After much anticipation, we have unofficial word of Carmelo Anthony being dealt to the New York Knicks. Honestly, I was hoping the deal would be made at halftime of the NBA All Star Game so he could switch uniforms at halftime. Alas, no such luck. However, the three team deal that made this happen – assuming this is the trade – is very interesting.
The Timberwolves get Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks.
The Knicks get Corey Brewer from the Timberwolves. The Knicks get Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman from the Nuggets.
The Nuggets get Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, a 2014 first round pick and 2012 and 2013 second rounders that belonged to the Warriors.
For the Timberwolves, this deal is pretty basic. They get Eddy Curry’s salary cap space and Anthony Randolph’s otherworldly but as yet untapped talent in exchange for Corey Brewer – who is a nice player, but not somebody who will be a core player on the next good Timberwolves team. Actually I like this for the Timberwolves, and if you look carefully David Kahn has done a good job accumulating talent – granted talent without any real fit, but talent.
For the Nuggets, they obviously are a loser. When you give up the best player in the deal – it’s a loss. However, if you accept that Carmelo was gone – then Denver did fairly well. They got four starters from the Knicks, all up-tempo and can fit into the system Denver already runs. Mozgov is a bit of a wildcard – he has been awful most of the year, but has delivered a couple of encouraging performances. The starting caliber players do not make up for Anthony and Billups, but it gets them younger and cleans up their payroll. The draft pick bounty is not as good as what New Jersey offered – that is the surprise about Denver taking this deal. I guess your grade for Denver is directly related to how seriously you took Melo’s position. Denver could have called his bluff and moved him to the Nets who seemed to be offering some sort of mini Herschel Walker package. In making this move, they seemed spooked about Anthony’s willingness to facilitate a move to the better deal. Whether that is true or not, we’ll never know.
The Knicks pretty clearly got the best players here. That said, one questions the Knicks dealmaking – giving up so much in this sort of move when you had so much implied leverage, it was as if the Knicks were either A) being run by Isiah Thomas (maybe they ARE) or B) channeling Barack Obama in a room full of Republicans. The Knicks got two elite starters in Anthony and Billups. Going with Stoudemire, this is an exciting team. However, especially with a new labor agreement coming, I do not know if there is cap room for the Knicks to add more. If Anthony signs, this is their team for the foreseeable future – unless they think they can move Billups for a younger point guard. This team looks like they will be better, and maybe even a dangerous floater in the East tournament. However, did this deal make the Knicks a serious near term threat against Boston, Miami, Chicago or Orlando? Is Carmelo Anthony that kind of player? He is a good rebounder and great scorer – but is he a franchise changer? I don’t know. The Knicks won this deal by getting one of those sorts of players who are just serially hard to find. However, I don’t know how far this will actually get them in the brutally difficult top heavy East.