar and veteran forward, Carmelo Anthony is one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. The 36-year-old veteran is arguably one of the most versatile scorers in the league and is a key piece in the Portland Trail Blazers.

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Early in the 2000s, Melo was one of the best players in the league. He was the focal point of a Denver Nuggets team who were an exciting team with players like Chauncey Billups, J. R. Smith, and Melo in the side.

But in the middle of the 2010-11 season, six months before his contact expiry, the then 26-year-old was traded to the New York Knicks. Fans and pundits alike criticized the move, as everyone felt that Melo could have joined the Knicks as a free agent.

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Melo opens up about his controversial trade to the Knicks

The 36-year-old recently opened up about the controversial trade in the latest episode of the Woj podcast. Speaking with NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the 10-time All-star clarified why he left the Nuggets in the first place. He said,

“At this point in time, we had already had previous conversations with Denver going into the season, around July, you know, and, and we met with Denver and Masai (Ujiri) had just came on as a gym.”

“And at this point in time now I’m starting to understand, okay, who’s leaving, you know, who’s who they trying to trade, what players they want to bring in who’s not going to be here contracts are expired. You know how the team is just going to be broken up at this point in time.”

“So in my mind, I’m like, I don’t I don’t want to be a part of I just can’t we just came off of Western Conference Finals. Like, I didn’t want to be a part of rebuilding., I don’t want to rebuild in my seventh season in the NBA. So if you guys want to rebuild, cool, but let’s let’s work something out, let’s figure something out.”

When Carmelo Anthony almost joined the Brooklyn Nets rather than the New York Knicks

Melo later explained how he almost joined the then New Jersey Nets rather than the New York Knicks. He said,

“There was a deal with New Jersey on the table, and it was a very favorable deal for the Denver Nuggets at that point of time. I think that got the ball rolling. When New York saw that the seriousness with New Jersey and given the fact that it was moving to Brooklyn another season after that.”

“So there was a lot of interest when it came to ‘okay they going to Brooklyn. if I wait until after the lockout I will have a chance to go to Brooklyn like start that off and you know being born at Brooklyn and going back home’, it was a lot of those conversations.”

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This massive interest from the Nets, led the Knicks to a panic mode who eventually green lit the Melo trade. The package consisted of Melo, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman, in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a 2014 first-round draft pick and cash considerations.

With the duo of the 10-time All-star and superstar center Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks made the playoffs for the first time in seven years in his debut season itself. They would go on to make two more playoff appearances, but would run into juggernauts like the Miami Heat led and the Boston Celtics in playoffs.

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The Knicks haven’t been anywhere near to making it to the playoffs after Carmelo Anthony‘s departure. But this season, with an elite coach like Tom Thibodeau and the emergence of a star in Julius Randle, the Knicks are in playoff contention. Can the Knicks make it to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons?

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Aditya Mohapatra

695 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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