Finally it’s all over. Carmelo Anthony is officially a Knick and he brings Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, and a familiar face in Renaldo Balkman along with him. New York departs with Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov as the four of them remain teammates in Denver (at least for the time being). The Timberwolves were the third team involved in the deal as they were needed to absorb Eddy Curry’s contract and get 21-year old Anthony Randolph from NY. Minnesota also sent Corey Brewer to the Knicks to round out the deal, and NY sent a 2014 1st round pick to the Nuggets as well.
So what does it all mean? Let’s start off easy, for Minnesota they get a young 7 ft prospect in exchange for Brewer who will be easily replaced in the rotation by the likes of Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington, and rookie Wesley Johnson. If Randolph ever develops to the potential as the lottery pick he was drafted as, then Minnesota has a very nice young core with Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Randolph, and Jonny Flynn (also Ricky Rubio whenever he’s ready to come over from Spain).
Denver, loses two stars in Melo and Billups (who was also the hometown hero) and sets them back into rebuilding mode. They start with a future 1st round pick, and solid rotation pieces in Chandler, Gallinari, and Felton who they can keep and resign or try to move elsewhere for more picks and/or prospects. It has been reported that the Clippers are interested in Gallinari and the Nets interested in basically anyone who has ever worn a Knick jersey in an effort to steal NY fans for the move to Brooklyn (remember they tried to grab David Lee this past offseason). They also get a 7 ft prospect in Mozgov and also finally will give Ty Lawson a more meaningful role as many believe he will be the starting point guard of the future. The Nuggets remain in talks with several teams including the Houston Rockets for center Nene whose contract expires at the end of the season and could be lost for nothing if he decides not to resign (a la Anthony all over again).
As for the Knicks, it’s everything they missed out on this summer with LeBron, but possibly better. Yes, they create some rotation holes but as the Heat are proving this season that will get replaced. They create their own “Big 3” in Amare, Anthony, and Billups and get the superstar power that has been missing for almost a decade. They again become relevant and revamped the city back into a basketball town. The Garden will be filled every night and the excitement can already be felt all over New York City. And according to Donnie Walsh, they are not done yet. They continue to look for a center and size to help them contend in the East this season and have reached out to the Trail Blazers about bringing back Marcus Camby. It should be noted that Billups and Camby’s contracts (should they acquire him) expire going into the summer of 2012 and allows them to go after their longterm goal of signing a top-tier point guard like Chris Paul or Deron Williams, or possibly even Dwight Howard.
Overall I see this trade as a negative for most players involved. Let’s take a look as to why…
Playing in D’Antoni’s system has never hurt any players value unless of course they don’t crack his rotation. This will not be a problem for Billups (seasonal averages of 16.5 ppg, 5.3 asts, 2.1 3s should stay consistent) and Anthony, who I believe has the most to gain (possibly up to around 27 ppg and 7.5 rebs as he will see time down low at the 4 position as well). His three-point shooting will undoubtedly increase and should improve his scoring as well. Shooters will be needed with the departure of Chandler and Gallo, and if Roger Mason or Andy Rautins can get minutes they will become a cheap source of three’s as well. If Brewer sticks around he has and will be a steady source of steals and maybe there is a chance we see his three-point shooting from the second half of last season return where he shot a career high 34.6% (playing at least 16 games) for the season. However he could go the exact opposite way and completely fall off the map it remains to be seen. Deeper leagues will want to keep an eye on Shelden Williams if you are in need of rebounding (think back to his value for the first month or so of the season) for the simple fact that he will have to play as the Knicks don’t have any other big bodies as of yet.
Unfortunately I’m expecting the opposite for the players traded from the Knicks. Gallinari will shoot wherever he ends up and could even become a second scoring option depending on the teams, although I expect him to drive and be more aggressive offensively as he is a fantastic free throw shooter at 89.3% for the season. Wilson Chandler is a different story. His numbers have been on the decline for a couple of months now and I doubt Denver will use him in the power forward spots like the Knicks sometimes were forced to. I think his blocks should decrease to around one a game (still extremely valuable in leagues that have him with SG eligibility) which is right around his career average. But with Afflalo, and J.R. Smith ahead of him he could struggle to log big minutes and put up the scoring numbers he did in New York. Same goes for Raymond Felton, who certainly will be in a time share with Lawson whereas he was the main man for the Knicks. Denver has a ton of mediocre players at the guard and wing position so playing time could be inconsistent and hard to find for some players. However if you have an open roster spot go get Ty Lawson before it’s too late. Lawson is currently available in 56% of yahoo leagues and 69% of ESPN leagues. Last night (although obviously Felton wasn’t available to play) he started and starred posting a line of 21 pts, 5 rebs, 7 asts, and 6 stls in 39 minutes. He obviously will not be playing that much a night but I can’t see how they would play him less than 25 minutes a night and we have seen his success when given time.
Anthony Randolph could benefit most from this trade. He goes to a place where he should finally get the opportunity to grow and develop. His main competition for playing time will be Darko Milicic and Anthony Tolliver, players not exactly invested highly by the Timberwolves organization (although Darko did just sign a four-year contract this past offseason). Teams in need of rebounds and blocks will definitely want to take a look at a player drafted in almost all leagues at the beginning of the season. If given a consistent 25-30 minutes a night he could flirt with double-double numbers and at least a block a game. The departure of Brewer should free up time for rookie Wesley Johnson as he should get plenty of minutes moving forward in the Minnesota youth movement. He is a streaky shooter but maybe this gives him more time to work out the kinks and try to get into some type of rhythm in the second half. If so he could rack up decent point totals as well as develop into a solid fantasy three-point contributor.