While the New York Knicks are still a possibility to land Carmelo Anthony via trade, the sides are having trouble agreeing on the pieces that will be included in the deal.
The Denver Nuggets want three starters, including sharp-shooting forward, Danilo Gallinari, and dynamic point guard, Raymond Felton.
The Knicks have balked at that steep asking price so far and appear to be waiting until the Nuggets lower their demands.
From the Knicks’ perspective, Raymond Felton should not be included in the deal, and here are five reasons why New York should hang onto their point guard.
Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire were the two prized free agents the Knicks brought in this offseason.
The two have developed quite a chemistry this season and are among the league leaders in pair-teammate scoring per game.
Though Felton isn’t exactly Steve Nash, he and Amare have performed the pick and roll well all season.
The Knicks currently sit at 28-26, sixth in the Eastern Conference. Felton and Stoudemire have been the keys to this success.
Including Felton in a deal for Carmelo Anthony would disrupt the strong connection that has been working all season.
Though Carmelo could develop just as strong a connection with Amare as Felton has, the point guard, not the small forward, controls the action on the floor.
Felton also understands that Amare is the center of the offense. Carmelo and Amare together would have to share the ball and capitalize on their looks when their number is called.
Felton has established himself as one of the top point guards in the game this season.
For an NBA team to be successful, it needs a strong point guard. That doesn’t necessarily mean the point guard is the center of the offense.
Look at Rajon Rondo for the Boston Celtics—he scores his 10-12 points per game, but he racks up the assists because he has mastered the ability to find his weapons: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.
Felton has done a fine job running the Knicks’ offense this year.
If Felton was included in the trade for Carmelo, the Knicks would be left with a huge void at point guard. However, current Nuggets’ point guard Chauncey Billups would be included in the deal.
Billups has had a fantastic career and is still one of the top three-point shooters in the game.
All of a sudden though, Billups is 34 and only has a few good years left.
Felton is just 26 and could be a part of the Knicks’ long-term future, while Billups would only be a temporary solution.
Raymond Felton is enjoying a career-year, averaging 17.1 points and 9.0 assists in 38.4 minutes per game.
After putting up mediocre numbers on a Charlotte Bobcats team that struggled throughout his career, Felton has finally come into his own for the Knicks.
While some teams look to trade a player at the height of his value, that would be counterproductive in this case.
Felton’s value is very high right now, but that should be the reason the Knicks hang onto him. Carmelo Anthony is certainly an incredible talent, and having a player like Felton feed him the ball can only make Melo better.
The Knicks will look to do everything they can to acquire Melo and also hang onto Felton.
Asking for three starters is a little ridiculous.
It’s true that Carmelo produces three players’ worth of points on some nights, but the Knicks feel that three starters is too steep.
Landry Fields’ name has been mentioned, but most trade talks between the Knicks and Nuggets center on Danilo Gallinari.
The 6’10” hybrid forward has averaged 15.9 points per game this season. He goes through stretches of being deadly from three-point range and could be a nice piece for the Nuggets to rebuild around.
Danilo Gallinari, a first-round draft pick, the expiring contract of Eddy Curry and possibly Landry Fields could get a deal done between the Nuggets and Knicks.
If that was the case, Billups probably wouldn’t be included in the deal.
Denver would like to shed Billups’ salary as well and would likely explore another trade.
Since Denver is likely to lose Carmelo either way, they might as well get as much as they can in return.
If a trade involving Carmelo falls through on all fronts, he will play out his contract in Denver and become a free agent at the end of the season.
The Knicks have the luxury of knowing that Carmelo’s first choice is to play in New York.
Knicks owner, James Dolan, is not afraid to shell out the big bucks which make the Knicks one of the likely destinations if the Carmelo saga continues to get drawn out.
So the Knicks must ask themselves: Do we mortgage our future now when we probably aren’t a serious contender in the Eastern Conference this year? Or do we be patient and only pull the trigger if the right deal comes along?
Denver wants to get as much as possible in return for Carmelo because it’s all but certain that he won’t be a Nugget next season.
If no trade is worked out and Carmelo is available as a free agent, the Knicks will be first in line to sign him to a lucrative contract.
Amare Stoudemire, Danilo Gallinari, Carmelo Anthony, Landry Fields and Raymond Felton form an impressive starting five and could make a bid to bring the O’Brien Trophy back to Madison Square Garden.