The New York Knicks landed All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony to play alongside Amar’e Stoudemire, bolstering a team seeking its first winning season in a decade and a return to NBA relevance.
Anthony, 26, is going to New York along with 34-year-old Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman. In exchange, New York is sending Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets. Denver also gets the Golden State Warriors’ 2012 and 2013 second-round draft picks and US$3 million in cash.
The trade puts Anthony back in his hometown with the team he said repeatedly was his first choice as a destination. The move, reported late on Monday by the Denver Post, was confirmed in an e-mail by Denver Nuggets spokesman Aaron Lopez.
The Nuggets had explored an Anthony trade since he refused to sign the three-year contract extension worth almost US$65 million they offered him last summer. They appeared on the verge of sending him to the New Jersey Nets on multiple occasions, but the Knicks increased their offer enough to land Anthony.
“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,” the Post cited Denver coach George Karl as saying. “Everybody handled it as classy as you could handle it. There’s some sadness to it; there always will be.”
The Knicks will boast an offense with two of the NBA’s top 10 scorers. The 6-foot-8 (2.03m) Anthony ranks sixth, with an average 25.2 points per game this season, while the 28-year-old Stoudemire has scored an average 26.1 points per game, to rank second, since joining New York in July last year from the Phoenix Suns, where he spent eight seasons.
The Knicks (28-26), who host the Milwaukee Bucks today, are second in the Eastern Conference Atlantic division behind the Boston Celtics, a year after posting a 29-53 record. New York hasn’t had a winning season since 2000-2001 and last won a playoff series a year earlier, in Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing’s final season with the team.
Trade details reported by the Post were confirmed by Lopez. Knicks spokesman Jonathan Supranowitz declined to comment in an e-mail.
ESPN later reported it was a three-way deal with Minnesota, which would acquire Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks for Corey Brewer.
Knicks president Donnie Walsh’s failure to sign two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James in July last year gave New York salary cap leeway to negotiate with a player such as Anthony, a four-time All-Star who is in the final year of his contract.
Anthony has finished among the top eight in NBA scoring in each of the past six seasons and is fourth among active players with a career average of 24.7 points per game.
He played on the 2008 US squad that won gold at the Olympics in Beijing and also was on the team that took the bronze medal in Athens in 2004 after becoming the first US squad with NBA players to lose at the Games.
Anthony, who played in the All-Star Game on Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was the No. 3 pick in the 2003 NBA draft after leading Syracuse University to the NCAA championship in his only season at the school.
He’s married to actress and television personality Alani Vazquez.
The Knicks made 14 straight playoff appearances from 1988 through 2001, during which time Ewing twice helped them reach the NBA Finals. The Knicks lost both appearances, in 1994 to the Houston Rockets and in 1999 to the San Antonio Spurs.