Carmelo Anthony

The Denver Nuggets’ new vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has quite a conundrum on his hands. He’s trying to convince Carmelo Anthony to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension but multiple sources close to Anthony have reported that he has no intention of staying in Denver beyond this season. To make matters worse, rumors abound that Anthony really wants to play for the Knicks so any other team wanting to acquire him might not have any more success than the Nuggets in getting him to sign an extension.

If you’re a Nuggets fan, you most likely want Ujiri to hang on to Carmelo at least until the February trading deadline in the hopes that the Nuggets will emerge as one of the top teams in the West and therefore convince Anthony to change his feelings about his future in Denver. This remains the most likely way this drama will play out, but that doesn’t stop fans of the other 29 teams from salivating over the idea of seeing Anthony in their jersey.

(A fan of both the Knicks and Anthony posted this Photoshop of ‘Melo in a Knicks jersey on Twitter and @carmeloanthony re-tweeted it. Make of that what you will.)

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Ujiri and pretend that we’ve concluded that we have to trade Anthony or risk losing him to free agency after the 2010-11 season. Obviously, there would be no shortage of interested parties — especially the Knicks. So let’s head to the ESPN Trade Machine and see what kind of deal we can work out between Denver and New York.

The trade machine doesn’t let you include draft picks in your proposed trades, but that’s a moot point with the Knicks because the Rockets have the option to swap first round picks with the Knicks in 2011 and they also own the Knicks’ first round pick (top-five protected) in 2012. Anyway, here’s what I came up with in terms of a theoretically possible Nuggets-Knicks trade.

That’s Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari and the obese, expiring contract of Eddy Curry for Carmelo Anthony. Since Randolph was traded to the Knicks on July 9 and a player can’t be traded as part of a group within two months of being acquired in a trade, this transaction couldn’t take place until about a week from now.

The funny thing about this proposal is that I’m quite sure the fanbases of both the Nuggets and the Knicks would hate this. Nuggets fans will think it’s not enough to get in return for ‘Melo (since only Randolph and Gallinari are actually usable players) and Knicks fans will think that’s too much to give up for him since they can just sign him outright in the summer of 2011.

So here’s where I try to convince these fanbases that this is actually a good deal. Let’s start with Nuggets fans. Gallinari and Randolph are both very good, very young (Gallinari is 22 and Randolph is 21) prospects and if you can get two young players of their caliber in return for Carmelo, that’s a very good starting point for the rebuilding project your team will likely need to undertake. As for Curry, he’s obviously never going to put on a Nuggets jersey but that $11 million expiring contract could potentially be a useful trade chip later in the season — and even if it isn’t, it will help your team on its journey to the other end of the cap.

Now for the Knicks fans. I’m well aware that most of you think that you shouldn’t have to give up Randolph AND Gallinari because you’re convinced Anthony is just going to sign with your team regardless. I’m both amused and surprised that so many Knicks fans would feel this way considering what happened with LeBron James this past off-season. Even if Carmelo has his heart set on New York at the moment, who is to say he won’t change his mind between now and next July?

This trade could potentially make the Knicks a top-four team in the East this season, assuming both Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire stay healthy. From there, it simply becomes an issue of adding supporting pieces and we can probably assume that New York would become a particularly attractive free agent destination if the Knicks had a one-two punch of Anthony and Stoudemire.

I’d like to hear from both Nuggets and Knicks fans about this proposal, but I’d also like to read what fans of other teams think. Feel free to propose Anthony trades to other teams, but keep in mind that those teams might not be willing to offer very much if they think Carmelo could be a one-year rental. As for me, if I was the GM of either the Nuggets or the Knicks, I think I could talk myself into this deal.

Comments (19)

  1. Wow that’s a crappy deal for Denver. An obese guy with a bad heart, another injured guy with a bad back and a guy that can perhaps one day win 6th man of the year.

    Better deal would be trade to the Clippers for Minne’s top 10 pick (unprotected next year) and some talent (perhaps AA and Gordon)

  2. Carmelo Anthony is an extremely overrated player. He’s essentially a poor man’s Corey Maggette – they are equally inept at defense and playmaking, but Maggette is more efficient whereas Melo just uses more possessions.

    If they can get Curry’s fat expiring, and a pair of young potential all-stars for Melo, they’ll be better off.

  3. PB: If you’re the Clippers GM, do you offer that much if you’re not sure Carmelo is going to sign an extension with you? And if you’re Carmelo, why would you want to extend with that mess of a franchise? This is the “problem” I refer to in the title. That’s a lot of talent to give up for what could be just one season of Carmelo.

  4. To be fair though, that deal is good the the Clippers in the sense that they dump Baron’s bad contract. I’m much rather do say, Baron + Kaman + Aminu for Melo’s expiring and filler

  5. In this specific trade, I’ll keep both and try to fill the 1 and 2 spots the next few years, thanks. Way too much talent, especially Randolph.

  6. I think it could be argued that the Knicks should use their trade assets in another deal. Like for Andre Iguodala. “Prying” Iguodala away from Philly should cost less than Melo, in terms of both players and salaries. Would the Sixers require Gallo or Randolph? If they are ready to relieve themselves of Iguodala’s contract, I can’t see the asking price being that high. Would they take Curry, Chandler, some second-rounders, and one of the Knicks’ young role players? If the market’s shallow, I could see that working, if the Sixers are committed to increasing cap room.

    So it comes down to asking yourself whether the difference between Carmelo and Iguodala is so great that it is the equivalent of Gallinari/Randolph, a first round pick, and an average of $6.4MM per year over the next four seasons ($7MM when CP3 and Deron are on the market). Yeah, Iguodala is no where near the scorer Melo is. But he’s a freakish athlete who is much more well-rounded than Melo, and the difference between the two is compensated by Gallo/Randolph sticking around. I think the Knicks would be much happier with Paul or Williams, and if they ever happen to hit the trade market, the Knicks will have the assets to make it happen.

  7. Ryan: I guess you think Randolph is going to play center? Because even if he packs on some muscle, he hasn’t proven he can defend effectively at that position. He’s really best used as a PF and it seems as though that position is filled — unless you see Amar’e as your C, and I don’t think he wants to play there.

  8. The Knicks lose too much. Your argument about Melo changing his mind in summer cannot be based on LeBron. Carmelo will be by far the best FA next summer and the Knicks would look even more appealing with Gallinari and Randolph more developed.

  9. General: But you’re taking a lot for granted here. You’re taking for granted that both Gallinari and Randolph will stay healthy and will develop as you expect, and you also take for granted that another big-market team won’t suddenly become appealing for Carmelo. Let’s be real here. Knicks fans did not expect that Amar’e Stoudemire would be THE GUY they would claim after they cleared all that cap space. The NBA does not exist in a vacuum and if you have the opportunity to establish a long-term core of legit stars Carmelo and A’mare right now, it’s pretty foolhardy to say that you’re not willing to give up a couple of players who actually haven’t accomplished anything in the league right now.

    Feel free to rub it in my face when the Knicks pull this off next off-season, and I’m not saying that your scenario is impossible. But to assume that it’s likely is not being particularly realistic. If the Knicks miss the playoffs this season because Amar’e gets hurt again, will Melo still be as attached to your team?

  10. One way to think about this sort of trade from the Knicks’ perspective is to think about what the Knicks would need to add to become a legitimate championship contenders. Amare and Carmelo are both mediocre defenders, passers, and rebounders (for their positions). To win a championship, I think they would need to surround those two with an almost perfect collection of role players. They would still need interior defense, perimeter defense, plus rebounding from somewhere, outside shooting, and someone to run the offense. To put together an excellent team, I think they would need two stars whose games complimented each other better. He’s not as good as Carmelo, but I think (for example) Noah’s suggestion of Iguodala would be a much better fit for the Knicks.

  11. Josh: I don’t disagree with you, but the larger issue might be whether or not the Knicks can be a strong defensive team as long as D’Antoni is their coach and Stoudemire is one of their big men. If I can be blatantly cynical about this, this trade would make the Knicks a New York sensation for the first time since 2000. Obviously, that’s not the same thing as being a championship contender, but I don’t believe that Iguodala gets the Knicks there, either.

    My point is that Anthony and Stoudemire would give the Knicks a pretty strong base to build around. They could surround them with defensive specialists over the next few years — they certainly won’t be wanting for offensive firepower. Passing up this opportunity because Randolph and Gallinari might turn into building blocks just doesn’t seem like a strong strategy to me.

  12. Anthony and Stoudemire are a strong base to build around. The problem I see is not so much Gallinari and Randolph’s potential, although that’s certainly an issue. The bigger problem is roster flexibility. A lineup of Stoudemire-Randolph-Gallinari-Iguodala-Felton won’t win any championships, but it gives the Knicks a strong team. Just as importantly, there are a lot of ways to upgrade that team, giving Donnie Walsh a lot of options going forward. If they build around Anthony and Stoudemire, who need the ball in specific situations to be effective, then Walsh has very little roster flexibility, and he’ll probably end up paying $60 million for Kendrick Perkins or Roy Hibbert in a few years.

  13. This is my ultimate 3-way screw you trade, it may seem one sided towards the Nuggets, but Ig has a stupidly large contact, plus the Nuggets will have to rely on solid minutes from K-Mart at 3-4, plus Harrington also not being a total failure.

    At the moment I feel the best thing the Knicks can do in regards to Carmelo is wait and do nothing. Plus get rid of Isiah, but they did that already.

    Let Melo be traded where ever based on some list he gave management, but the chances are he’ll still be an one sided player, as he was before. This is a trade about the future and chances are who ever pulls the trigger first on this is going to be screwed. Amare, Gallinari and Randolph haven’t even played a game together yet, so relax.

    The other big rumor going around was that Chris Paul wants to leave the hornets so as much as Carmelo wouldn’t want to go there, if I were the nuggets I’d basically send a bit of a screw you to them and their management. Along with Paul (who seems nice enough but the LeBron thing as affected his thinking).
    It amused me anyway.

  14. Melo wanting to leave Denver to go to NY is much more disappointing to me than what LeBron did. The Knicks are unlikely to make the playoffs this coming year. The Nuggets made it to the WCF two years ago. Last year was disappointing, but I think a lot of that can be put on George Karl being out and various injuries. I just don’t see why an exceptionally talented player would want to leave an extremely talented and well-constructed team to go play for a perennially losing, poorly constructed team with very little talent and one of the worst front offices in professional sports over the last 10 years. He should be leading the team he has, making them better. I think he should believe that (with another piece or two) he can win a championship in Denver.

  15. I’ve heard reports that D’Antoni and Walsch will try to put Chandler in that deal instead of Gallinari..

    Also, do you think its possible that Denver also gives up J.R. Smith as a package deal for other players?

  16. tjr: That’s a very creative trade proposal. I actually had to ponder that one for a bit.

    Ultimately, I don’t think the Nuggets or Hornets would like this trade, while the Sixers would be the big winners. I think my proposal makes more sense for the Nuggets’ future, but I like what you tried to do there.

    BP: J.R. Smith is considered a liability rather than an asset at this point. Denver would love for any team to take him off their hands and give them a draft pick in return.

  17. The hypothetical trade was mostly what I thought could be the worst possible outcome for everyone except the Knicks.
    Especially if the locker room is as bad as reports say it could be in Denver.

    People rule out cause he’s such a nice guy (and a snappy dresser) that Chris Paul could pull the same sort of crap, opt out and go to New York soonish (It’s not going to happen).

    As most of the other posters have said the Knicks front office are terrible, and they’ll some how screw this up probably by trading Gallinari or thinking Rubio will be the key to all their future success running the pick an roll with an eyeless legless zombie Amare (Which if he runs in an D’Antoni system for a few more years is what he’ll become).

    Nuggets need to do something and soon, but my gut feeling is that they won’t which will make the whole Melo matter worse.
    In an ideal world for me the Nuggets trade everyone after realizing their window has closed and Paul and maybe Melo go to New Jersey while still keeping Brook Lopez and booting Devin Harris.

  18. Or maybe NY could ship Curry+Turiaf for Anthony

  19. I laughed at the image of an “eyeless legless zombie Amare”

    Loved it, and I like the guy.

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