Three-Way Deal Brewing Between Clippers, Nuggets, and Knicks?
Some people are going to call me crazy here—and maybe I am—but I'm increasingly feeling the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers—or two of the three—are soon to pull off a big deal that could involve names such as Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Marcus Camby or David Lee.
Of course, I have no proof any deal is imminent; however, a look at each team's recent moves leaves a lot of head scratching and wondering.
The Nuggets have all but publicly said they plan to dismantle their team and start over. They traded their only good big man, Marcus Camby, to the Clippers for nothing—a future second round pick—and let quality back-up, fan favorite Eduardo Najera walk off without an offer.
Then they went out and signed wacko Chris Anderson and traded for Renaldo Balkman. Go to any Nuggets' message board online and you'll see many of their fans are pissed.
These moves leave the Nuggets with the following players under contract: Carmelo Anthony, Iverson, Chucky Atkins, Kenyon Martin, Nene, Steven Hunter, Linas Kleiza, Anderson, and Anthony Carter. Iverson, Atkins, Anderson and Carter are all free agents at year's end who are unlikely to return. J.R. Smith is a restricted free agent and Nuggets' brass has said they will match any offer.
Why would the Nuggets send off Camby for nothing when they know Martin and Nene will visit the IR as early as their next sudden movement? Since joining the Nuggets, Martin has only appeared in 49 percent of his team's games. Nene, in the past four seasons, has appeared in only 41 percent of the games. Making matters worse is the fact these guys might hold the two most untradeable contracts in the league.
Martin is owed roughly $45 million over the next three seasons. Nene is on the hook for four more years and $43 million. What's going on here? Do the Nuggets actually believe these guys are good enough to play big roles, and that they'll hold up physically?
The Clippers are also in a weird situation. Fans were psyched about a Baron Davis-Elton Brand combo, but that was before Brand left for greener pastures. Management responded by contacting the Knicks about adding Zach Randolph, a move that would make sense for both clubs. But as rumored, the Clips' offer of a second round pick wasn't good enough to convince Knicks' GM Donnie Walsh.
The Clippers then turned their attention to Denver and traded for Camby, a move that still doesn't make a lot of sense—a Camby-Chris Kaman pairing would be odd and this team has a greater need for a dynamic two-guard.
I wrote last Friday how I felt the Clippers might have made the Camby move—Camby, by the way, wants out of L.A.—to return to the Knicks with a different offer for Randolph and possibly others. I feel, without a doubt, the two teams are talking.
Adding to the situation now is the latest trade between the Nuggets and Knicks. The Knicks traded Balkman for nobodies Taureen Green, Bobby Jones, and a future second-rounder. It is expected both Green and Jones will be released. Certainly, this move wasn't about money because Balkman only makes $1.3 million. Apparently, the move was to create roster space. Roster space for what?
So within the past two and a half weeks, we've witnessed:
- The Clippers make a trade offer to the Knicks for a player they covet.
- The Clippers make a trade with the Nuggets for a player they don't need, but whom the Knicks do.
- The Knicks make a small trade with the Nuggets just to create space.
Furthermore, when you look at the rosters of both teams and players' salaries, you can't help but notice that both Iverson and Marbury are both free-agents-to-be who will earn exactly the same dollar amount in salary—just under $21 million—next season. Hmm...
The Knicks need a defensive center that can rebound and run. The Clippers need a low-post scorer and a dynamic two-guard. The Nuggets need to shed payroll and get something for Iverson before he walks for nothing—a point guard would be ideal. Could a three-team deal be in the works?
The Nuggets could get Marbury (expiring contract and point guard—better fit with Carmelo), David Lee, Tim Thomas, a future first round pick (Knicks), and cash (from the Knicks—about $2.5 million).
The Clippers could get both Randolph (scoring forward they covet) and Jamal Crawford (dynamic two who would be entertaining alongside Davis).
The Knicks could get Camby (defensive center who rebounds and can run the floor), Iverson (expiring contract that would reinvigorate the fans in New York) and a future second round pick from the Nuggets.
The teams have been communicating and all of the details seem to indicate something of this nature is not only possible but brewing.
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