Can Carmelo to the Knicks Work?

Another day another barrage of Carmelo Anthony rumors as the Indian Summer of Carmelo is on the verge of exploding.  The Nuggets will be holding their annual pre-training camp media day on Monday, September 27 with practices starting the next day. All signs point to Melo being a Nugget on that day, but it might be difficult for Carmelo to continue his “I am a Nugget” routine when he has to face his teammates.

The momentum does seem to be building for a trade in the near future and the teams which continue to be named as possible destinations are the New York Knickerbockers and Chicago Bulls with the New Jersey Nets and Houston Rockets floating around the periphery.

Henry Abbott did a tremendous job of breaking down the reasons for and against the Bulls parting with Noah to acquire Carmelo.  In my mind the number one factor for the Bulls to consider is they would have to rely heavily on 37 year-old Kurt Thomas and the unproven Omar Asik with Noah playing elsewhere.  Plus the Bulls have largely remade their team over the summer with the free agent signings of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer.  I would imagine they would like to see that group play together some before making a significant trade.

At this point the Bulls seem to be mostly out of the picture based on their unwillingness to part with Joakim Noah and the Nuggets’ disinterest in any package that would not include the Fuzzy Howler and there is a poll up on SportsNation that, although close, supports the Bulls’ current position.

Matt McHale of Bulls by the Horns has some reservations about the level of defense a team featuring Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Carmelo Anthony would produce.  Tom Thibodeau would have to be some kind of genius to make that work.

Even if Noah is included, a trade with the Bulls would not provide salary cap relief or a high first round pick.  The Bulls may be a great destination for Carmelo, but as a trade partner, they cannot hold a candle to the Net and Rockets.

Speaking of the Nets and Rockets, there are now new reports that Carmelo has not confirmed he would be willing to sign an extension with either team.  It certainly seems that Carmelo and his camp are trying to make the Knicks the only viable location.  The bad news is New York has the least to offer of the four teams.  Today Donnie Walsh stated he will never stop second guessing the decision to part with the team’s 2012 pick as part of the salary dump made with the Rockets last February because the lack of having a first round pick to trade to the Nuggets has hamstrung the Knicks’ ability to put together a package that is compelling to the Nuggets.  He is probably right.

I suspect the Knicks could still land Carmelo if they agree to part with Danilo Galinari and Anthony Randolph.  They passed the point of no return by pulling the trigger on the deal that Mr. Walsh will spend every sleepless night of his life reflecting on, wouldn’t they be simply compounding their mistake by not going all out for the second star player they missed out on in July?

Before the Knicks give up and throw both youngsters at the Nuggets they are going to exhaust all their options as far as coming up with a third team to provide the draft pick the Nuggets are seeking without sacrificing the cap relief they can offer Denver.

In order to accomplish such a feat the Knicks and Nuggets would probably have to find a team with a contract or two they want to get rid of in exchange for sending a first round pick Denver’s way.  Here are a few candidates.

If there are two teams just kicking off new rebuilding efforts it is the LeBron-less Cavaliers and the Bosh-less Raptors.  These teams might we willing to give up a protected first round pick in exchange for taking a long term contract off their hands.   Anderson Varejao is a nice player, but his talents do not fit very well with a rebuilding team that cannot make up for his lack of offensive punch.  Varejao would look much better as the defensive stalwart alongside Amare and Carmelo.  If the Cavs are interested in giving up a draft pick in order to dump his now out of place five years left on his contract, maybe this would work.

Same line of thinking goes for Toronto.  They have been trying to dump the final three years of Jose Calderon’s deal.  Maybe they toss in a protected first rounder to make this work.

The Sacramento Kings have a hoard of cap space, but they also have two contracts they would like to get out from under in Francisco Garcia and Beno Udrih.  If they are willing to part with a first round pick, I think this deal makes sense for all three teams, although the Nuggets would probably not be thrilled at taking on the final two years of Udrihs’ deal.  If the Kings include rookie Hasan Whiteside, that would probably make taking on Udrih more palatable.

One final possibility that I believe makes sense for all three teams involves inviting the New Orleans Hornets to the party.  The Hornets are looking to cut salary with the worst deal on their books being Emeka Okafor.  However, the Hornets cannot just dump their starting center without angering Chris Paul, who has made it known he is not exactly determined to stay in the Crescent City and make the team a winner.  They can help the Nuggets cut some additional salary via a trade exception and bring in a new starting center who is familiar with the city in Chris Andersen.  If the Hornets offer up their first round pick this deal would work.

For the record, while all of those deals involved Gallinari, I would greatly prefer Randolph, but with his salary just over half of Gallinari’s $3.3 million another player would need to be included for the money to work.  Regardless, all of those trades would get the job done, I would prefer the Nuggets wait the Knicks out and pray they can get both Randolph and Gallinari.  The only way for Donnie Walsh to be able to sleep at night is to make sure Melo is a Knick, no matter the cost.  It is the only way to make the sacrifices he made to slash salary were worth it.

Other Indian Summer of Carmelo Articles

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes:

Too much can change before the February trade deadline, and what’s the benefit for Denver to do a deal now? Avoid ‘Melo becoming a distraction? Here’s a bigger distraction: a lousy team that Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith don’t want to play on. That’s worse.

He is dead wrong.  What is worse is delaying the inevitable and skipping a season of an inevitable rebuilding project.  If the Nuggets deal Carmelo prior to the start of the season, they can stink sooner and thus make their 2011 draft pick a major asset.  What they do not need is to string this out and trade Carmelo in February, when they have lost most of their leverage, and end up with a late lottery pick. Thus pushing any rebuilding project back another season.

Kenyon can be bought out, Chauncey can be dealt for expirings and a first round pick and without Melo on the court, maybe J.R. finally puts up some big numbers and conjures some trade value out of thin air.  Denver should not rush to make the first deal that comes along, but they need to act sooner rather than later.

By the way, as I wrote about when Kroenke and Ujiri rose to their current positions, youth is not necessarily a curse when it comes to running a franchise.

Denver Stiffs looks at potential trades with the Nets, although I do not think I agree with Andrew that the final trade on the list has a 20% chance of going down.

The Denver Post says do not discount Houston.

Chris Broussard reports the Nuggets are interested in sending out a bad contract or two along with Carmelo.  There are only two remotely bad contracts on the books, Chris Andersen, who I have been a proponent of dealing along with Carmelo, and Al Harrington.  The only good reason for waiting a couple of months before trading Carmelo is they could include Harrington’s midlevel deal after December 15.

Alone in the Green Room beat me to a post that I was going to run with after Melo was traded and studies what happens to teams who trade away “superstar” caliber players.  It ain’t all bad.

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    Its a good point that maybe it is in our interest to blow this thing up soon get a couple young players and picks and get ourselves a lottery ticket. In my opinion I was not impressed at all with any of those trades above, unless Cavs or Raptors would give an uprotected pick, which i can’t see happening. New York needs to give us Randolph and Gallinari and even then they should count themselves lucky. Havent heard anything about LAC just wondering why they don’t make sense as they need a SF and have some assets.

    • My Blue Knickers

      Have to agree with those deals being less than impressive but for both the Knicks and Nuggets. I don’t think they’re in the market for 3, let alone 4 yr deals. Another thing is all deals above leave us with one C on the roster who happens to be a 24 yr old rookie (not even counting taking on Okafor’s contract) and bringing in rotation guys at over 5.5 mil a year for multiple yrs doesn’t seem too likely either. I think I’ll pass but thats just me. If reports are true, but really when are they ever?, then I think you guys in Denver should get used to the idea of Wilson Chandler, Gallinari and Curry, well Chandler and Danilo at least, in those powder blues or hope someone takes the rental. Other than that you can have faith in your scouting dep. and hope that they turn those draft picks via sign-and-trade into something. I can’t see the Bulls trading Noah before their new team even runs onto the court one time the same way I can’t see Walsh sending Randolph and Gallinari before they run the court a few times together. BTW you should count yourselves lucky if you get them both with that chokehold melo has around the organization. I’m not one of those fans who thinks they can and should get something for nothing nor one that overvalues their players but cant help but notice those short gasps of breath while Melo’s “representatives” clutch their hands tighter and tighter.

  • Frontrange

    Near as I can tell, all these trades are based on the premise that a third team just want to dump salary . . that doesn’t look to be the case in NO and there is no reason to believe that Cleveland would trade what is arguable their most valuable player left for nothing . . Andy would certainly have more value trading to a contender than cap space – say to Ok City for a first rounders.

    Also all these trades are predicated on the fact that Denver wants Randolph or Gallinari which doesn’t seem obvious to me.

    Why not go the other route and raise the offer to the Bulls . .something based around Anthony/Rudy to Chicago; Noah/Deng to Denver; First round pick (denver’s) to Portland. Chicago get’s Anthony and Rudy who they coveted. Portland get’s the first round pick they wanted for Rudy. Denver has a legit team that can still compete and saves six million in salary and tax this year. I know Chicago would have size problems but Denver could send Birdman for Korver to balance the roster on Dec 15 . .

  • Joe Plumber

    Those trades ideas are ridiculous. You FAR overvalue Curry…NO WAY Cleveland does that…I won’t even go into the other hilarious suggestions you make. What a joke.

  • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Shock

    Listen Melo never said publicly he wants to be traded. This happened with CP3 as well and he is still a hornet. The nuggets are a much better team for Melo to be on than the Knicks, NJ, Chicago, or Houston. Melo’s best chances of winning is in the west and he knows this. He is the nuggets and he doesnt want that to change. He has a great team around him and the nuggets will be able to make some moves in the future with Kmarts contract expiring. They could resign Kmart for less and drop JR and will have plenty of money to play around with. The nuggets also made some good moves this offseason adding Al Harrington. Al is a legit scorer and will fit in perfectly in the nuggets running system. People say Al cant play defense but any NBA player can play defense if their whole team is focusing on it. Also dont underrate how big of a loss George Karl was in the playoffs. He’s their head coach who calls all the crunch time plays and motivates the team. There is no doubt the nuggets would have beat the Jazz if he was there and they could have potentially made it to the conference finals again. Bottom line is, Melo’s best chance of winning is in Denver because the nuggets have the best pieces around him and the best system for him.

  • http://ako Roscoe

    Are you sure you aren’t writing this from a Knick perspspective? Stupid, moronic trades! I know a lot of people overvalue Carmelo, but he is arguably a top-five player. Those deals are ones I would expect for Iverson three years ago, or an ailing star like Pierce now, not Melo, in the prime of his career. We need young talent, and I mean GOOD talent, some expriings that can also contribute to our team, and AT LEAST 1 first rounder. Melo is going to be a huge draw for any team, and they should be willing to give up some big chunks to get him. By publishing these ideas on the web, not only do you make yourself look like you don’t know anything about basketball, but you change the public perception of Melo’s overall value, which hurts the Nuggets chances of getting a quality package for him. Go write for the Knicks.

  • asdqqq

    I’ve got to agree that these are just terrible trade ideas here. And I’m happy to say that all the reports I’ve seen indicate that the Nuggets agree. They’re not holding out for Randolph and Gallinari. They’ve said that they are not interested in any package the Knicks can put together. The names they’ve brought up are Lopez in NJ, Griffin in LA, and Curry in GSW. Maybe none of those teams do that trade, but I, and I think the Nuggets front office, would rather just hold on to Melo for another year and try and make another run and then get some picks in a sign and trade or play chicken with Melo and the extension (I’d put a lot of money on Melo not leaving any money on the table, no matter what happens), than take those lesser trades that aren’t really bringing back any significant assets.

    The thing about the protected picks from a bad team you are talking about is they are realistically worse than getting an unprotected pick from a good team, because you usually have to wait years to use them, and when you get them it is usually when the team has gotten good enough the picks is pretty low. They can get that kind of value from a sign and trade after the season. The Nuggets are looking for picks from bad teams that have little or no protection, like the unprotected Minnesota pick LAC has or the GSW pick owned by NJ, or an unprotected pick from NJ this year for that matter.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      First of all, I really appreciate the fact that you guys take time out of your day to read this blog and then comment. Thanks to all of you for doing so. That being said, everyone needs to calm down a little bit. The premise of this post is Carmelo’s top choices are New York and Chicago and Chicago is reportedly not in the running because they cannot offer what Denver wants. I wrote in my post:

      “It certainly seems that Carmelo and his camp are trying to make the Knicks the only viable location. The bad news is New York has the least to offer of the four teams.”

      The biggest problem the Knicks are reportedly facing is they do not have a first round pick to offer. The entire purpose of this exercise was to figure out how a third team could be involved to bring in that first round pick and the only way that made sense to me was providing some salary cap relief with Curry’s contract to teams that either are or should be looking to save some money.

      As far as landing a player like Lopez, Blake or Curry, Denver can ask for the moon, it does not mean they are going to get it. There is no way the Nets include Lopez and the Clippers are reportedly not even willing to offer Eric Gordon as part of a deal for Melo.

      The only way Denver gets even a decent deal is if there is some competition for Carmelo and apparently right now the competition is only between the Bulls and Knicks with the Bulls having taken themselves out of the picture with their refusal to part with Noah.

      Unless Carmelo’s camp tells the Nets, Rockets or Clippers that he will sign an extension with them Denver will either have to accept a trade such as the ones mentioned above, pray they can work out something at the deadline when their leverage will be at its lowest or take whatever they can get in a sign and trade.

      As far as taking back a protected first round pick, it is true they can take some time to be useful, but they can also become a very high pick. Sure many of them turn out to be a mid round pick two or three years down the road, but others are worth the wait. The Clippers have the Wolves’ unprotected first rounder this year and I guarantee they think that was worth waiting for. The Pistons were in position to draft Carmelo, Wade or Bosh thanks to the protection on a pick dwindling over time, sadly for their fans Dumars selected Darko.

      The pick that becomes valuable under these scenarios is the Nuggets own pick. Plus they will be able to add another first rounder when the trade Chauncey.

      • asdqqq

        First off, I appreciate the blog, and I, at least, am not trying to personally attack you in any way, just to engage in healthy debate.

        The assumption I am making, that I think changes the overall calculus of your reasoning, is that everything I know about Melo tells me he is not leaving any money on the table. For all the talk about sacrificing money to win championships, LeBron and Bosh will take home significantly more money on the contracts they signed with Miami then they would have if they signed max contracts with their own teams, once taxes are factored in (significantly, their pre-existing huge endorsement deals with Nike and such also get big tax savings). So I just don’t see any credible threat that he’s going to simply opt out of his contract and sign somewhere else; he’s going to sign the extension unless he gets assurances that the new CBA won’t cost him any money, assurances it looks unlikely he is going to get. Most likely this will be in a sign and trade. That means the receiving team is getting a young superstar in his prime locked up for the next 4-5 years (depending on when the trade happens). Look at what teams have given up in comparable deals, like those for Garnett (a 22 year-old big man with a 19.90 PER, plus picks and other stuff), Allen (4th pick in draft), and Shaq (a 24 year old big man with a 18.49 PER, plus another top wing prospect and picks and other stuff). And those were with players firmly on the downside of their careers. But more significantly, it means that the Nuggets will retain a lot of leverage at the trade deadline and after the season ends because it will be the last chance for Melo to ensure that he can take the extension and go someplace he wants to go. From what I’ve seen, while the Knicks are his first choice, he would agree to at least NJ and probably LAC as well before he’d risk leaving the extension on the table.

        If Melo opts out, he has to wait until after any lockout and the new CBA is negotiated before he can go about signing as a free agent. From what I can tell, due to the Knicks continued managerial incompetence, there is no guarantee that they will even have room for a max contract if the new CBA results in any kind of reduction in the salary cap after they signed guys like Felton and Mosgov to contracts guaranteed for next year, at least not without declining (or trading) Gallinari and Randolph’s options.

        The main complaint I have with the trades you’ve got here is that I don’t understand why, at the least, both Gallinari and Randolph aren’t involved. I haven’t seen any indication that the Knicks would actually hesitate to include both of those guys if it meant getting Melo, or that Melo cares about anybody but Amare being on the team when he gets there. If the Nuggets have to trade with NY, I’d do the following: Nuggets get Gallinari (who I’m guessing they might try and flip), Randolph, Curry, the unprotected right to swap picks in 2013, and the Knick’s unprotected pick in 2014. I’d rather have this then any protected pick the Knick’s might scrounge up. Sure they can turn out great, but history shows that they usually don’t. Plus, in the kind of trades you’re talking about above, the protected pick would be of the heavily protected variety. Teams don’t give up picks that can eventually turn out that good when they are not getting something pretty good back in return anymore. They do protection that eventually turns into a second round pick if they never get above a certain level, say top 5. We’d probably have to wait on the protected pick anyways, and I’m fully confident in Walsh’s ability to field a lottery team in 2014, even with Melo and Stoudemire in the fold in 2011.

        • AllahBuild

          I’m Back. I replied to you once, or twice before. This is not a personal attack on you, no more than my previous response. However, the Answer once again as I boldly stated to YOUR statement in particular. I told you ” If Melo wants to play ONLY, in NY, all he has to do is, NOTHING.” Now I want to give you, and potential followers, an offer you can’t refuse. By Feb 1,2010, Denver will trade Melo to NY, FOR WHATEVER WE SAY WE WILL GIVE YOU, AND YOU WILL TAKE IT, OR MELO WILL LAUGH ALL THE WAY TO NY. Unless all Denver fans are in denial, they should realize that everyday, that Denver does not give us Melo, the weaker their position for demands will be. If Melo took the Nets offer, who the hell was he going to play with? FACT: Melo, Amare, Randolph, Felton, Gallo, and Chandler, right now, is A BETTER starting five than who Melo is playing with, NOW! FACT: Melo told Denver trade me to NY. Denver is refusing to trade Melo to NY, because they feel we used Back-Channel recruiting of Melo, whatever that means. Amare, Melo, and CP3 decided to come to NY, when the now infamous toast, was made at Melo’s wedding. You Denver fans are in denial! It’s like Kroenke is Pharoah, and Melo is Moses. Denver, LET MY PEOPLE GO, HOME, TO THE GARDEN. Fact: If you do not GIVE US MELO NOW, WE WILL GET HIM FOR NOTHING IN FEB. DISPUTE THAT IN FACT! I’m waiting.

  • Colby

    They should trade him to the Clippers for Aminu and Gordon and that first round pick. If they could do a three team deal with the Nets and Clippers and get Favors, Gordon, and Aminu that would be sick.

  • Colby

    Or do a three team trade the nets the sixers and the nuggets get andre igoudala and derrick favors

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