New York receives: Forward Carmelo Anthony, Guard Chauncey Billups, Guard Anthony Carter, Forward Renaldo Balkman, and Forward Shelden Williams
Denver receives: Forward Danillo Gallinari, Forward Wilson Chandler, Guard Raymond Felton, Center Timofey Mozgov, 2014 first-round draft pick, and 2012 and 2013 second-round draft picks.
Four months of ‘will he, won’t he’ at last comes to an end as Carmelo Anthony was finally traded to his team of choice, the New York Knicks. ‘Melo’s name was constantly thrown around in trade talks after he declined the three-year $65 million dollar contract extension the Nuggets offered him last June. Since that time, there were rumors of numerous teams trying to strike a deal for him, including the Knicks, Nets, Rockets, Mavericks, Bulls, and even the Lakers. The Knicks won the ‘Melo-a-thon, but paid a large sum in sacrificing a bevy of young talent, as well as multiple draft picks.
Although Anthony was obviously the best player included in this trade, the Knicks also received one of the top point guards in the league in Chauncey Billups. Billups knows how to lead a winning team, a testament to his 2004 NBA Championship withe the Detroit Pistons, is still an efficient scorer, and will always be a level-headed captain of what is sure to be an emotional team. (i.e. Derek Fisher for the Los Angeles Lakers)
As for the Nuggets, this was a great trade. Denver knew Carmelo was never going to re-sign with them, but they were still able to sap this much talent out of a panicking New York team.
Denver’s front office played this brilliantly, always leaking just enough information about talks with other teams so that the Knicks would second-guess whether or not ‘Melo would indeed sign with them in the off-season, barring they weren’t able to trade for him. With that being said, the Nuggets might have gotten the better end of the deal on this one.
As good as Carmelo Anthony is, he never led the Nuggets out of the first round of the playoffs. Although this will indeed be a rebuilding stage for Denver, they still have a good enough team to make some noise in the playoffs this year.
Danillo Gallinari is, by far, one of the most under-appreciated talents in the NBA. At 22 years of age, the Italian phenom stands a towering 6-ft-10, and possesses a deadly outside shot. With those two elements, Gallinari can play either forward slot. Aside from that, he has great athleticism for his size, and can make plays on the fast break. The upside on this guy is tremendous.
Also bundled in the trade was Wilson Chandler. Chandler is, like Gallinari, an excellent perimeter shooter, but also has the athleticism to become a human highlight-reel. The downside on Chandler is his consistency. While he can score 20 or 30 any given night, he also has the knack to shoot his team out of games. With the right coaching, however, Chandler could become an all-star.
The most surprising thing about this trade was that New York was willing to part ways with their point guard, Raymond Felton. Felton was having a career year, averaging 17 points, 9 assists, and 2 steals a game, and was actually in early contention for MVP. He was the perfect running mate for A’mare Stoudamire and could have fit well with Carmelo, as well. The fact that Denver was able to take him showed how desperate New York was.
Unfortunately for Raymond Felton, his numbers will probably take a dip for the remainder of the season, as the Nuggets will most likely give the majority of the minutes to young point guard Ty Lawson. While Felton does have the body size to play shooting guard, it wouldn’t be natural for him, so he will probably be playing off the bench. Although this is not a bad thing for the Nuggets, it will be interesting to see if Felton will accept his new role, and try to mentor the young guard, Lawson.
Another interesting factor of this trade was the unwillingness the Knicks had to part ways with young center Timofey Mozgov. Of all the players featured, the apparent snag was that the Knicks felt like the Nuggets were asking too much when they mentioned Mozgov’s name. Although things did get worked out, as the Knicks eventually relinquished Mozgov to the Nuggets, it is laughable that New York was very insistent on keeping a player who’s call to fame was being posterized by Blake Griffin.