It’s over – Carmelo Anthony traded to the New York Knicks

Updated: Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post has broken the story. A trade involving the Knicks and Minnesota Timberwolves has finally been completed.

It is a done deal in principle, with minor details to be worked out following a conference call with NBA offices tomorrow. Details are known, but minor parameters such as draft pick protections could be subject to change by then.

The Nuggets have traded Melo, Chauncey, Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman, and Anthony Carter to New York. They will receive Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Timofey Mozgoz in exchange plus draft picks. Of the included picks are New Yorks 2014 first rounder, which pending lottery protections could go to Houston in multiple scenarios, which means this pick could turn into the “first available” number one pick that New York can send out if not conveyed to Houston by 2014. Via New York, Denver also receives second round picks in 2012 and 2013 from the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets also receive $3 million in cash considerations from the Knicks.

As part of the trade, the Knicks and Timberwolves exchange Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph for Corey Brewer. Denver facilitates the transfer of Eddy Curry to Minnesota, allowing the Nuggets to shed some $17.7 million in salary. This is more than enough to bring them below the luxury tax threshold immediately.

The deal is done. Of note is the murky status of the 2014 first rounder Denver receives from New York, the details and protections of which will not be known until the trade is approved by league officials. Anthony Carter is also slated to be traded to the Knicks despite them having two point guards ahead of him – Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas. Anthony Carter surrenders his bird rights due to being on a minimum one year salary and he can exercise veto power on any trade, similiar to Matt Geiger and Devean George in the past. If Carter indeed invokes his power to block a trade out of Denver, the deal will still be completed with minor changes. It’s likely Melvin Ely would be exchanged instead. For now, expect AC to go to New York.

It’s an incredibly sad ending to the second Chauncey Billups era in Denver. Thank you so much for your hard work, dedication, and loyalty Chauncey.

Reaction, analysis and more to come from your RMC staff as the dust settles. Share your thoughts and memories here.

2010-2011 Game 51 Recap: Denver Nuggets 113 Minnesota Timberwolves 100

Box Score | Highlights

Just as the Jazz’s methodical attack showed us the bad habits and weaknesses in this team’s style, you can always count on the discombobulated T-Wolves to bring out the better side of these Nuggets. After losing a gritty battle of wills with Utah, the Nuggets bounce back by getting out of their one-on-one ways long enough to survive their customary defensive lapses.

No offense to the Wolves, but this should have been a routine win Denver needed to have. Yes, Denver played late last night against an angry Utah team they met at just the wrong time – but Minnesota also played last night in Toronto where Michael Beasley left with a minor injury. You had to think this could get ugly between two tired teams who both play questionable defense.  Still all Denver needed to do was show up with the effort they showed last night as they just have the more capable team top to bottom.

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2010-2011 Game 47 Recap: Denver Nuggets 99 Philadelphia 76ers 110

Box Score | Highlights

Carmelo Anthony is a very talented player, but no longer has any desire or passion to put on a Nuggets jersey. While both sides have “made the best” of a challenging situation, the long and trivial season the Nuggets are trudging through keeps reminding us they cannot run from their fate much longer. In yet another example of the common theme we’ve seen in games this season – a disinterested team led by Melo begrudgingly go through the motions, squandering their early advantage against Philly en route to a routine, but still frustrating road defeat.

I’ll have to admit, I’ve missed the last three games, and thanks to new contributor GoldenNugget I’ve discovered they’ve been able to bring their balanced offensive attack on the road to the tune of some rare wins. We all know the Nuggets haven’t won with defense in quite a while, but with such a poor road record they need to be what they are and take wins however they come away from home. Unfortunately, what they are is incredibly inconsistent and it showed after this game opened up like a typical road contest this season. When both teams are content to take quick shots, Denver’s offense can carry them all the way through when the ball is moving and finding open shooters. Chauncey Billups provided the early spark in this one, making his first three shots from deep and kicking out to others for open shots off his dribble penetration.  He vaulted Denver to an early nine point lead and it seemed the Nuggets merely needed to take care of the ball while once again the offense could settle in and do all of the work on this one.

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2010-2011 Game 45 Recap: Denver Nuggets 109 Detroit Pistons 100

Recap by GoldenNugget

Box Score | Highlights

Watching the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons go at it tonight, seemed eerily similar to the match we saw Tuesday against the Washington Wizards. Both teams had many highlight plays, pushed the pace and couldn’t figure out how to get a stop if it’s life depended on it. Yet once again, the Nuggets came out victorious, which is usually the case when this style of ball is implemented.

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2010-2011 Game 38: Denver Nuggets 130 Miami Heat 102

Box Score | ESPN Recap

Two days ago, the Miami Heat looked unbeatable as they tore through the schedule with ease, winning 19 of 20 games including 13 in a row on the road. Meanwhile, the Nuggets shaky season was starting to come off the rails. After a 3 game losing streak, Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri seemed all but certain to blow the lifeless roster up, punching fans in the gut by trading their 2 best players away for future assets and savings. Last night the Miami Heat were the vulnerable ones and the Nuggets were the team doing the punching.

I said in the preview yesterday that the Nuggets seemed to be catching the Heat at their weakest, off a west coast back to back in which their best player was injured. Lebron didn’t play last night and the Heat didn’t have the energy or depth to overcome it. For the second straight game, the Nuggets execute a balanced offensive attack and ride a scoring explosion from the bench to an easy blowout win.

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2010-11 Game 3: Denver Nuggets 107 – Houston Rockets 94

Box Score | Highlights

I like to try to diagnose tactics and strategies that lead to wins and losses.  I watched the Denver Nuggets’ 107-94 victory in Houston against the Rockets twice and it sure seemed like more of a pickup game than an organized professional basketball contest.

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Nuggets get stung by Hornets at the Hive

(I know, I know, the title is cheesy and overused but why go creative and really long when you can go short and simple?) The Nuggets dreams of an undefeated season were ended in the Bayou last night as they fell 101-95 to the New Orleans Hornets.  Despite a double-double performance from Carmelo Anthony (24 points and 10 boards) and solid outings from Chauncey (20 pts and 5 dimes) and the surprisingly effective Sheldon Williams (8 pts and 13 rebounds, leading the team in the latter category in back-to-back games), Denver couldn’t complete their second-half comeback. After being down by as much as 14 late in the second quarter, Denver took the lead at one point in the third and then jumped out to a six-point lead with 8 minutes to go in the ballgame. Then Chris Paul took over, dropping 10 points and 3 dimes in the last 10 minutes, and David West hit a couple tough fade-away jumpers over Al Harrington to seal the win.

The Nuggets jumped out to a great start early, going up 8-0 and looking good on D, forcing contested jumpers from the Hornets. Then Sheldon and Nene let Okafor have his way in the middle on both sides of the ball, and Emeka had some easy layups and forced contested shots in the paint. Nene knocked down a couple of 18-footers (showing some extended range that this Nuggets fan didn’t know he had) to help the bigs’ cause, but then the pick-and roll defense on Paul (and later Jerryd Bayless and Willie Green) started to fall apart. NOLA’s guards were getting into the paint WAY too easy, leading to some easy buckets (Green’s baseline slam and J-Bay’s and-1 layup on JR) and kick-outs for threes (Marcus Thornton hit back-to-back threes to stretch the Hornets’ lead to 14).

On the positive side Ty Lawson made Chris Paul look like Anthony Carter (which isn’t easy to do), burning him to the basket a few times and doing a respectable job distributing the rock. And despite his struggles on the defensive end, Al Harrington looks good off the bench, giving the 2nd unit some semblance of offense when JR struggles to find his shot.

In the second half Melo took over, hitting his patented mid-range jumpers and getting to the basket a few times as well. And as one RMC writer predicted in his season preview ( I won’t be doing too much self-promotion, I promise) Aaron Afflalo continues to break out of his shell, hitting some shots when his teammates can’t find the range; if he can prove to/remain a viable threat on offense, it will make this team much more dangerous late in games and allow George Karl to keep him in for defense while not losing anything on the offensive end. And while all you JR Swish fans may grimace when I say this, it’s a good thing for this team when Afflalo is in the game late and getting starters minutes over JR, because I’m 99% sure he will not be a Nugget next year.

Next up for the Nuggets is the Houston Rockets, who will welcome Denver to the Toyota Center for their home opener tonight at 6:30 MST. Houston is coming off back-to-back road losses to open the season in two very winnable games against the Lakers and Warriors. Denver needs to play better D against Luis Scola then they did against D-West, because as good as West’s mid-range game is, Scola is a much better back-to-the-basket player, can hit the hook shot with either hand, and is a better passer (which means watch out for the kickout to Kevin Martin or Aaron Brooks). Houston has some absolute snipers on the perimeter  (the aforementioned K-Mart and Brooks), and even if one is cold the other could easily drop 30+.

They signed Erick Dampier yesterday to join Yao and Brad Miller at center, so Nene and Sheldon will have to step it up even more with Rick Adelman being able to rotate those guys at will to keep his bigs fresh. If Denver can control the penetrate and kick better than they did last night, keep their bigs out of foul trouble (so Melvin Ely isn’t matched up with Scola) and get some offensive production from their bench (I’m talking to you JR…and Al needs 15+ too) they have a great chance of coming back home 1-1 on their mini-roadtrip before they welcome Dallas to “The Can” on Wednesday night.

Talking with Koz

The Denver Nuggets toiled in relative obscurity this preseason.  Unless you attended one of the two home games or had NBATV to check out the lone televised contest with the Los Angeles Lakers you did not see a second of Nuggets basketball.

One man saw it all and he is Jason Kosmicki the radio voice of the Nuggets.  Koz was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us and inform Nuggets fans of what they might have missed leading up to the season.

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2010-11 Game 1: Denver Nuggets 110 – Utah Jazz 88

Box Score | Highlights

The Denver Nuggets absolutely dismantled division rival and playoff foil Utah in the opening game of the 2010-11 season.  There were several good things to take out of the game, but the number one aspect of the beat down for Nuggets fans to be most excited about is the way the Nuggets defended.

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What to expect from the Nuggets…not named Billups or Anthony

Ok Nuggets fans, the opening tip is less than 24 hours away and number 15 is still in a Nuggets uniform. Whether or not he stays in powder blue and gold for the entire season is a debate for another day; for now lets look at what to expect from each player this season.

When it comes to Melo, Nuggets fans can expect more of the same from his past seven years in the NBA. Look for a stat line of 27 points, 6.5 boards and over three dimes a game (basically you’re your typical Melo averages).

I’m also going to say Chauncey will be his reliable self this year, regardless of what happens to Melo or the rest of this team. The guy has gotten better over 30 (which is rare in itself, but for a point guard, that’s unheard of) and dropped a career-best average 19.5 PPG in 09’. Look for Billups’ scoring to drop to the 16-17 range but I think his assists will jump back into the 8-9 range (his 5.6 APG last year was his lowest since the 04-05 season). The guy is a model of consistency, and from one Buff to another, here’s hoping “Mr. Big Shot” regains that mantle with some big makes this season.

But to be perfectly honest, those are the only two Nuggets whose performances you can “pencil in”. The other 12 players on the roster and their contributions range from semi-reliable to complete question marks. What will these guys add to the team-lets start with the “no-names”.

The “No-Names”

Gary Forbes, F, 6-7, 1st year

A pretty decent pre-season culminated with a 25-point explosion against Phoenix in the Nugs last exhibition game. He’d normally start the year on the IR (buried on the bench) but will definitely see some minutes in the first part of the season. Regardless of his tenure as a Nugget it was nice to see the former UMass star and walk-on make the team with his efficient scoring off the bench.

Melvin Ely, F-C, 6-10, 8th year

The former New Orleans Hornet and most recently Sacramento King also made the team without a guaranteed contract, and he will also see some playing time with the injuries to Birdman and K-Mart (he may even start if Nene’s knee starts to bother him again). The key thing for Ely will be rebounding; he doesn’t do it very well. His best overall season was back in 2006 with Charlotte when he averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 boards a game. With not a lot of frontcourt depth (due to injury) and with Al Harrington going to be outside to stretch the defense, Ely, Sheldon Williams and Nene are going to be counted on to carry the rebounding load. If he can grab 5+ boards a game and play decent defense on other team’s bigs, he’ll have done his job.

Renaldo Balkman, F, 6-8, 5th year

I’ve never been a big Renaldo Balkman fan, and apparently George Karl’s feelings for him have waned over the past 2+ years. After being a key part of the rotation in 2009 (even getting 10 starts that year) he played in only 13 games a year ago. He, like Forbes, will play due to injury, but he’d be my bet to move to the IR when the Bird and K-Mart come back.

The Question Marks

Shelden Williams, PF-C, 6-9, 5th year

Who wouda thought that Shelden Williams would be the starting power forward for the Nuggets a year ago (heck, who woulda thought that a month ago?). But thanks to George Karl’s insistence that Big Al (can I call him that or is that reserved for Al Jefferson?) comes off the bench, we will indeed see Mr. Williams on the first unit against the Jazz on Wednesday. Now Shelden has put up some impressive stat lines this pre-season (27 and 8 vs Phoenix, 14 and 6 vs the Clippers), but then again, this is Shelden Williams, the same guy who was a HUGE bust as the fifth overall pick by the Hawks in 06’. So I won’t rush to a judgment and say his above-average play is an aberration, but I’m also not going to say it’s a sign of things to come. If he can post 9 points and 6+ boards a game as a starter, I’m not sure you can ask for much more.

Kenyon Martin, PF, 6-9, 11th year

Before his injury troubles a year ago, K-Mart was posting some pretty disgusting numbers for the Nugs. In the months of January and February, Martin posted consecutive monthly averages of over 12.5 points and 11 rebounds. Over that stretch, the Nuggets went 19-8 and were poised for a top 3 record in the Western Conference. After he got hurt, the Nuggets were not the same. Now with Al Harrington in town to soak up some significant minutes and his $16 million contract coming off the books, K-Mart is highly expendable. When the Nuggets refused to talk contract-extension, K-Mart showed signs of discontent, and if that continues over the course of the season, the “dark side” of K-Mart, combined with JR’s proclivity to blow up and the Melo situation, it could spell disaster for Denver. Here’s hoping K-Mart to a speedy recovery and that he accepts a lesser role (and lesser minutes) for the sake of team chemistry…and sanity.

Nene, C, 6-11, 9th year

I was going to put Nene in the next category, but I (and the rest of Nuggets nation) am holding out hope that he finally breaks out and enters that next tier of NBA centers (ie Chris Kaman, Brook Lopez). I’m talking 18+ points and 10+ rebounds; it’s possible, Nene definitely has the talent to do it, the question is will he get the touches and opportunity to come through? With Harrington brought in and JR to soak up plenty of shots, it will be interesting to see if they’ll be enough touches to go around. But mark my words; the Nuggets success this season will hinge largely on if Nene can make that step forward. If not, it may be time to explore other options down low.

Same Old, Same Old

Anthony Carter, PG, 6-2, 12th year

Um, not much to say here; if AC is still seeing decent minutes in this rotation, something’s wrong. It’s Mr. Lawson’s turn as the backup point and AC should be reduced to a garbage-time role. He’ll be asked to provide leadership to the sophomore and will probably see the court in a defensive situation at the end of halves…but that should be it.

Chris Andersen, C, 6-10, 9th year

The Birdman is out until December, which means Nuggets fans at the Can (Pepsi Center, that’s pretty clever right?) won’t get to see Andersen swat shots and flap those wing-like arms after dunks for a while. The Nugs will miss his energy, shot-blocking ability and paint intimidation (especially to driving guards) while he’s out, but when he comes back expect typical Birdman numbers- 7-8 PPG, 6-7 RPG, 2-3 BPG.

JR Smith, SG, 6-6, 7th year

This may be the last year we’ll see JR Swish in a Nugets uni, so I hope he makes it a memorable one. Is a mid-season trade in the cards if Denver wants another quality big man…perhaps. But if he can up his field goal (41%) and three-point (34%, down from 40% in 09’) percentage and team with Lawson, Harrington and eventually Bird to form a solid second-unit, Nuggets fans should be happy. He’ll stay under 20 PPG, but 17-19 a game isn’t out of reach.

Look Out, Here They Come

Aaron Afflalo, SG, 6-5, 4th year

The first of my three Nuggets to watch out for this year is Aaron, who I think will exceed 10 PPG for the first time in his career and shoot even better from beyond the arc (43% last season). He performed his role as the perimeter defensive stopper and outside shooter very well last year, and as long as gets a little more aggressive on offense while keeping up his intensity on defense, he’ll be a player to look out for.

Ty Lawson, PG, 5-11, 2nd year

How good could this guy be? The sky’s the limit for Ty, who will see his minutes increase as Karl will try to preserve Chauncey’s 34-year old legs. Expect Ty’s point (8.3) and assist (3.1) totals to increase, and if the Nuggets continue to push the pace when he’s in the game, both Lawson and his teammates will benefit.

Al Harrington, F, 6-9, 13th year

Yeah I know, how can a guy who just turned 30 and is entering his 13th NBA season (no that’s not a misprint) have a breakout season? Because he’s entering the perfect situation with a style of play and surrounding cast that perfectly suits his game. In the offseason Nuggets fans wanted a defensive stopper as the team’s “big” free-agent acquisition; guys like Udonis Haslem, Jeff Foster and Jermaine O’Neal were tossed around as ideas, guys whose scoring isn’t considered their strong suit. But here’s a guy who’s played for crappy teams in Indiana, Golden State and New York for most of his career and has never had a facilitator to get him the ball (he’s always had to create his own shot). He hasn’t played for a contender in years, and if he’s on the floor with Melo, Chauncey, JR or Nene (or any combination of those guys) the defense will focusing their attention elsewhere. He can be a stretch four (PF) to clear room in the paint with his three-point shooting or an oversized three (SF) that can take his man to the rim. I foresee a BIG season for Big Al in the Big D (that’s a lot of bigs) and if Denver’s frontcourt has its struggles, it won’t be because of him.

Whether you agree with me or not on the season outlook for Denver’s roster, I hope we can at least all agree that Chauncey and Melo are a pretty formidable one-two punch and despite what ESPN’s experts may say, this squad has a chance to compete for a conference championship. They just need to have some things go their way and develop a tight enough chemistry (one like the Lakers or Thunder have) to go with the talent on the roster. Oh, and not trading Carmelo would help too.

Denver Nuggets Kick Off the Preseason

Before we get to the meat and potatoes that is the Denver Nuggets first preseason game I want to dish out a couple of hors d’oeuvres.

First of all, the 2010-11 Basketball Prospectus has been published.  Once again I had the honor of playing a small role, OK, a very small role, in the chapter on the Nuggets.  This is an incredible publication and if you are a fan of basketball, advanced stats, or would like to understand advanced stats a little better, you will love this book.  You can order it in PDF format, or in old school paperback.  I recommend buying both.

Secondly, ESPN.com is running a Daily Dime featuring every division and Tuesday, October 12 is the Northwest Division’s turn.  I would love for you guys to join me from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM Mountain time, because a chat without questions from readers is like a bris without a scalpel.  I will toss up a link when I have one and I look forward to chatting with you all.  Update: The Northwest Division Daily Dime Live page has been posted.  Gird your loins for a great day of chatting.

Those were tasty, now on to the main course.

The Denver Nuggets kicked off the 2010-11 preseason in style by thrashing the Portland Trail Blazers 109-99.  The real news was that it was basically business as usual at the Pepsi Center.

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Introducing the Commentbag!

Welcome to my first ever comment bag (and from what I can tell almost the first ever comment bag period as someone might have beat me to it by a matter of hours). You have read mailbags before, but there has been so much good discussion about recent events that I wanted to make sure everyone saw some of them, and of course I would like to add my highly insightful thoughts as well.  All grammatical errors are the responsibility of the author although I did clean a couple of them up.  Lucky for you all I hated English class too.

drewjay: Jeremy, I would love to read how your opinion on the LeBron decision, although you might be sick of hearing about it.

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Denver Nuggets Sign Shelden Williams; Resign Anthony Carter

According to @NBAonESPN the Denver Nuggets have agreed to terms with Shelden Williams and resigned Anthony Carter.  I have not seen any info on the contracts yet.  We know Carter agreed to his typical one year veterans minimum deal.  Williams could have been signed with either a minimum contract or the biannual veterans exception which would be a two year deal starting anywhere up to $2.18 million.

Williams was a player I thought Denver should have looked into last season as he is a good defender and rebounder who could be had for cheap.  His signing is good news from a defensive standpoint.  However, he is a little undersized and while he adds some girth he does not have the length to handle the Lakers’ twin towers.  Plus, when everyone is healthy he will be the fifth big and is not likely to see significant minutes.  As with Harrington we will take a look at what Williams brings to the table in the coming days.

The Nuggets should just sign Carter to a six year veterans minimum deal because we know as long as he can run he will be a Nugget.  With the growth of Lawson Carter should only see the court when either Chauncey or Ty are injured.  However, as we saw last season his play suffers when asked to play too many minutes too many nights in a row.