Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knick.
February 22, 2011 Leave a comment
But this is a sports blog. So, how can we go without finally commenting, and hopefully putting to bed, all this Carmelo Anthony talk?
According to multiple sources around the NBA, the trade to send Carmelo Anthony, among others, to the New York Knicks appears “imminent” (News link). In the reported deal, the Nuggets would receive point guard Raymond Felton, swingman Danilo Gallinari, forward Wilson Chandler, center Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, the Knicks 2014 first round selection and Russian center Timofey Mozgoz.
In return, the Knicks would pick up Anthony, his three-year, $65 million extension, veteran point guard Chauncey Billups, forwards Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman, and reserve guard Anthony Carter (Denver Post Link).
When the trade is completed, which is expected to happen within the next 24 hours to ensure that Anthony is in uniform for the Knicks’ first game post-break on Wednesday, all of this trade nonsense can be put to rest, and the sports community can begin to look at what the Knicks can do this season with their new pieces.
Examining the trade closer, a few things stand out:
First, parting with Raymond Felton, though at first seems difficult, was only a matter of time for the Knicks. The Knicks specifically signed Felton to a two-year contract last off-season to insure the team had flexibility at the position when the likes of Chris Paul (New Orleans) and Deron Williams (Utah) hit free agency in the next big class. If the Knicks viewed Felton as a long-term solution at the point, they wouldn’t have hesitated to sign him to longer than those two years when his cap number wouldn’t have effected signing a Carmelo Anthony in free agency.
Second, fans have to understand that, as many of those connected to the Knicks thinking believe, Wilson Chandler would have eventually been released by the Knicks in the off-season if Anthony hit the open market. The Knicks would have had to clear some cap space to buffer themselves against whatever the potential cap number could’ve been. So, two of the players the team has traded appear to not be long-term pieces anyway.
Third, we approach a hypothetical. Say the Knicks were able to keep both Danilo Gallinari and Landry Fields while acquiring Anthony. The Knicks would’ve still started Fields, while Gallo got moved to a sixth man role. So, if the first two players you move are considered a wash (which they are, since Billups provides everything Felton would’ve), then the first true long-term piece the team has moved was their eventual sixth man. You haven’t lost any of your starting line-up for one of the league’s top 10 talents.
Finally, we get to Timofey Mozgoz. Yes, the young Russian appeared to be turning a corner in his rookie season in New York. Yes, he provided the Knicks with a true center to start with potential in his game to further develop. But, you have to give up prospects in order to receive someone with the stature of Carmelo Anthony. That’s the nature of the business. I don’t think many Knicks fans will be crying over Mozgoz since they now have a second star.
Wednesday night, when the Knicks host the Milwaukee Bucks, expect this starting line-up to appear:
PG Chauncey Billups
SG Landry Fields
SF Carmelo Anthony
PF Amar’e Stoudemire
C Ronny Turiaf
Can that line-up compete with Miami? Orlando? Boston?
Maybe not this year. But this team now has room for the Paul/Williams sweepstakes. That folks, makes it a great time to be a New York Knicks fan.