Carmelo Anthony to New York Knicks: Can Danilo Gallinari Be a Star in Denver?

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17:  Danilo Gallinari #8 of the New York Knicks celebrates knocking the ball out of the hands of LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on December 17, 2010 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony has finally been traded to the New York Knicks, and the Denver Nuggets have acquired Danilo Gallinari as part of the deal.

Other players involved include Denver's Chauncey Billups and Wilson Chandler of the Knicks.

It would be very easy for Nuggets fans to call it quits on this season and wallow in self pity, but let's approach the Nuggets' perspective on this deal from a very optimistic angle.  

While most people will look at Melo as the biggest individual winner in this deal, it could do a lot for Gallinari's career as well.

In the short term, he'll be able to provide Denver with some of the points Melo gave them.  In New York this season, he's averaged 15.9 points on just under 11 shots per game.

That works out to a better points per shot number than Anthony's PPS.  If Gallinari maintained his efficiency while shooting as often as Melo, he'd average 29 points per game.

I'm not saying that Gallinari will instantly start tossing up 19 shots per game the way Anthony does, but it's not a stretch to say he'll get a few more looks in his new situation.

That will especially be true if the Nuggets make a few more deals prior to this Thursday's trade deadline.

With the team finally freed from the saga of all these rumors, they can proceed with a full-fledged rebuilding.

Other Nugs that could be on the move in the next few days include J.R. Smith, Al Harrington, Nene or even Kenyon Martin.  

And there were already rumors before this deal went down that Raymond Felton could be dealt as soon as Denver acquired him (the Nuggets are ready committed to Ty Lawson as their point guard of the future).

With that in mind, don't be surprised if the guys over at Altitude Sports start saying, "Lawson to Gallo!" an awful lot.

In a lineup featuring Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Wilson Chandler, Gallinari and Nene (assuming he's not dealt) it wouldn't be hard to imagine Gallo dropping 20 points a game.

This deal could work out for Denver in the long run as well.  Gallo's in his third season in the NBA, but he's still just 22 years old.  Most players don't reach their prime until just before they turn 30.

He has a lot of room to improve, and under a coach like George Karl, will likely do just that.  In his new situation, Gallinari could be an All-Star in a couple years.

An important fringe benefit of this deal is the opportunity it creates for Ty Lawson.  In his first two seasons, he's been arguably the best backup point guard in the NBA.

Now, we'll get to see how he performs as a starter (assuming Denver does in fact deal Raymond Felton in the next couple days).

Anyone who has watched the Nuggets play the last couple years knows that Lawson is one of the quickest players in the world.  And even though he's listed shorter than six feet, he finishes very well at the rim.

His game and size both remind me a lot of Chris Paul.  As a starter averaging nearly 40 minutes a game, Lawson could put up numbers that would approach CP3's production.

He and Gallinari could form a very exciting, young duo.

There have been a lot of great point guard/power forward combos during the league's history, and this combination has the potential to be the next one.


More on the Carmelo Trade

Will Danilo Gallinari Be Traded Again Before the Deadline?

Can the Knicks Now Land Deron Williams?