The New York Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony, and all was well. Except, perhaps, the fact that the acquisition may not help the Knicks get out of the first round of the playoffs this year or next. Nate Silver of the New York Times' Five Thirty Eight politics blog dug into the numbers to show that the Knicks, as currently built, should win about 51 games a year. But Anthony's salary, paired with that of co-star Amar'e Stoudemire, could limit the team's ability to add much in the next couple offseasons. And, as it were, 51 wins, while great given the Knicks' recent history, isn't NBA Finals material.
[O]ne thing the Knicks will not have is a whole lot of flexibility to improve their roster further. The $62 million that they will owe to these nine players is close to the $58 million salary cap from this season - and that cap may well decrease if and when the league and its players sign a new collective-bargaining agreement this summer. Nor, other than [Landry] Fields - who would be hard to improve upon from an efficiency standpoint - do the Knicks have much in the way of either draft picks or appealing young players, since they traded so many away in the deals with Denver and Minnesota.
The Knicks have been looking toward 2012 for the team's next coup, as Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Dwight Howard could all be free agents at that point. Knicks president Donnie Walsh has guaranteed that his team will have cap space heading into that summer, which is an incredible claim to make considering no one knows how the collective bargaining agreement will shake out.
Beyond the specific Knicks analysis, Silver's post is well worth reading for the intuitive but insightful definition of a superstar.