Melo got his way in the end, going via trade to the New York Knicks just two days before the NBA Trade Deadline. A deal that will be finalized Monday according to ESPN and the Denver Post will send Carmelo to the Knicks, ending the Anthony Era in Denver.
The trade itself is nearly identical to scenarios reported in recent weeks, with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups leaving Denver along with a trio of role players. The Nuggets will receive forwards Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, point guard Raymond Felton, and 7-foot Russian center Timofey Mozgov plus several draft picks.
Mozgov was the sticking point for the Knicks in recent days, with New York unwilling to part ways with the rapidly-improving young big man. However, the reintroduction of the New Jersey Nets into negotiations to land Melo just before the All Star Break spurred the Knicks into uncomfortable trade territory.
The Nets had made available their top two young players and four first-round draft picks in a bid to land Anthony. New Jersey majority owner Mikahil Prokhorov sought Melo as a key selling point for his team’s transition to Brooklyn in 2012.
In keeping their young assets, though, the Nets simply succeeded in driving up the cost of Carmelo for regional rival New York while staying true to their strategy of rebuilding through the NBA Draft.
Now Anthony has a world of pressure on his shoulders as he and fellow New York transplant Amare Stoudemire seek to elevate the Knicks beyond their recent struggles. Aside from wallowing in mediocrity since the mid-90’s, New York has fallen into a slump after some surprising success earlier this season.
In addition to giving up major components of their starting lineup and key role players to the Nuggets, the Knicks also parted ways with Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry. Those two will reportedly be packaged into a deal that sends the Timberwolves’ 2014 first round pick to Denver, with Minnesota guard Corey Brewer now bound for the Big Apple.
The Nuggets will also receive two second round picks from the Knicks plus cash.
The immediate result of this blockbuster trade is a New York fan base expecting the world and a Denver fan base missing its hometown hero. While Melo will head to the Knicks largely of his own volition, Chauncey Billups is leaving both the town of his birth and the team he had hoped to retire with.
Speculation has already arisen that the Knicks will have to consider buying out Billups’ remaining contract, as Chauncey has indicated that he would consider retiring if traded.
Also heading to the Knicks from Denver are reserve point guard Anthony Carter, backup center Shelden Williams, and New York native Renaldo Balkman. The three constitute the absolute depths of the Denver Nuggets’ bench, and will hardly be missed. Carter is long-time Nugget who once started at point guard, but Williams was a 2010 offseason acquisition, and Balkman has been mired in mediocrity despite considerable upside.
In the end, it seems that the Nuggets got the best of the Knicks.