Carmelo Anthony (left) and Amire Stoudemire have formed a “super” team in New York to complete with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in the East. Photos by Jeff Lewis
There is no downside to the blockbuster 3-team deal just completed. All teams involved received either better personnel or valuable cap space for future moves.
By Michael Brown,
Sentinel Sports Writer
“In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, oh there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you…”–Alicia Keys (Empire State of Mind)
Last year’s Jay-Z and Alicia Keys hit “Empire State of Mind,” probably best sums up the excitement and buzz surrounding Monday’s deal which will allow Carmelo Anthony to don the team’s jersey of his birthplace.
There’s only one word needed to sum up the months long protracted speculation and never ending Carmelo to the Knicks rumors: finally!
And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has to be doing cartwheels in the league’s office right now. The results are in from NBA All-Star weekend, and the game was the highest rated in eight years, and more people tuned in to see Blake Griffin win the dunk contest than ever before.
Not only that, but the weekend went smoothly despite L.A. being soaked in a rainstorm, and for all intents and purposes, no incidents were reported that could have damaged the NBA’s rep.
But Monday, the news hit a crescendo when it was announced that the Knicks, Nuggets and ‘Wolves agreed to a deal in principle.
The main players involved in the deal are Anthony and Chauncey Billups going to the Knicks; Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari to Denver and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and Anthony Randolph to Minnesota.
All of the stars in Stern’s orbit are aligned perfectly. The NBA’s largest market was made relevant again last summer when it signed Amar’e Stoudemire. But now, you can argue the Knicks are on par with L.A., Boston and Miami.
Well, on par on an interest level at least.
From a basketball standpoint, the Knicks are a dangerous playoff team, but they aren’t a threat in the Eastern Conference this season. Stoudemire and Anthony are going to put up pinball machine type numbers in Coach Mike D’Antoni’s up and down the court offense. But neither star is known for their defense, so I expect we’ll see a lot of games where they’ll have to outscore opponents.
But that’s OK. I’m sure New York fans like Spike Lee and Jerry Seinfeld won’t complain. Paying thousands of dollars to watch Anthony and Stoudemire lose 130-125 is much more exciting than watching what’s been on display for more than a decade.
Acquiring Billups will help in the short term, too. The Knicks traded way three starters and got two back. Billups and Anthony like to run the floor and will complement Stoudemire and Landry Fields nicely. There’s a doughnut hole at center, but let’s be honest, aside from Orlando’s Dwight Howard–there aren’t any formidable centers in the East.
Billups’ steady hand at point guard should give the Knicks enough cushion this and next season until New Orleans’ Chris Paul or Utah’s Deron Williams’ contracts are up. Everyone’s assuming that Billups is just keeping the seat warm until New York is able to acquire one of the all-star guards.
From Denver’s standpoint, they did what they had to do. The Nuggets’ front office deserves some credit for holding out on the Knicks until they were offered enough for Anthony.
The Knicks have been trying to short change the Nuggets for weeks, but Denver obviously used the Andrew Bynum rumors two weeks ago and the threat of trading him to New Jersey as leverage.
Make no mistake about it, Denver’s back at square one. They have to rebuild and the three players they received are nice starting blocks. Denver will likely have to draft another superstar the caliber of Anthony because for whatever reason, all stars don’t find the city and franchise appealing enough to sign free agent deals.
Denver didn’t make the mistake Cleveland made by letting a franchise player walk without receiving compensation.
With a new collective bargaining agreement sure to be agreed upon after a potential labor stoppage next year, franchises like the Nuggets are better fit rolling the dice and dumping salary. The new system may favor them.
The lowly Minnesota ‘Wolves even won in the deal. Not from a players aspect because Curry’s been a habitual underachiever his whole career and Randolph’s just a throw-in, although he does have ability.
For the same reasons I gave for Denver, Minnesota’s only hope is to clear out cap room, hope to attract a free agent under a new CBA and draft well. And Spanish whiz kid Ricky Rubio deciding to lace up his sneakers in America next season wouldn’t hurt either.
Rubio paired up with Kevin Love would be worth the price of admission alone.
This move almost assuredly puts New York back on the proverbial map.
To quote another legend with “old blue eyes,” who sang his own anthem for New York, “Start spreading the news…”
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