Week in review (2/27): Carmelo trade a good one for Knicks

wesI was a little surprised to read that some Knicks fans were upset about New York trading for Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks acquired the former Syracuse star in a three-team, 13-player trade that also landed them Chauncey Billups, among other players. In return, New York dealt forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, guard Raymond Felton and center Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets along with three draft picks.

I’ve read that the Knicks “gave up too much” to acquire Anthony, one of the best pure scorers in the NBA and an above-average rebounder for his position. But if you break down this deal piece by piece, I don’t think the Knicks really gave up that much, at all:

1. Wilson Chandler: He’s going to be a restricted free agent at the end of this season and if the Knicks were going to try to sign Anthony via free agency, they wouldn’t have had enough cap space to keep both Anthony and Chandler. So, basically, he was gone, anyway.

2. Danilo Gallinari: Gallinari’s got a lot going for him. He’s 6-foot-10. He’s got one of the best shooting touches in the league. At 22, he’s got plenty of upside. But here’s the thing – if Gallinari were to achieve his full potential, he put up Carmelo’s numbers. Why not just take the finished product?

3. Raymond Felton: Felton arrived this summer as part of a two-year deal with New York. He definitely meshed well with Amare Stoudemire and quickly learned coach Mike D’Antoni’s new system. But the Knicks received Billups in return for Felton. Felton is younger (26) than Billups (34), but Billups was the 2004 NBA Finals MVP and is signed for the exact same amount of time as Felton. In other words, Billups’ contract expires at the same time that Chris Paul and Deron Williams’ contracts expire. Billups, like Felton, is a rental until the Knicks can clear cap space to go after the elite point guards in 2012.

4. Timofey Mozgov: This is the piece that may have hurt the Knicks the most. New York is sorely lacking rebounding and size right now. There aren’t many 7-footers with the kind of potential that Mozgov has. But a month ago, Mozgov was wasting away on the Knicks bench and only recently did he start to produce for the Knicks.

Assuming that Chandler was leaving and Felton for Billups is a wash, the trade is basically Gallinari, Mozgov and a few draft picks for Anthony. How is that “giving up too much” for Anthony?

The Knicks lacked a scorer that could create his own shot down the stretch. They also lacked a tag-team partner for Stoudemire. Now, they have both. The Knicks can always acquire role players to fill out the roster. A player like Anthony doesn’t come around very often.

As for the idea that Anthony was just going to leave and sign with the Knicks at the end of the season, the new collective bargaining agreement would’ve cost Anthony around $15 to $20 million.

Anthony may have wanted his way out of Denver, but I doubt he’d leave that kind of money on the table just to come to New York. More than likely, Anthony would’ve signed for an extra three years. That would’ve allowed Denver to trade him to any team next season without the worry of Anthony holding the trade hostage by refusing to sign an extension.

Did the Knicks give up a lot of their core to get Anthony? Of course. But was it worth it? Every penny of it.

That’s all for this week, folks. See you at the same time, same place next week.

Sincerely,

Wesley Cheng
Editor in Chief

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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