NY Knicks make blockbuster trade, add Carmelo Anthony & Billups in NYK-DEN-MIN deal

22 Feb

The Knicks got their man in a blockbuster trade late last night, landing superstar SF Carmelo Anthony.  The Knicks get big ups for realizing that ‘Melo wanted to get his $65 MIL extension so badly that he would re-sign with the Nuggets or go to the Nets if he had to just to get paid.  This is because there will be a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) after this NBA season, where superstars are likely not going to be able to get as much max contract money as they can now.

The Knicks even got Chauncey Billups in the trade, & only had to surrender some middle-tier players, one 1st-round pick & two 2nd-round picks rather than the “four 1st-round picks” that Denver was rumored to get Monday morning in a supposed NY-DEN trade.  As you’ll see below in ESPN’s trade breakdown, the Nuggets got a pretty nice haul for Melo, a guy who was going to leave them in a couple months.  Are you reading this Cavs??  Pretty good idea to figure out BEFORE the trade deadline whether your free agent star is re-signing or not!

Denver even managed to get rid of plenty of veterans (Billups, Carter, Balkman, & Sheldon Williams) who make little sense to have on the team unless you’re trying to win it all.  Again, are you reading this Cavs??  What in the world do we have Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams & Anthony Parker on our team for without LeBron??

The Knicks now have a very respectable starting 5 of Billups, Landry Fields, Melo, Stoudemire, & Ronny Turiaf, which should give the rest of the East problems.  The Knicks will almost certainly still get bounced in the 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs this year anyway, but who cares?  The NBA is always better when the Knicks are relevant, & if they can land Chris Paul or Tony Parker before next year’s playoffs then they are an immediate title contender.

There are obvious questions about the Knicks’ ability to play team defense, & we have no idea if Melo & Stoudemire can play well together.  Stoudemire is also making max money, coming off microfracture surgery & dependent upon his Lowe’s workglasses to shield him from sustaining another dangerous eye injury.

Regardless, superstar talent like Anthony doesn’t come around every year & I respect the Knicks for having the guts to make a deal that gets them closer to being a serious contender in the East.  We all know that today’s superstars like to play together for the most part, & if trading for this 2nd superstar helps the Knicks land a 3rd, look out!

Melo is headed to the Big Apple...winning the Eastern Conference just got a little tougher for the Celtics, Heat & Bulls.

From ESPN.com:

Other suitors came and went, but Carmelo Anthony‘s long anticipated marriage to the New York Knicks appears to have finally taken place.

The Knicks and Denver Nuggets agreed to a blockbuster three-team trade on Monday night that sends the All-Star forward to the Big Apple, sources told ESPN The Magazine senior writer Chris Broussard. The deal does not become official until a conference call with the league takes place on Tuesday.

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The deal ends the season-long trade saga involving Denver’s All-Star forward and sends him to New York where he has publicly stated he would like to play. If it goes through as anticipated, Anthony is expected to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Knicks, where he will play alongside good friend Amare Stoudemire.

New York gets a potentially explosive frontcourt — Stoudemire is second in the league in scoring at 26.1 points per game and Anthony is sixth at 25.2 — but it comes at a heavy cost.

As a part of the deal, the Knicks will send Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets, who would get additional picks and cash, the sources said. Along with Anthony, New York would get Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman from Denver.

Multiple media reports say that the additional picks the Nuggets will get are two second-round selections that the Knicks acquired from Golden State.

The Minnesota Timberwolves got involved to help New York clear salary space to accomodate its new players. The Knicks ship Anthony Randolph, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and $3 million to the Wolves in exchange for Corey Brewer, according to multiple media reports.

The Nuggets were reluctant to take on Curry’s $12 million salary this season for luxury tax reasons.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Nuggets coach George Karl said, according to the Denver Post, which first reported the megadeal. “I’m glad it’s an opportunity to reinvent. I think everybody handled it as classy as you could handle it. There’s some sadness to it, there always will be.”

Denver might not be Gallinari’s final destination. League sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher the Nuggets are looking at deals to ship him out for a draft pick once the deal is complete.

While Broussard reported that the Nets might try to acquire Gallinari after striking out on Anthony, there are several other interested teams with first-round draft picks to offer in exchange for the perimeter-shooting forward. Other potential suitors include the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.

Denver pulled the trigger on the Anthony deal Monday night, rather than get closer to Thursday’s trade deadline, to have more time to shop Gallinari, sources said. The Nuggets are not looking to deal Felton or Chandler, a league source said.

The Nuggets have explored an Anthony trade since he refused to sign the three-year contract extension worth nearly $65 million they offered him last summer. They appeared on the verge of sending him to the New Jersey Nets on multiple occasions. At one point in the past month, it was reported that the Lakers even kicked the tires on an Anthony trade. But the Knicks increased their offer enough recently to land Anthony.

The Knicks hope he can be in uniform Wednesday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. If he is, he’ll probably be wearing a different number.

Anthony wore No. 15 for his seven-year tenure with the Nuggets. He also wore No. 15 during his one season at Syracuse. But that digit will be off limits for Anthony in New York because the organization retired No. 15 twice — once for Earl Monroe and once for Dick McGuire. When contacted by ESPNNewYork.com late Monday night, a team official said he was unsure which number Anthony would wear with the Knicks.

Heating Up in February

Anthony It’s cold out, but the Knicks are acquiring Carmelo Anthony in the middle of a hot month. In nine February games, he’s averaging 31 points per game and shooting 53 percent from the floor.

Carmelo Anthony This Season

1st 41 Games 9 Games in Feb.
PPG 23.9 31.0
FG pct 43.4 53.0
RPG 7.9 6.4
APG 3.0 1.7

powered by ESPN Stats and Info

Anthony led the Nuggets to the playoffs in each of his first seven seasons in Denver after winning a national title at Syracuse as a freshman and had them positioned for another playoff run this year. But Denver advanced out of the first round just once in that time.

He stood to become the headliner of the 2011 free-agent class but didn’t want to risk free agency knowing a new collective bargaining agreement could cost him millions. But once he refused the extension with the Nuggets — plus put his Denver mansion on the market last year — the Nuggets’ new front-office team of general manager Masai Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke had to begin trade talks so they wouldn’t risk losing him and getting nothing in return as the Cavaliers did with LeBron James and the Toronto Raptors did with Chris Bosh last year.

There were persistent rumors Anthony wouldn’t take the extension if traded to the Nets, which was a prerequisite for them agreeing to a trade. He instead gets his apparent wish to join a Knicks team that is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and in position for its first playoff berth since 2004.

But the Knicks will make their postseason run without the core of the team. Felton, Gallinari, Mozgov and Chandler were four of New York’s top six players, and there is some thought the Knicks gave up too much to get Anthony, a sensational scorer headed to a team that doesn’t necessarily need more scoring.

However, the Knicks felt they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to land a 26-year-old superstar once he became available. Assuming he extends with the Knicks, Anthony and Stoudemire would be under contract for four more seasons, though the uncertain salary-cap situation could wreck New York’s plans to be spenders over the next two summers.

Knicks Blog

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The Nets wanted Anthony, hoping the Brooklyn native would be the face of their franchise when they open their new Barclays Center in 2012. Though he never publicly confirmed the speculation that he wouldn’t have signed an extension with the Nets, he did note Friday during the All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles that the Knicks were further along after acquiring Stoudemire last summer.

Anthony met with both Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan over the weekend and hoped there would be a resolution before he returned to the Nuggets. That indeed happened — he was excused from practice Monday so he could remain in California to appear on Conan O’Brien’s show.

The Nuggets made out well, considering they could have lost Anthony for nothing in the summer. The Nets’ offer, centered around rookie Derrick Favors and draft picks, would have meant a rebuilding situation. With the New York trade, the Nuggets get a solid point guard in Felton (17.1 points, 9.0 assists per game) to replace Billups, a young small forward in Chandler (16.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) to play Anthony’s position and add a 7-footer in Mozgov. If they do trade Gallinari for a draft pick, they will have acquired options in the draft while having the talent to remain relevant in the Western Conference playoff chase.

The Nuggets host Memphis on Tuesday night.

Karl said he’ll miss Billups, a hometown favorite and consummate professional who helped Denver reach the Western Conference finals in 2009, when the Nuggets nearly eliminated the eventual champion Lakers.

Photos: Carmelo Anthony’s career

MeloDrama is over: Anthony is going to be a Knick. Enjoy photos of an All-Star’s career: Carmelo Anthony Photo Gallery

“I think Chauncey will go down as one of the greatest winners,” Karl said. “His record of seven or eight conference finals is, I mean, that’s incredible. I think that’s who he is, that’s what he stands for. He brought one of them to us. Last year we had a miserable ending. I think there’s many people, including myself, that will be sad for Chauncey. I know he loves Denver and we love him, but things happen. There’s decisions that have to be made.

“I’m 100 percent behind the decision we made, even though it will be dangerous and there won’t be the veteran point guard back there,” Karl added. “Felton, I thought was having a great season this year. But I think Ty [Lawson] and Felton are going to have a great challenge to live up to what Chauncey has given us in past years.”

Asked who his starting point guard would be, Karl said, “Probably Ty,” then got into his maroon SUV and drove away.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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