The first NBA trade deadline domino fell late Monday evening when Carmelo Anthony was finally dealt to the Knicks in a three-team trade involving twelve players. Thank goodness because I was getting LeBron-Decision-like sick of all the rumors, reports, and speculation flooding ESPN‘s airwaves. After weighing his options of the Knicks, Nets, or possibly staying with the Nuggets, ‘Melo decided New York is where he wanted to be. Here’s a breakdown of the deal.
By: David Kay
New York Knicks Get: SF Carmelo Anthony, PG Chauncey Billups, PG Anthony Carter, PF Shelden Williams, PF Renaldo Balkman , SG Corey Brewer
Denver Nuggets Get: PG Raymond Felton, SF Danilo Gallinari, SF Wilson Chandler, C Timofey Mozgov, Knicks 2014 1st Round Pick
Minnesota Timberwolves Get: F Anthony Randolph, C Eddy Curry
Why this makes sense for New York:
It has been the worst kept secret in the NBA for the past several months that Melo was eventually coming to the Big Apple. Now the Knicks are following suit with what the Heat did this off-season and forming their own team of superstars now led by Amare and ‘Melo.
Billups gives the Knicks a veteran point guard who will bring his experience as a winner to the court in New York. The question now becomes whether or not the Knicks can find the complimentary players to surround their superstars with; something Miami has struggled to do this season. Their cap flexibility will be limited until Billups comes off the books after next season and in trading Randolph, Gallinari, and Chandler, Landry Fields and Brewer are now the young pieces who can hopefully grow into those other roles while Carter, Williams, and Balkman are salary fillers to make the deal work.
This deal hurries along the re-building process for the Knicks franchise and helps erase the disappointment of LeBron not ending up in New York. I wouldn’t jump out there and say that the Knicks are suddenly title contenders but they certainly add more buzz to the organization that struggled so mightily the past few years. Is it too early to start the Chris Paul or Deron Williams to Knicks rumors?
Why this makes sense for Denver:
The Nuggets were backed into a corner; either trade ‘Melo before the deadline and get something in return or likely lose him in the off-season and have nothing to show for it (aka what the Raptors did with Chris Bosh last season.) At the same time, it was Anthony calling the shots on where he would end up getting traded so the Nuggets were at his mercy.
With this deal, Denver gets about fifty cents back on the dollar. Felton is a young, cheaper replacement for Billups who was having a career year with the Knicks. He will likely split time at the point with fellow ex-Tar Heel Ty Lawson to begin his tenure in Denver but should take over for Billups as the team’s floor leader. Felton is only under contract through next season though he has a very affordable salary of $7.5 million.
Gallinari and Chandler will be asked to fill the void left behind by Anthony though Gallinari reportedly could be on the move before Thursday’s trade deadline. Both are talented scorers who thrived in the Knicks’ up-tempo offense so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact they make with the Nuggets. Mozgov has yet to find a consistent role in his first year in the NBA and will provide depth up-front behind Nene (who could still be dealt before the deadline but reports have Denver wanting to work out an extension with their big man who has a player option to become a free agent after this season) and Chris Andersen.
I wouldn’t get too excited about the 2014 first round pick because at the pace the Knicks are improving, it will likely be in the 20’s. This deal does provide some cap flexibility for next off-season especially when you add in the expiring contracts of Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith.
Why this makes sense for Minnesota:
It had been rumored that if the Knicks got Anthony, the T-Wolves would be the third team because they were willing to take on Curry’s expiring contract (which Denver did not want to do) just to land Randolph. The 6-11 forward is in his third season in the NBA but has yet to reach the enormous potential he possesses. GM David Kahn is all about taking flyers on guys and hoping they pan out (see Michael Beasely and Darko) and Randolph comes at the cheap cost of Corey Brewer who seemingly did not fit into Kahn’s long-term plans. (If Kahn actually has a long-term plan.) Randolph will provide Minnesota with the typle of player they are lacking; a long, athletic forward. He is under contract for the 2011-2012 season but could be let go after that if he does not pan out like was the case in Golden State and New York.
Wouldn’t it be funny if Curry actually played a few games for the T-Wolves, showed a pulse, and then Kahn signed him to a 5-year, $50 million contract? (Timberwolves’ fans are repeatedly slamming their car door against their head at the realization that this could actually happen.)
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and former contributor for The Washington Times Communities. You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.Follow paulmbanks