The Melo drama has hung over the NBA for months now. Frustrated with the Nuggets lust for the best possible deal, the New Jersey Nets pulled out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes. There is a scenario, however, in which the Nets could swoop in and make a great move to help their franchise. Curiously enough, it would involve HELPING their cross-town rivals land the big prize.
Although the Nets have struck out over the past few months and have made some terrible moves (namely signing Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro in the summer), the have done a great job accumulating assets. Multiple draft picks and expiring contracts are key building blocks for a rebuilding franchise. It would take a HUGE ego check for Nets brass, becoming the middle-man in a three team deal involving the Knicks and Nuggets could be advantageous.
Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony and Troy Murphy
Nets get: Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph and Roger Mason
Nuggets get: Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Derek Favors, Kelenna Azubuike and two first round draft picks.
Why the Knicks would do it: The Knicks are too close to getting Melo at this point to miss out on them now. He has stated that he wants to be a Knick, but he seems to be losing his patience and has hinted he might be open to resigning with Denver. The is definite motivation to get this deal done now.
The prospect of getting Murphy, a much needed rebounding big that can also hit an open three-pointer, in ADDITION to Melo could be too much to pass up. Plus, Murphy's deal expires at the end of the season so the deal would not interfere with the Knicks plans for the future.
Why the Nets would do it: The Nets seem to have excepted the fact that Melo is not coming to New Jersey. Gallo is a solid consolation prize. Gallo's game seems to be evolving before our eyes. Although his shooting numbers are down (42% from the floor, 35% from the field), his long range ability is unquestioned and in a more disciplined system, could easily be improved on. The most impressive faction of his game, surprisingly, is his ability to get to the free-throw line. Gallo is getting to the line over six times per game this season. Couple that with an excellent 89% mark from the stripe and you have the skill set for a prime-time scorer in the this league.
Randolph is an intriguing piece. Although he has been unable to crack the Knicks rotation, Randolph is still regarded around the league as an excellent prospect. He could ease the blow of losing Favors to the Nuggets and may end up being just as good a pro down the line. Mason could help provide depth, but is mostly just a contract.
Best of all, the Nets would still have draft picks and Devin Harris as trade-able assets for a run at possibly Chris Paul or Deron Williams in the summer of 2012.
Why the Nuggets would do it: It is unclear what the Nuggets really want. It's widely understood that you rarely get equal value when trading a superstar and any trade will be a tough pill to swallow. However, consider what Denver would get form this deal.
First, they get a proven player in Chandler. Chandler has been highly effective this year, posting career numbers (16 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.3 bpg). He is also a restricted free agent at the end of this year, so the Nuggets have the options to re-sign him or let him walk if signed to an offer sheet.
Second, the Nuggets get Favors, who seems to be getting better every month. There is still a steep learning curve for the young rookie, but he has shown promise and would be a cornerstone they could feature for the next decade.
Third, Denver gets the much desired cap relief with Curry and Azubuike's contracts. Although neither would ever seen the court, the represent $14.5 million off the cap. Azubuike's contract has an added bonus as 80% of his $3.3 million will be picked up from insurance if he is unable to play.
Finally, there are the draft picks. New York is unable to trade any picks due to league rules, but could work with New Jersey to transfer two picks to the Nuggets for some talent. All in all, a nice package for a rebuilding team.