The A.S. festivities are over, the Sixers will be back at practice later tonight, but we've got a couple of days to kill before they lace 'em up for real. If you're lucky enough to have today off from work, enjoy it. If you're stuck in the office, we've got more than enough topics to kill the time.
Obviously, lacking any actual games to talk about and with the trade deadline (Thursday) looming, Carmelo Anthony's future is dominating the national basketball media these days. The latest as of this writing is that Denver has known where Melo would agree to sign all along, the Knicks have made their last, best offer, Teddy KGB met with Melo in LA and it opulent, and Melo said he'll be suiting up for the Nuggets on Tuesday night.
There have been so many leaks, presumably from all sides, so many lines drawn in the sand (then erased), and so many peripheral characters, it's a shame this wasn't a reality show. You have Melo's fame-hungry wife, you have world-wide-Wes, you have Dolan vs. Prokhorov. Even Isiah Thomas has somehow wormed his way into the rumors. Best I can tell, these are the two offers on the table, roughly:
Felton, Chandler, Gallinari, Curry, a first-round pick, maybe Anthony Randolph
Melo, Chauncey Billups, Balkman, Shelden Williams
4 first-round picks, Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy
Melo, Chauncey Billups and maybe other players
It's all very confusing and other teams would need to be involved, but basically, either the Knicks or the Nets would be sending out a ton and getting back both Melo and Billups. The latest word is that Timofey Mozgov may be the player that's holding up the process. Denver wants him, the Knicks don't want to include him.
Here's the thing, though. I think the Nuggets and the Nets are forcing the Knicks to bid against themselves, Donnie Walsh isn't falling for it, but Dolan and Isiah Thomas are. I don't think there's any chance in hell Melo will sign an extension with the Nets, Denver knows this, they've known it from the jump, and Prokhorov probably knows it as well. If he would sign with NJ/Brooklyn, he'd already be wearing a Nets uniform. The deal NJ is offering is a fresh start with a tremendous amount of upside. The deal the Knicks are offering is Danillo and a bag of balls in terms of long-term assets. Felton is a good PG, but he's not going to be there long term, in fact, they'd probably look to move him if they could. The 2014 first-round pick from NYK is basically valueless right now, we're talking three years down the road. Wilson Chandler will be a restricted free agent this summer, and he's no long term answer. These packages aren't even remotely close in value, not when Denver is clearly waiving the white flag in either of these deals by putting Billups into the package.
New Jersey's package is hands-down the best offer. It's been on the table forever, publicly, and now at the 11th hour the Nets owner suddenly has a meeting with Melo to rekindle interest and cause panic in the Garden. Denver turns the screws for a couple more days, gets one last asset out of the Knicks, and then they lick their wounds as the Arron Afflalo era begins in the Mile High City. Meanwhile, Prokhorov at least has the satisfaction of knowing he forced the Knicks to pay more than they were comfortable with. That's not really supposition, either, Prokhorov said as much in an interview last night.
At the end of the day, I do believe Melo will be a Knick. I also believe Mozgov will probably be included in the deal, and this is the roster the Knicks will go to war with the rest of the season:
PF: Amare/Shawne Williams
C: Turiaf/S. Williams
They're going to be left extremely thin at the guards and also extremely thin in their front court, but they'll have their two high-usage scorers. Is this team better than the team they're currently putting on the floor? I don't know. Melo is clearly better than Galo, though Gallo shoots the three much better (which is important in D'Antoni's system). Billups has been much, much better than Felton this year, but he's 34-years-old and there's no one behind him on the Knick bench. Felton has been playing almost 39 minutes/game, out of necessity. Will Billups be able to handle that type of work load?
Ultimately, there are plenty of bad teams for the Knicks to beat up on, and Melo + Amare will do just that. I don't see them losing to many bad teams. The better teams, though, who actually play a little defense, will give them a ton of problems. I still think the Sixers have a decent shot at the #6 seed after the trade, but the Knicks will be a better team in terms of wins/losses, at least by a game or two.
Well, there you go. I complain about the national media devoting all their time to the Melo situation, then I go and write 800+ words on it. Anyway, that's my take on the situation, what's yours? If he goes to the Knicks, do they become out of reach? If he goes to the Nets, are they a threat this year or next?
- Will the Sixers make a move before the deadline?
- Did you enjoy the All Star game? Personally, I thought the fourth quarter was played very hard and was fun to watch. It was especially fun watching Kobe get pissed at Melo after a turnover and Bosh basically lose the game with a stupid three then a weak attempt at a defensive rebound. Mr. Irrelevant.
- How about this: How many more years will the Sixers go without a representative in the big boys game on All Star weekend?
Enjoy your holiday folks, I'm working a huge post for tomorrow morning I think you'll like.