The Knicks and Lakers play in primetime on Friday night, but that game won't decide NBA titles for years to come. The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, however, very well could.
Right now, New York and Los Angeles are the only two teams rumored to be actively pursuing Anthony. The Knicks package involves Wilson Chandler to the Nuggets along with Corey Brewer and the Timberwolves first-round pick, while Minnesota would get Anthony Randolph and the expiring contract of Eddy Curry.
The Lakers' offer hinges on injury-prone center Andrew Bynum, who has the potential to be a great player if he can stay on the court. But numerous knee injuries have hampered Bynum, who will turn 24 in October. His potential is much higher than that of Chandler, however.
The real question for Denver may become whether they want to fuel the next Los Angeles dynasty. The Lakers look old this season, but I'm not sure trading Bynum for Anthony makes them a title contender; size is one of their major advantages and losing Bynum would hurt their interior defense, not to mention the fact that Kobe Bryant and Anthony would have to learn to co-exist.
But adding Anthony would give the Lakers their next superstar when Bryant does decide to retire, and the Lakers would be a force in the West until at least 2020. Wouldn't Denver rather ship Anthony to New York and get a good player who is a lesser version of Anthony in return, as well as add a defensive presence with potential like Brewer?
I love Bynum as a player, but I still think the Knicks are the front-runners here. In the end though, they may have to add a player like Danilo Gallinari or Landry Fields to sweeten the pot for Denver. As much as I love the potential of both Gallinari and Fields, Gallinari's game is more similar to Anthony's and he would be a better fit in the trade.
Fields does the dirty work and has the potential to be a good offensive player, but Gallinari's main asset is his ability to shoot, drive aggressively to the hoop and score the basketball. I'd rather have Fields playing alongside Anthony for years to come if I had to choose one, although it would be nice to have both. I'm just not sure Denver will bite without the inclusion of one more young Knick.
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