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Melo Drama Finally Over

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 2/23/2011 4:09:02 PM

It went on so long it made the Brett Farve retirement fiasco look short but the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets finally pulled the trigger and got the deal done that sends Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple.

The buzz is back in Madison Square Garden and it will be there for years to come.

As a Jersey guy, I’m happy there is some buzz in New York as I was a huge Knicks fan back in the day when they won two NBA titles with guys like Clyde Frazier, Earl Monroe and Willis Read.

For New York, they had to make the deal. Guys like Melo don’t fall off trees and it puts the Knicks one step closer to becoming an elite Eastern team that is capable of vying for a championship.

Are they there now? No, not even close and although they may play better as the season goes on, it could take time for everybody to get on the same page, much the way Miami took awhile to feel the new players out early this season.

Hoop bettors have to keep an eye on the line with the Knicks as it could be inflated and lean toward New York. They have been a very good cover team this year but know they will have a valid bulls eye on their collective backs.

The trade was not all about Melo, however.

Entering the second half of the season, New York is just 2 games over .500. Along with Melo, New York gets Chauncey Billups, shooting guard Anthony Carter, forward Renaldo Balkman and center Shelden Williams.

Denver acquired point guard Raymond Felton, forwards Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, center Timofey Mozgoz, three high draft choices and cash.

In a separate deal, the Knicks got Corey Brewer from Minnesota and gave up Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph.

Chandler is averaging 14 points and 5 bounds a game and Gallinari, who Coach Mike D’Antoni said is the best shooter he has ever seen, has poured in 14 also and has averaged a bound less than Chandler.

Denver got bigger with 7-1 Russian Mozgoz but the key for them will be Raymond Felton. He is a great fit and will be pushed by Ty Lawson for minutes but he is having the best season of his career averaging 14 and dishing 7 dimes a game.

Billups is getting a little long in the tooth but he can flat out play as a former Finals MVP. The 13-year pro has averaged nearly 16 points a game with 6 assists to boot.

Carter can give the Knicks quality minutes off the pine while Balkman is young and a New York product. Williams is a bit undersized but the former first-round pick can give Amar’e Stoudamire some rest and hold down the fort.

Denver had been leading the league in scoring and that may change a bit. The distraction was obviously there all year and they had lost 6 of their last 10 before the All Star break.

The bottom line is the Nuggets had to move Melo or possibly get nothing for him as a free agent. They will be in a re-building mode but the future is bright with the new young talent.

For New York, they are now in a position to be attractive to free agents this spring with names like Chris Paul and Deron Williams already being tossed around.


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