Not at all surprising, but the Carmelo Anthony trade rumor carousel has taken another bizarre turn.
With the Denver Nuggets reportedly setting the price for Anthony at a young, potential star player, at least one first-round draft pick, salary cap relief, and a serviceable veteran player, it was widely assumed that the New York Knicks would not be in the running.
Before today, the only deal that had any legs was the proposed four-team deal centered around the New Jersey Nets rookie Derrick Favors.
Today, ESPN.com published a story that contained not one, but two, incredulous twists to our story.
First, the story reports that the Knicks have made "significant progress" in their quest to obtain Anthony from the Nuggets.
Second, and almost stunning, is that the Nets have reportedly backed off in their attempt to make a trade happen because the team is now "disinclined to include Derrick Favors" in a trade.
Let's start with the stunning development first, before moving onto the foolish.
If this ESPN report is to be believed, someone in the New Jersey Nets brain trust thinks that Derrick Favors, their 6'10" rookie power forward, has more upside or value than Carmelo Anthony. This is shockingly silly.
It is very possible that Favors becomes the next Shawn Kemp, which is why he would be an acceptable take-back for the Nuggets, but he is still an unknown. Favors is averaging just over six points per game in around 19 minutes of action for the Nets through seven games in the preseason. Not exactly jaw-dropping numbers.
The "Nyets" are seriously thinking that eschewing one of the league's premier scorers in favor of a project player? I think the vodka is flowing a bit too freely in Newark.
Now to the foolish.
The Knicks are apparently now okay with gutting their roster of talent to acquire Carmelo Anthony. Somehow, they are thinking that Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony can win games by themselves for many years to come.
Somehow, someone on the Knicks has decided that the team can part with both Anthony Randolph and Danilo Gallinari. This would shock me, but since this is the Knicks, I can't be too surprised.
The team with the best shot of landing Anthony via free agency after this season is now willing to give up a potential franchise player (Randolph) and a 6'10" forward who knocks down over 38 percent from three-point range, just to avoid the gamble that another team is able to complete a trade that Anthony and the Nuggets find acceptable.
Not only that, but the Knicks will also have to give up even more assets to acquire a palatable first-round slot to include in the trade with the Nuggets. This is in addition to having to include Eddie Curry's massive, expiring contract into one of the deals.
If I'm Masai Ujiri, the GM of the Nuggets, I'm salivating already. The best case scenario for the Nuggets, outside of Anthony having a change of heart, has always been to hope that the Knicks lose their mind and sell the farm to acquire Carmelo.
The Nuggets get a very young player who everyone seems to think could be a real star in Anthony Randolph, as well as everything else on their wish list.
Carmelo would obviously have to agree to the deal, since it fulfills his public preference on playing in New York with another superstar.
This is a win for everyone, no?
No, not the Knicks.
The Knicks would be giving up way too much to get another one-dimensional player. They already happen to have a premier scorer who doesn't lead or play defense. His name is Amare Stoudemire.
If the Knicks "pull this off," both of their forward positions are filled with extremely expensive, one-dimensional "superstars." Their cap room will be gone. A potential do-everything cornerstone player will be gone. Their connection to Italy would be gone (okay, so that's not that big a deal, but hey, it's New York).
The Knicks would be pinning their hopes on Carmelo, Amare, and a bunch of mediocre players. Their two highest-paid players would both be allergic to defense. Someone like Raymond Felton would have to be the leader of the team, since neither Stoudemire or Anthony can fill that role.
I think this would be a great move by the Knicks. I really do. Not because I think it makes basketball sense, but because I'm a Celtics fan. A move like this would make the Knicks interesting, fun to watch, and guaranteed not to win so much as the Atlantic Division.
Go for it, Donnie!