Could you have made the Carmelo trade?
All rhyming aside, I don’t know if I could have pulled the trigger on this trade. Every trade in every sport has the risk/reward element attached to it, but there was a lot to weigh in New York’s pursuit of Carmelo Anthony. On the one hand, Carmelo is a superstar in the NBA and, you could argue, the best pure scorer the league has. Compare him to some of the other big scorers. He can shoot from the perimeter better than LeBron James and he’s a better post player than both James and Kevin Durant. There just aren’t that many players around with his skill set, and if you have the opportunity to get a player of his ilk to pair with someone like Amar’e Stoudemire, you have to make it happen.
On the other hand, just look at who all they gave up. And not only that, consider how young these guys are. Point guard Raymond Felton, forwards Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler, and center Timofey Mozgov. Any team would be glad to add them to the roster and they are all 26 years old and younger, so there’s room for them to get better. Galinari and Chandler have improved every year while Felton is putting up career highs in points (17) and assists (9). Mozgov is still just a rookie, but he’s shown promise.
So what do you do? We know what the Knicks and Nuggets did, but I’m not sure I would have the guts to pull that trade if I’m the Knicks. Sure, if I’m the Nuggets I do it in a heartbeat because there’s no way Carmelo was coming back next year. When faced with a scenario like that, you make sure absolutely you don’t become the next Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors. I think everybody would take the deal they got for him. You’d have to be pretty dumb to pass up the package they got from the Knicks. But if I’m the Knicks? It’s hard to trade that much youth and potential, regardless of who you’re getting.
I think both teams came out looking pretty good in this trade. The Knicks got their second superstar in Carmelo and also got one of the better point guards in the league in Chauncey Billups, the afterthought of this trade. For the Nuggets, they’ve got a good core of young players to rebuild around if they want it. The problem, though, is that none of them are superstars. They played off of Stoudemire very well in New York, but now in Denver they won’t enjoy the same open jump shots that he provided them.
It’s going to be interesting to see how both of these teams do for the remainder of this season, as well as in the future.