It feels as if there have been rumours that Melo was going to be traded since he joined the New York Knicks in 2011. Even after he signed a new contract in 2014, which included a no trade clause, the rumours continued, in fact they seemed to increase.
Even as a Knicks fan based in the UK, so not necessarily seeing a lot of the New York press coverage, I still heard a lot of these rumours.
In the 2016/17 season this got out of hand, fuelled by the obvious issues between Phil Jackson and Melo.
I am a Melo fan and wanted him to stay in New York but even I reached the point of wishing he would move teams so the rumours would stop. Then this off season it became clear that he wanted to leave and the Knicks did not want to include him in their future planning. Meaning that the trade was inevitable.
Weirdly the rumour mill seemed to quieten during this time. I got to the point where I assumed that Melo was destined to spend the season in an unhappy situation with the Knicks.
From a fan perspective it seemed that a trade was the best outcome. You don’t want a player on the team that doesn’t want to be there and/or a player that management don’t want to utilise.
Then the news finally came through on 23 September. Melo was to be traded to OKC.
I am still sad that Melo has left the Knicks. He clearly wanted to play there and win championships there and as a Knicks fan I never felt he had the pieces around him to make that a reality. However I had reached a point of acceptance so long before the trade happened that I wasn’t overly affected by the announcement.
I think this is probably reflected across many fans as we haven’t seen the outrage or claims of shirt burning that we have seen with other trades and FA signings.
Will moving to OKC get him the ring he so desperately wants?
It’s going to be tough as GSW are still a strong team and Houston have made moves to strengthen as well this season.
Will he make it to All-Star weekend?
Unlikely. He only made it in 2017 because another player was injured. The West has a lot of good players likely to be more popular with fans.
What will happen to the Knicks?
Well they have KP who continues to develop and amaze. Hernangomez shows real promise as a player and Tim Hardaway Jr is back to show the Knicks fans how he has developed while he was away. I am not expecting this to be the year the Knicks win the East and make a deep playoff run (though I would be pleased if they did) but this season should be interesting as we get to know all the new players and how they fit together.