It was a nice quiet day off after the All-Star game. And then something really strange happened. The Denver Nuggets actually made a trade. Not just a trade rumor, they made an honest to god NBA trade. Yes, the much anticipated and even more discussed Melo trade was finally consummated (oh yeah it was) sending Melo to the Knicks for what amount to half the team and whatever lonely draft picks the Knicks could pull out of their empty coffers.
The trade has the fingerprints of Isiah Thomas all over it – paying 110 cents on the dollar for a guy who publicly and repeated said that he would only play for your team. And would have been a free agent in a few months. Great to have Thomas back and making important decisions.
The Knicks final offer included Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, their 2014 first-round pick, two second-round picks New York acquired from the Golden State Warriors in the David Lee sign-and-trade and $3 million. In addition, the Knicks send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Corey Brewer.
In return, the Knicks get Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Anthony Carter.
After the trade, here is an early guess at what the two teams’ lineups look like.
New York Knicks
PG: Chauncey Billups, Toney Douglas
SG: Landry Fields, Corey Brewer
SF: Carmelo Anthony, Shawne Williams, Bill Walker
PF: Amar’e Stoudemire, Renaldo Balkman
C: Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams
Other than the Miami Heat-like hole at center (or PF if they slide Amare to C), the Knicks do pretty well for themselves (in the short term). They sacrificed some depth to get Melo, so specifically watch guys like Brewer, Douglas and Turiaf to see how many minutes they get in the new rotation. One of those guys will be worth owning in fantasy leagues thanks to some increased minutes. My money would be on Brewer and Turiaf (if he can stay on the court).
As far as Melo’s chemistry with Amare (or lack thereof), I think a Mike D’Antoni system can solve a lot of those problems. Melo averaged 19 shots a game for the Nuggets this season, while Chandler and Gallinari combined for nearly 25, so there are shots to be had in this offense. This is not a Miami Heat situation with three guys who had combined for 65 shots a game the year prior. Melo, Amare and Billups have averaged less than 50 shots a game all together this season, and that is possible to maintain on a fast paced team like the Knicks. Their fantasy value should remain steady.
PG: Raymond Felton, Ty Lawson
SG: Arron Afflalo, J.R. Smith
SF: Danilo Gallinari, (Wilson Chandler), Gary Forbes
PF: Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington
C: Nene Hilario, Timofey Mozgov, Chris Andersen
According to NBA sources, the Nuggets aren’t done dealing yet, as they are looking to try to move Gallinari and possibly Raymond Felton before the deadline. If both of those trades were to happen, Ty Lawson becomes a must add in all leagues. In 6 starts this season, Lawson has averaged 15.5 points, 6 assists, 3.7 boards and 1.7 threes a game. He’s worth a stash now in case he gets the starting job over Felton anyway (which George Karl has hinted at). Bottom line is that Felton is not in the Nuggets long term plans, while Lawson is their point guard of the future.
If Gallo gets moved it would probably be for picks. That means Chandler could slide into the SF spot and free up Kenyon Martin or Al Harrington at PF. Neither guy seems to fit in with the new team, but Martin’s contract expires at the end of the year and will probably just ride out his sentence with the team for the rest of the season.
The Nuggets are also looking to ink Nene to a long term deal, so expect Mozgov to see limited minutes in a backup role.
The Minnesota Timberwolves
And the Wolves role in all this… playing rich Uncle Kahn so that the Nuggets didn’t have to take the financial hit from Curry’s contract? That’s nice. Bewer’s departure means that the team can focus on playing Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington and Wes Johnson at the SG position instead of four guys, although none have real fantasy value this season. And Anthony Randolph? Well, he’ll probably get minutes before he burns out again, so keep an eye on him as a possible dark horse fantasy winner in the trade.
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