ESPN’s John Hollinger answers this question with an emphatic “yes.” In his trade grades column, he gave the Knicks a D+ in this deal.
The worst part, of course, is that this deal proves that no matter how many advantages New York gains from its magnetic appeal to potential free agents, owner James Dolan will screw them up. Leaning on the genius of Isiah Thomas — because it worked out so well for the first time — he fell hook, line and sinker for every bluff thrown his way by the Nuggets and Melo’s people. (Yes, Melo’s people participated — Anthony needed to make sure he got a lucrative contract extension under the current salary rules before being traded.)
New York still gets its Melo-Stoudemire nucleus, but now lacks the supporting pieces to do anything important with that core. And by extending Melo now, they agree to lock him up at such an expensive price that, in concert with Stoudemire’s deal, it likely precludes making a run at Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard in 2012.
The Knicks were bid up by the Nets, who never really had a chance at acquiring Carmelo in the first place. It would have been worth all of this to acquire a Top 5 player like LeBron James or Dwight Howard, but Carmelo is in the second or third tier of NBA stars and by acquiring and extending him now, they’re going to be paying a premium for his services for the next three or four years. His contract could make things especially tough if there’s a hard(er) cap.