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Melo Gets His Wish: He’s A Knick

Chauncey Billups

NEW YORK (AP) – The New York Knicks finally landed Carmelo Anthony, ending a trade saga and their quest for a second superstar with one blockbuster deal.

The Knicks beat out the rival New Jersey Nets to win the Anthony sweepstakes by agreeing to a trade with the Nuggets on Monday, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The deal that would finish the season-long trade speculation involving Denver’s All-Star forward and send him to his desired destination can’t be finalized until Tuesday, after a conference call with the NBA office. Assuming it goes through, it puts Anthony alongside Amare Stoudemire in a potentially explosive frontcourt — at a heavy cost to the Knicks, who hoped in July to sign two top stars but came away with only one.

The person provided no other details of who was in the deal, which was first reported Monday by The Denver Post. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the trade.

The Post, citing a league source, said the Knicks would send Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets, who would get additional picks and cash.

Along with Anthony, New York would acquire Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman, according to the Post.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are also involved in the three-way deal, getting Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks for swingman Corey Brewer, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to the AP. The Wolves will also get about $3 million in the deal to buy out Curry’s contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade has yet to be made official by the NBA.

The Nuggets have explored an Anthony trade since he refused to sign the three-year contract extension worth nearly $65 million they offered him last summer. They appeared on the verge of sending him to the Nets on multiple occasions, but the Knicks increased their offer enough to land Anthony, who was believed to prefer New York all along.

“All trades for coaches are sad, there’s happy and sad. I’m glad it’s over, I’m glad it’s an opportunity to reinvent,” Denver coach George Karl said as he got into his SUV outside the Pepsi Center on Monday night. “I think everybody handled it as classy as you can handle it. There’s some sadness to it, there always will be. In the same, it’s time to move on, reinvent.”

The Knicks would hope Anthony could be in uniform Wednesday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks.

Anthony led the Nuggets to the playoffs in each of his first seven seasons in Denver after winning a national title at Syracuse as a freshman and had them positioned for another playoff run this year. But Denver advanced out of the first round just once in that time.

He stood to become the headliner of the 2011 free agent class, but didn’t want to risk free agency knowing a new collective bargaining agreement could cost him millions. But once he refused the extension with the Nuggets — plus put his Denver mansion on the market last year — the Nuggets’ new front office team of general manager Masai Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke had to begin trade talks so they wouldn’t risk losing him and getting nothing in return as the Cavaliers did with LeBron James and the Toronto Raptors did with Chris Bosh last year.

There were persistent rumors Anthony wouldn’t take the extension if traded to the Nets, which was a prerequisite for them agreeing to a trade. He instead gets his apparent wish to join a Knicks team that is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and in position for its first playoff berth since 2004.

But they’ll make their postseason run without the core of the team. Felton, Gallinari, Mozgov and Chandler were four of New York’s top six players, and there is some thought the Knicks gave up too much to get Anthony, a sensational scorer headed to a team that doesn’t necessarily need more scoring.

However, the Knicks felt they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to land a 26-year-old superstar once he became available. Assuming he extends with the Knicks, Anthony and Stoudemire would be under contract for four more seasons, though the uncertain salary cap situation could wreck New York’s plans to be spenders over the next two summers.

The Nets wanted Anthony and believed they would get him, hoping the Brooklyn native would be the face of their franchise when they open their new Barclays Center in that borough in 2012. But though he never publicly confirmed the speculation that he wouldn’t have extended with the Nets, he did note Friday during the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles that the Knicks were further along after acquiring Stoudemire — his good friend — last summer.

Anthony met with both Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan over an All-Star weekend that was often overshadowed by the trade talks and hoped there would be a resolution before he returned to the Nuggets. That indeed happened — he was excused from practice Monday so he could remain in California to appear on Conan O’Brien’s show.

The Nuggets made out well, considering they could have lost Anthony for nothing in the summer. The Nets’ offer, centered on rookie Derrick Favors and draft picks, would have meant a rebuilding situation, while the players they acquire from New York could keep them in postseason contention in the Western Conference. The Nuggets host Memphis on Tuesday night.

“I think they play exciting basketball, exciting young players,” Karl said of the newcomers. “How we rebuild our team and reconstruct it — there will be some tough moments, but it will be fun how fast it can come together, how fast it can grow up and how fast it can prove itself to being a playoff-caliber team, which my hope and my desire is to continue to be a playoff team.”

Karl said he’ll miss Billups, a hometown favorite and consummate professional who helped Denver reach the Western Conference finals in 2009-10, when the Nuggets nearly eliminated the eventual champion Lakers.

“I think Chauncey will go down as one of the greatest winners,” Karl said. “His record of seven or eight conference finals is, I mean, that’s incredible. I think that’s who he is, that’s what he stands for. He brought one of them to us. Last year we had a miserable ending. I think there’s many people, including myself, that will be sad for Chauncey. I know he loves Denver and we love him, but things happen. There’s decisions that have to be made.

“I’m 100 percent behind the decision we made, even though it will be dangerous and there won’t be the veteran point guard back there,” Karl added. “Felton, I thought was having a great season this year. But I think Ty (Lawson) and Felton are going to have a great challenge to live up to what Chauncey has given us in past years.”

Asked who his starting point guard would be, Karl said, “Probably Ty,” then got into his maroon SUV and drove away.

-By Brian Mahoney, AP Basketball Writer (AP Sports Writers Pat Graham and Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.)

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Dave

    I can’t believe the brass let this pre madonna piece of garbage, go exactly where he wanted and dragging Chauncey down with his selfishness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish they would have sent him to Jersey so he could be on a losing team, cause that’s what he deserves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or just kept him and made him lose 15 to 20 million because of the CBA!!!!!!!!!!!! All I can hope is he rolls an ankle or hurts his knee or at least doesn’t EVER make the playoffs again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At least LA LA may let him take his nut’s out of the nightstand now!!!!!!!!

  • Craig B

    They should keep all those guys. Mozgov has had some decent games, and the others are better than anybody you will get with any of the picks being rumored.

    Find out what you have, then use the extra picks in the future to fill in weak spots.

  • John

    Glad Carmelo is gone and he can take the Nuggets with him.

  • Dougie

    Carmelo gave nuggets fans 7yrs of NBA excitment. 7 straight playoff appearences, a western conference final. Nuggets fans should be greatful for the time he has spent here. Calling him selfish is uncalled for! He is leaving us to play for his hometown team. Not leaving his hometown for another, like LBJ did! You can’t hate on Melo for wanting to live out his dreams.

  • Number 6

    Halleleujah! Smello-Yello the mush mouthed snot is gone!

  • Number 6

    It’s too bad that freak ‘Birdman’ didn’t go with him!

  • John

    Basketball sucks!

  • Scott

    Why would any other player, let alone Chauncey, have to be sent along with him? Isn’t Carmelo by himself worth the same price? Colorado should take a cue from the Middle East and stage a revolt against the Kroenke Empire. Keep the Pepsi Center empty for the rest of the season.

  • ScubaSteve

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • Bill

    The entire team could leave. The NBA puts an unwatchable game on the court! I don’t see why they even have ref’s there for the game. Most fouls, travelling , basic things are not called. If they are going to have rules, use them. There was a time when you couldn’t hang from the rim, now it’s almost encouraged to put on a better “show”

    I’d love to see some good old fashioned talent back instead of the garbage tha tis out there today.

  • CB

    Thanks Carmelo! You and the NBA can take a long walk off a short bridge! Melo could not get though LA in those 7+ yrs, so run off to the east. The only real sad fact is we lost Billups and because of that I won’t watch the NBA any longer. There are no more heros!

  • philip

    Congrats Melo. I enjoyed watching you play for the nuggets. I will be the first to sport your NY knick jersey here in colorado. Everyone wishes they can control where they live, make crazy money, work in a profession they love and have a happy wife. Best of luck

  • philip

    Lawson, triple A and Nene are still here. Now we have a legit center so nene can play the 4 spot and 2 capable scorers at the small forward positions. We will be ok. In fact i expect Denver to finish the year strong and surprise a lot of people.

  • Darrell

    The Nuggets didnt get anything out of the deal. We here in Denver do not know why they made the deal. New Jersey Nets offer was better. The nuggets GM needs to be fired.

  • Tony

    Nuggets, Rockys, Bronco’s same old sad story. I wish you well Carmelo and may your future bring you the chanpionship you deserve. Seven playoffs, that’s seven more than what we would have gotten without you. To bad so many of our great players leave and make it to the top with other teams. The whole thing just makes me mad. Colorado Rockys or just stepping stones to something bigger. Come on teams get with the program and quit taking up our time, with wait til next year.

  • Eric

    Hey Melo…this time leave your gun and ganga at a “Friends” house or let the movers pack it up and take it with you to where ever the hell you are going to.. you seemed like a sweet kid when you came here but over the years the lying about being an idiot covered your heavily tattooed backside just because you had a fat contract for playing hoops and lets not forget the “looking the other way” by Denver officials for being an idiot with Big Buck$

    You are a good offensive player but you aren’t a leader of men. Real men Melo..fess up to being irresponsible for weapons and for admitting the the Pot was yours..if your stupid antics were done by any other 6-pack joe…ole 6-pack would be on a TV show called…COPS or LOCK DOWN – Colorado

    Welcome to Colorado Melo…now GO HOME bro-ham

    • Number 6

      After he threw the sucker punch and ran away is when I coined the nickname Smello-Yello for Anthony.

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