NBA Rumors: New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets Trade Talks Heating Up?

Tyler Ward@twardyyyAnalyst IOctober 21, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - APRIL 30:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets stands on the court during their game against the Utah Jazz in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at EnergySolutions Arena on April 30, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Talks are heating up between the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets over a potential blockbuster move that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple. The Knicks have maintained interest in acquiring Anthony since they failed to land LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh in free agency. According to a report by ESPN, the Knicks have made "significant progress in recent days" in their discussions with the Nuggets.
The Nuggets know that Anthony will likely walk away in free agency after the season, as he has told them on more than one occasion that he isn't interested in signing an

extension to remain with the team. After watching Cleveland and Toronto get crushed by the impact of losing their franchise players in free agency, I can't envision Denver being willing to take the same gamble. There are enough teams out there that would love to have Carmelo; one of them will eventually pry him away before the February trade deadline, although it will likely happen much sooner rather than later. 

One of the main reasons the two teams are reportedly progressing in talks is because the Knicks are now more willing to include Danilo Gallinari in a potential deal. The Knicks' main offer has always centered around Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry and a first-round draft pick. New York believes they can move Randolph and/or Gallinari to a third team in an effort to get another player that Denver values more than either of the Knicks' forwards, according to the report. If they can make such a move, and still acquire a first-round pick, I think New York will become the front-runners in the chase to land 'Melo.
When Anthony first made his request to be traded, he gave the team a list of preferred destinations that included the Knicks. Amare Stoudemire, the new face of the Knicks' franchise, has definitely expressed interest in playing alongside Anthony on one of the NBA's biggest stages. The Knicks know they need to land another superstar player if they want to contend in the Eastern Conference, and 'Melo is definitely the best option being discussed in any current trade rumors. If they are able to land Anthony, the Knicks will instantly become competitors in a stacked conference including Miami, Orlando, Boston and Chicago.
A potential four-team trade that was discussed last month involving the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Bobcats and Denver would have landed Anthony with the Nets, but those talks deteriorated. New Jersey appears to no longer be in the running to land 'Melo, as they now value Derrick Favors too much to part with him in any potential trade. The Bulls are also still in the running to land Anthony, although their chances are low after signing Joakim Noah to an extension (meaning he's not going anywhere). Without Noah involved in the offer, I can't see the Bulls putting together a package attractive enough for the Nuggets to bite.
The Knicks' offer will likely be the best one the Nuggets will receive for Anthony, as trades with a player of his caliber involved rarely end with both sides landing equal value—not that this trade is equal, but it will probably be the closest thing to it that Denver gets since every team in the league knows Anthony wants out.
Eddy Curry likely won't make any impact at all for the Nuggets, as he has become essentially useless to a basketball team over the past few seasons, but his expiring contract does outweigh his massive shortcomings (barely). Draft choices are always a wanted commodity for teams, especially when they are coming from New York, even if they belong to another team. The player that the Knicks will acquire to package with Curry and the first-rounder will be the X-factor in the move, but the team seems confident they can make the deal happen.
If New York does land Carmelo Anthony, I'd expect them to win about 8-10 more games than they would have without him this season. With teams like Cleveland, Charlotte and Toronto all taking steps backward from last season, a Knicks' team led by Anthony and Stoudemire would almost certainly be good enough to land one of the lower seeds in the postseason.
The Knicks likely need a few more key role players and/or another star, however, before they can be considered serious threats to the Heat, Celtics, Magic or Bulls in the postseason. For months, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs has been rumored ot be joining Amare and 'Melo in New York to form their own "Big Three", and if Anthony lands in New York, I'd only expect those to rumors to intensify later in the season.

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