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Happening Elsewhere: Melo to Knicks, Hell Breaks Loose

Feb 22, 2011, 9:46 AM EDT

245998680 When Twitter exploded at 10:30 last night, it was a pretty safe bet that the moment the NBA world had been waiting for had finally come to fruition. Three days before the NBA trade deadline, All-Star Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony had finally been granted his wish for a trade, getting sent to the New York Knicks along with point guard Chauncey Billups and a trio of bench scrubs (Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter). In exchange, the Nuggets received 3/5 of the Knicks’ starting lineup (point Raymond Felton, forward Danilo Gallinari and center Timofey Mozgov), as well as reserve forward Wilson Chandler, some cash, some draft picks, the fan rights to Kevin James and Chris Rock and one of the “K”s in the Knicks logo.

The deal is an absolute coup for the Nuggets, who had little choice but to deal the one-foot-out-the-door Anthony, and as recently as a few weeks ago were rumored to be mulling a deal of Anthony for just Chandler and some spare parts. Instead, they get four legitimate rotation players, two of which (Mozgov/Gallo) are still young’ns under rookie-type deals, as well as cap relief and future draft picks. By playing the Nets and Knicks’ respective trade packages against each other, and capitalizing on Knicks owner James Dolan’s panic over potentially losing the Melo sweepstakes to NJ, they essentially rebuilt in one night. Admirable, to say the least. 

What the deal means to the Knicks is more up for debate. On one hand, they got their man in Anthony, and now boast two of the league’s top six scorers in Melo and big man Amar’e Stoudemire, as well as a proven veteran leader (and onetime finals MVP) at the one in Chauncey Billups. But the team is now thin up front as well as on the bench, having sacrificed a good deal of its depth in order to land Melo. Most NBA experts seem to believe that even with the two All-Star starters on the roster, the team’s roster lacks the strength for a deep playoff run this year.

Of course, it’s also believed by many that this move was not made just for this year, but with an eye towards the future–namely, the 2012 off-season, when coveted point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams may be available in free agency, along with perennial All-NBA center Dwight Howard. With seemingly all their other players off the books, and Billups’s contract expiring next year, the Knicks could possibly make a run at a third max free agent. Of course, no one knows what the future holds with the new CBA, but the Knicks will undoubtedly at least be players in the next couple free agent markets as they look to build around their two new superstars. It beats David Lee and Nate Robinson, anyway, I’m sure.

Tickets for the Knicks’ Wednesday home game against the Bucks are now available for upwards of $200, by the way. If you’re in the area.