Blog Entry

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:57 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 9:35 am
Seven months after the famous toast at Carmelo Anthony's wedding, the second member of the Knicks' proposed Big Three is on his way to New York.

Just like he wanted all along.

And now that Anthony is finally a Knick, teaming with Amar'e Stoudemire to form one of the most lethal scoring duos in the NBA, the question of how it's going to work is as important as who's coming next.

The Knicks and Nuggets agreed Monday night on a massive, three-team, 13-player trade sending Anthony to New York, three league sources told

The deal, approved by league officials Tuesday night, is Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov and New York's 2014 first-round pick going to Denver for Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter. The Timberwolves agreed to take Eddy Curry's expiring contract along with Anthony Randolph from the Knicks and send Corey Brewer to New York -- not Denver, as was discussed in a previous version of the trade. The Wolves get $3 million from the Knicks, which will be used to buy Curry out of the few remaining pay checks on his $11.3 million contract.

The Nuggets also get Golden State's second-round picks in 2012 and '13 from New York -- an incredible haul for Denver general manager Masai Ujiri considering the superstar he was forced to trade in his first few months on the job only had one destination in mind. Denver also gets Greek center Kosta Koufos from Minnesota for a second-round pick, a wrinkle added during the trade call with league officials Tuesday. Mozgov and the second-round picks being added after the Knicks made what was described as their final offer Sunday further called into question whether Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan overruled his basketball staff to close the deal.

As they said on one of the news shows Monday night in New York, "If your name is not Amar'e Stoudemire ... you've been traded!"

"They gave up their team," one rival executive said of the assets New York surrendered for Anthony, the league's sixth-leading scorer and a four-time All-Star.

Despite the assets surrendered for Anthony, the deal was another bold step for Knicks president Donnie Walsh, who needed only two years to clean up a decade-old mess at the Garden and put two of the top 10-15 players in the NBA in Knicks jerseys in a span of seven months. Though the Knicks team that emerges from this trade will have flaws, it is the most relevant -- and most dangerous -- team that has inhabited the Garden in more than a decade. The key player the Knicks would have refused to give up in the deal was Landry Fields, a second-round pick who has emerged as one of the top rookies in the league.

Pending the passing of physicals, Anthony and Billups will make their Knicks debuts Wednesday night against Milwaukee at the Garden.

The question becomes whether Walsh will have enough flexibility to make the third member of the Anthony wedding trinity, Chris Paul, appear between 31st and 33rd Streets when he is a free agent in 2012. Deron Williams also will be a free agent that summer, and reported last week that Williams began contemplating a union with Stoudemire last summer. It isn't clear whether Stoudemire and Anthony making a combined $40 million in 2012-13 will allow space for a third max player under a new collective bargaining agreement. But once the Lakers, Celtics and Heat set the precedent for superstars teaming up, it can't be good for them and not good for others.

The Nets, whose pursuit of Anthony ended Monday night in a crushing disappointment for Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, could expand the deal by taking two ex-Knicks from Denver but are not fully committed to the idea, according to a person briefed on the negotiations. The Nets' involvement depends on which two of the four ex-Knicks the Nuggets want to trade. Nuggets officials have been pushing for some degree of assurance that they can flip two of the Knicks players they are getting for draft picks, which they value more.

It was presumed earlier Monday that Denver would flip Gallinari and Mozgov to New Jersey for two first-round picks, providing the final incentive for Denver to part with its franchise player. But sources indicated Monday night that the Nets may actually want Felton in that scenario, and that New Jersey prefers Felton over acquiring Andre Miller from Portland in one of several separate potential trades they are discussing.

Either way, Anthony finally will get his wish Tuesday -- a three-year, $65 million extension with the Knicks, the team he has pushed to be dealt to since September. reported in December and again in January that Anthony, if traded, wouldn't sign an extension anywhere but with the Knicks. His persistence was tested in recent days, when Anthony agreed to meet with Prokhorov, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and other Nets management figures during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles as a condition of getting permission to meet with the Knicks' Dolan. Anthony was careful not to give any commitment to Prokhorov, but he also didn't turn the Nets down. To ensure that the Nuggets could get a competitive offer from New York, Anthony needed to leverage the possibility of signing the extension with the Nets. So in a way, Anthony and Ujiri were working in tandem all along to get Anthony to his preferred destination in a way that satisfied both their agendas.

Anthony, 26, will join fellow All-Star Stoudemire, 28, to form one of the most potent offensive duos in the NBA -- and the highest-profile superstars in their prime that the team has had in the lives of most Knicks fans. But with the Knicks giving up three starters and Mozgov, a 24-year-old 7-footer, New York will have a thin bench and still won't have a defensive big man to take pressure off Stoudemire. In addition, Stoudemire and Anthony will be scheduled to make $40 million combined in 2012-13 -- perhaps hampering the Knicks' efforts to land a member of that summer's star-studded free-agent class including Paul, Williams, and Dwight Howard.

Meanwhile, Denver's new basketball brain trust of Ujiri and executive Josh Kroenke passed an enormous test of their will, patience and negotiating chops with flying colors. Going all the way back to September, when they refused to pull the trigger on a four-team Melo trade involving Charlotte and Utah, Ujiri and Kroenke expertly played the Knicks and Nets against each other to the tune of a potentially massive package of assets for Anthony. The strategy resulted in an out-of-control groundswell of public support in New York for the Knicks to acquire Anthony, a player some significant members of the organization were determined not to give up major assets to acquire. And in an unimaginable twist given the obstacle that Anthony only wanted to re-sign with the Knicks, the Nuggets could wind up walking away with significant assets from both of the teams that pursued their star player.

It is common for general managers to print money in trades through contract-swapping. The Nuggets could essentially wind up printing draft picks by flipping two of the Knicks' players they didn't want for assets they value more. Even if the Nuggets wind up trading none of the ex-Knicks to New Jersey, it was an extremely impressive debut in the hot seat for Ujiri, a Nigerian-born former international scout who was part of the Toronto front office that got burned by free agent Chris Bosh last summer.

The Knicks get older, but arguably better at the point guard position with Billups, 34, taking over for Felton, 26 -- though Billups is not a classic pick-and-roll point guard and will have trouble playing the heavy minutes Felton endured. Williams, a disciplined, 6-9 reserve, will help bolster New York's undersized front court, and the addition of Brewer to the deal gives the Knicks a much needed wing defender.

In the end, this one's all about Melo -- a sidekick for Stoudemire who will cause problems for Boston, Miami and Chicago while serving as further magnetism for future free agents.  

They're still one shy of a Big Three.

For up to date news on the NBA trade deadline, follow Ken Berger on Twitter at @KBerg_CBS
For more on the Nuggets' trade of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks: 
Ben Golliver breaks down the winners and losers from the trade
Did this trade make the Knicks contenders? Royce Young has his doubts
Carmelo Anthony: No one man should have all that power , thinks Matt Moore. 


Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:28 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

It's kinda sad this Melo saga is over. The game itself is so bad that the NBA realized years ago something had to be done. So instead of improving the game by taking control of the league, the NBA decided to promote its players over its teams'. For the last few years the NBA has taking a page from reality TV and has produced even more drama/garbage. They leaned heavily on LeBron for two years until that wonderfully produced show "The Decision" ending one cities' dreams, followed by an introduction so lame in Miami, some went back to Cuba. Now with the Melo saga over, what's next Stern... Lockout, threats to small market cities by moving their franchises, a VH1 show featuring Bird Man, more Jim Gray, longer halftime entertainment during All Star Weekend... stay tuned?!!!

Since: Oct 11, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:26 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

great trade for the Nuggets and Knicks. the Nuggets get 4 players and cash and a pick in 2014, PLUS, if they can somehow make a trade with the Nets, then they can get more picks. The Knicks get better than i and i bet others expected. First off, they get Carmelo Anthony, that's great. They also got Renaldo Balkman, Sheldon Williams, Corey Brewer, Anthony Carter and Chauncey Billups. Getting Balkman is good for depth, getting Williams in my book would help them on depth as well, plus, he could step in and play PF at times while Stoudamire moves to center at times. Getting Corey Brewer is unexpected, but he can play some defense and while he wont start, he will be a good backup to both Carmelo and Landry Fields (if he starts at shooting guard now). getting Carter brings depth to the guards and getting Billups is just a way to replace the loss of Felton who was playing well. Billups is older, but he has experience.

As for the Nuggets, they got not one or 2, but 3 starters!! Danilo Gallinari is the real key here. there are reports that Denver wants to trade him. IF they do, then they could get a draft pick for him. IF they dont keep him and trade him, the trade is still good because they get a pick and of course they get 2 starters. Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson will work well together and they both interest me. Wilson Chandler is a good player who will put up some points, but isnt a mad scorer, plus they get cash and picks and they could get more picks. good trade for a team that is getting younger.

Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:22 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

I think this trade once again shows how much some NBA executives overlook the importance of defense, chemistry and depth in their pursuit of a championship. Now before I get branded a Knicks hater and a Melo hater let me just say that I like both the Knicks and Melo. I'm just saying that I don't necessarily believe that this trade makes them that much better of a team, if at all. Now maybe this is the first of several moves like the article suggests at which case you cannot argue with getting a superstar. However, speaking in terms of right now, I don't think this elevates the Knicks too much in the eastern conference and, in terms of depth and defense, it actually knocks them down a notch. This reminds me a lot of the Heat deal where everyone just assumed since they bundled three superstars that it would translate into championships while overlooking some major holes the deal left in the team. To compare either of these moves to the Celtics acquiring the big three is not accurate in my book. The Celtics did not just bring in the best players available, they brought in the right players. They placed an emphasis on defense and brought in players who fit into the system they already had in place. They were pieces to the puzzle. I think the Knicks and the Heat scrapped the puzzle and chose to start over. That rarely translates into instant success. If you look at Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton, two of the young players leaving the Knicks, at first glance it may look like the Knicks didn't lose much. However, though not an elite offensive player like Melo, Chandler was very versatile player who brought a lot on the defensive end. He's the kind of player you see on championship teams. A hard-hat, do the dirty work type of player who can also put up 17 points a night. Is Melo gonna give you the effort and production on defense that Chandler did and if not, do the extra points make up for it? Also, Felton was just blossoming into a very good, young point guard and now he is being replaced by the aging Billups. While I do like Billups playoff experience, you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank. From here on out, which point guard would you want to build your team around? Not to mention that they gave up a young big in Mosgov. If this move was just the first of several, then I think its too early to give the Knicks a grade. However, if this is the finished product than I think the Knicks brass got caught up in the hype and focused too much on landing their star while losing focus on the ultimate prize--making their team better to win a championship.

Since: Jan 24, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:13 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

Durant signed a contract extension this past summer so he’s off the market, as for Westbrook, well that’s to be determined.  I am a die hard, long suffering Knick fan, and yes, I am so excited that we got Melo, but your right! Superstar players have too much power /control in this league. This has to be a topic in this summer’s CBA Negotiation. Can we Say “Franchise Tag”.

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:07 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

With all of the superstars moving to the same teams, can everyone see that it is time to contract the NBA.  Time to get rid of the teams that will never, never, never compete for a championship.  AKA:  Minnesota, Toronto, Clippers, Memphis, and probably a couple more that I can not recall at this moment.

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:06 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

Get serious. At one time Shaq was the most dominating player in the league let alone his position. When were you born? What a dumb thing to say.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:57 am

The NBA is fast becoming America's worst League

The NBA draft used to represent hope for the future of "weaker" franchises. Draft a stud if you can, then build around the stud. But with the direction that the NBA is moving now, your stud will only be with you until their first free agency unless you are in a "destination" city. Others can start the countdown for the departure of their stud draft pick, and centerpiece of their team, to be swoopped up into the next Big Three with about two years left in your stud's rookie deal. Too bad, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Toronto Raptors. Time to start over - again. So now that Melo is gone, lets spend the next year discussing where Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard will end up. Will Orlando be a "destination"? Maybe. Certainly, New Orleans and Utah will not be. Their countdown has already begun. When do we start the clock on Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City? Chicago IS a destination city, so Derrek Rose is probably a part of a future Big Three. But certainly Minneapolis is NOT - let the countdown begin for Kevin Love and his Big Three someplace else. Is there really any future long-range hope for the Memphis Grizzlies' fans (the few), the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Sacramento Kings, and Canada!? No way the Toronto Raptors will ever have a Big Three. All Leagues have their weak franchises - like the Pirates, Royals, etc - but, no League is poised for the disparity of competetive HOPE, that the NBA now has in its future.

Since: Aug 11, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:54 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

At no point and time was Shaq the best player at his position. I have zero idea who is arguging what but Shaq was never the best player at his position....

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:51 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

Teams can still win with just two (Wade, Shaq - Kobe, Shaq)

Yeah sure... except there is one problem with your comparison.  Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony don't even come close to comparing with those 2 players.  Kobe and Shaq when they played together were 10 times the players Anthony and Stoudemire are today.  Kobe and Shaq are arguably the best players to ever play their positions in their prime. And if you don't agree with that, they are both certainly top 5 all time.  It's just not even close.... can you win with 2 stars? Maybe.. but the surrounding cast has to be better then New York has right now, a lot better.

Please don't ever mention the Kobe Shaq tandem when referring to anybody on the Knicks today.... you don't sound very smart doing it.

Since: Mar 22, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2011 9:43 am

Knicks, Nuggets agree to Melo trade

Terrible deal for NY, great deal for Denver.  2 scorers who can't play defense ain't gonna do anything, especially when you have no talent left on your team after those 2 "stars".  Congrats Nugs.

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