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Big Names In Big Trades: Year II

Posted on March 9, 2011 at 9:54 PM

There were many teams that I expected to make trades before the trade deadline a few weeks ago, such as the Lakers and Bulls. However, there were PLENTY of other trades to discuss.



New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets trade – Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups (and some scrubs) for Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, first round draft pick (and some scrubs)


New York Knicks: C-


Denver Nuggets: B+


At first, I would have given this trade an F for New York. The Knicks were the only real contender to get Carmelo, yet they kept throwing more solid players into the deal every day. The team that they had pre-Melo was a young team (average starting line-up age of 24.2) with a ton of players with potential to develop into stars (Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari) within three or four years and possibly lead a championship caliber team then. They should have been more patient and tried to work with the squad that they had that was deep, had chemistry, and had experience playing together. Now, they got a good amount older (average stating line-up age of 27.6), and have constructed possibly the worst bench in NBA history.



Let’s talk about the Knicks’ laughing-stock of a bench. Toney Douglas is their backup point guard, and a good one, but with Billups injured as of late, Douglas has been forced to start, leaving New York with these reserves:


Point Guard – Anthony “I stink, I’m a career 25% 3-point shooter, so far as a Knick I have only one more assist than I do turnovers, and I hop like a gazelle when I dribble up the court” Carter


Shooting Guard – Bill “I’m averaging five points per game yet I am easily the best player in this line-up” Walker


Small Forward – Shelden “The only thing I’ll ever be known for is being picked as the #5 pick in the draft. How did that even happen?” Williams


Power Forward – Shawne “I thought I was good when I made 11 out of my first 12 threes this season… but the level of my play went downhill quite fast after that” Williams


Center – Jared “I was a free-agent for a while because most teams don’t think I’m good enough to play on an NBA team, however, the Knicks, for some odd reason, think I’m good enough to be a sixth-man! Now they want to start me because of my impressive shooting over the last four games. Oh wait, I haven’t made a shot in the last four games! That’s normal for me, though, because I’ve only made a shot in 36% of the games I’ve played in this year. I have trouble catching basketballs and shooting basketballs. If I played one-on-one with a penguin I would probably lose, but I don’t care because I’m getting paid seven million dollars this year (don’t ask why)” Jeffries


If that unit participated in the annual college basketball tournament, there would certainly be some nail-biters. Because the Knicks gave up so many players in this deal, they are now forced to move up the players from the bottom of their bench to the top of their bench, giving them the D-League level reserves described above.



In addition to the bench catastrophe, Carmelo Anthony doesn’t fit in with the Knicks’ style of basketball. The Knicks are second in the NBA in three-point field goals, and Anthony only makes one three ball per game. New York’s new acquisition loves to hold the ball and play one-on-one, but the Knicks are 4th in the NBA in points in the first ten seconds of the possession. The worst part of this trade, for me, is that New York could have gotten Melo for free in free-agency this summer. The fifth most prolific scorer in the league wanted to come to the Big Apple, and was reluctant to sign an extension with Denver. Even if the odds were against the Knicks that Anthony was going to come to New York on his own, I’d rather have a 20% chance of getting him for free than a 100% chance of breaking up their talented team.


With all that being said, there are reasons why the Knicks are a better team now rather than before making the deal. While Anthony doesn’t shoot threes, Chauncey Billups is in the top tier of shooting point guards in basketball at 44% from beyond the arc. Also, looking optimistically toward the future, having a pair of elite players will attract a third stud such as Dwight Howard to come play alongside them in Madison Square Garden. An interesting statistic relating to this deal is that of the last four franchises to win a title, three of them (’09 Lakers, ’08 Celtics, ’06 Heat) made a trade prior to winning it all that consisted of them getting one star for three or four decent players, and that is exactly what the Knicks have done. Hence, the C minus and not the F.


Now for the Nuggets. They got finally got this conflict of Carmelo Anthony’s future off of their hands and can now return their focus to the court. It’s not like this team was even that good with Melo. They only made it to the second round of the playoffs once in the eight years that Anthony played for them. They have nine relatively young players who pass well and give it their all on the court. They have Ty Lawson and Raymond Felton as a one-two-punch at point guard, a scary amount of streaky shooters in Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Arron Afflalo, and J.R. Smith. They have won four of their last six games including impressive wins over Utah and Boston. It is certainly not a stretch to say that the Denver Nuggets are better without their superstar and a potentially dangerous team going forward.




Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics trade – Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenard Kristic


Oklahoma City – B


Boston Celtics – C-


The Oklahoma City Thunder filled the one gaping hole in their roster – an aggressive big body and rebounder. Adding Perkins will help them handle the size of the Lakers and some of the other top teams in the West. The Thunder got eliminated from the playoffs last year on a Pau Gasol uncontested rebound and layup at the buzzer in game 6 of the first round. That’s not going to happen against this new Oklahoma City roster. Meanwhile, the Celtics gave up their starting center to add a backup to their already stellar bench. Now, their starting center is 39-year-old Shaquille O’Neal. How can you expect him to hold up for the remainder of the season getting big time minutes? I think the Celtics should have kept Perkins because the only reason they lost the NBA Finals last season was because Kendrick Perkins was injured in game 7, and, as a result, the Lakers grabbed 23 offensive rebounds! Had Perkins played in that game, they would have won, while the same cannot be said about Jeff Green.




Chicago Bulls - D-


I know that the Chicago Bulls have Derrick Rose, the MVP in the NBA, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, and the second best defense in the league, but they also have Keith Boggans (their starting shooting guard). That isn’t going to make the cut. They needed, needed, needed to get a shooter to improve their worst three point shooting attack in basketball.




My quick summary of two other trades – You grade it by commenting below


1) The New Jersey Nets traded Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and a few draft picks to Utah for Deron Williams. I agree with them saying, “We’re not going anywhere with Devin Harris and an unproven rookie, so let’s experiment.”


2) The Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks swapped Mike Bibby for Kirk Hinrich (Bibby immediately went to Miami by buying out his contract). Kirk Hinrich immediately had a positive impact on Atlanta by leading them to a win over Chicago with his tenacious defense on Derrick Rose.



Categories: Trades

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Reply chris a
12:47 PM on July 15, 2011 
hahahahaha. great article lev!
Reply Seth
12:12 AM on March 27, 2011 
I agree with your opinion about the Melo trade, which has been borne out by the aftermath -- the Knicks were a just-above-500 team before the trade, and have since gone 6 - 11, and the Nuggets were a just-above-500 team before the trade and have since gone 12 - 4. No question who got the better deal there.
2:52 PM on March 25, 2011 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but after a stunned/horrified reaction to the trade by most, there seemed to be a slight change in the assessment when it looked as if the Knicks' performance might be improving (specifically with the three wins on March 6th, 7th and 9th). Now, it looks dismal for the Knicks again. Can you explain the glimmer of hope at the beginning of March and what happened since?
Reply Matt
9:11 PM on March 24, 2011 
Lev, great article... would love to see a follow up now that it has been a month since the big trade. I laughed very hard at your description of the Knicks' bench, but you were right on point.

As for the Knuggets... this is the best team they have had for years - on both sides of the ball. I think the nuggs can win now (Hollinger's espn playoff odds give them a 10% chance to win the championship and a 20% of being in the finals), but to think that the majority of the roster is 2-3 years away from their prime, the nuggs received additional first and second round picks, and shed an incredible amount of cap space - I can't wait to see what's in store in the years to come.

The Knicks' end of this deal very much hinges on the ability to get another star, but there are two fundamental problems: 1) No guarantee they'll be able to do that 2) if they do, no guarantee that team will be any good either - they'll still have depth issues to say the least.

The nuggs seem like they're in a better position now and in the future - ironic considering Melo wanted to go to new york to give him a 'better chance to win.' Can't argue that his current team is better than the one he left behind.

All I can say is thank goodness that LaLa decided she wanted to move and that the Knicks couldn't hold out for the off season.
Reply Jake
8:26 PM on March 24, 2011 
Sorry about the last post and you are right about the 7-10 with Carmello but i think we should wait for the long run to see how he does.
Reply Jake
8:24 PM on March 24, 2011 
Lev to Jake says...
You know what, you're right, Jake. The Knicks didn't deserve a C-, they deserved a D+.

You said "they have been doing a lot better this season." That was before the Melo trade. Since the trade they are 7-10!
Reply Lev to Jake
6:52 PM on March 24, 2011 
You know what, you're right, Jake. The Knicks didn't deserve a C-, they deserved a D+.

You said "they have been doing a lot better this season." That was before the Melo trade. Since the trade they are 7-10!
Reply Jake
8:56 PM on March 23, 2011 
You really think the Knicks are a C-? I mean they have been doing a lot better this season then they have been doing for a very long time. Next time i think you should evaluate Amare Stoudemire, because he has been a influence to the team and he is Jewish. But other wise awesome.