So after David Aldridge's most recent column stating that Carmelo Anthony "again, told the Nuggets last week that he had no intention of re-signing in Denver," I've pretty much given up all hope of Carmelo changing his mind and re-signing here in the Mile High City. Adlridge is as reliable as they come, and hasn't fallen into the whole "I've gotta report this first regardless of how accurate it is" movement that has seemingly swept the country as of late. In this event, I think it's time to stop hoping for the impossible, and start looking forward towards the inevitable. The two most popular teams thought to be the front-runners in the Melo Sweepstakes have always been the "New Teams:" New Jersey and New York. But being that I've already detailed the lengthy list of demands Jersey must cover just in order to convince Melo to even go there, I think it's time we all take a look at the other, more likely destination for Carmelo Anthony, which is New York. It's reality people. New York still remains where Carmelo wants to be even though we all hate to admit it. The good thing is that being how there are so many good optimists around these parts, we should all be able to realize what's coming, accept it and soon after begin looking at the bright side of our future which might very well include some of current member of the New York Knicks.
In any trade centered around Carmelo Anthony going to the The Big Apple we almost always seem to be receiving some kind of package centred around Eddy Curry's fat worthless ass, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Landry Fields, Anthony Randolph and a single first round draft picks (because the Knicks gave up all of their own for the next hundred years). Below I will list each of the players mentioned above, their contractual situation, how it affects the Nuggets, as well as my personal opinion on that player and any other information I feel you might need to know.
Wilson Chandler - After coming into the league in 2007, Chandler has steadily increased his scoring and rebounding average each season, to where now he's averaging and impressive 18 ppg, 6 rpg and 1.5 bpg. Chandler is certainly a hot commodity, but being that he holds such high regard inside the Knicks organization and that he's publicly said he wants to be a Knick forever (what a dumb thing to say), it's hard to imagine them sending him out west to the Rocky Mountains. Still, the Nuggets have some leverage in this situation and they should do all they can in order to demand Chandler as a centerpiece in any trade that includes Carmelo Anthony. He's by far the best defensive player they have (another reason it's hard to see the Knicks giving him up), and can virtually play the 2,3 and 4 whenever called upon. Chandler's contractual situation looks like this: He's on the books through this year at a little over 2 mil, then has a Qualifying Offer we'd need to match in order to make him a restricted free agent for next season, at a little over 3 mil. In theory we could have this guy locked-down for a long time if he decides he actually wants to breath real air instead of that shit he swallows everyday in New York.
Danilo Gallinari - No matter how you slice it Gallinari is sure to be included in whatever deal we accept from the Knicks. He's young (22), tall, (6'10") and plays the exact same position as Melo, the exact same way (Ya know - no defense, unconscious shot selection - that whole thing), basically making him nothing short of dispensable if they were to obtain Anthony. But lets not get too down on "The Rooster," as the kid still has tons of potential, and room for improvement, plus he's already displayed he can light it up at the NBA level, which shouldn't be overlooked. His contractual situation is similar to Chandler's in that he's got a Qualifying Offer we can extend to make him a restricted free agent, but that doesn't exist until the 2012/13 season. This means he's under contract through this year at $3.3 million, then through next year at $4 mil before the Qualifying Offer can be extended at $5.6 million. All things considered, this seems like a fairly good deal for a player with the kind of skill-set Gallinari possess.
Landry Fields - Man, what a story this kid is. After dropping in last year's draft all the way to the 37th pick of the second round, Fields seems to be on a mission to prove every team that passed him up just how big of a mistake it was. The rookie out of Stanford is leading the entire NBA in rebounding for a guard at 7.4 boards per game (no, he doesn't' average more than Nene if you were wondering, as Nene has him beat by .2 per game) to go along with 10 points per game. Again, another swing-man who can virtually do it all, Fields has provided the Knicks with some incredible numbers this season and earned Rookie of the Month honors in December. Fields contractual situation is quite simple: He's on the books this year at $.5 million, next year at $.75 million and is then a free agent after that with no sort of extensions to be had. It's very likely that if Fields somehow ends up in a Nuggets uniform and continues to light it up, we'll try to extend him, but do we really need another SG on the team at this point in time? I guess Fields could play SF, and would be insurance in case JR of Afflalo left, but there's just not enough playing time to go around this year for someone if he comes over, unless of course he moved to SF, and on top of this AAA and JR are fan favorites whom I think we all want to be re-signed. So as much as I'd love to have Fields, I feel there's just not enough room for him out our current squad and given that he has no Qualifying Offer on his current contract, his long-term value with the team becomes very limited being that he could just walk after next year.
Anthony Randolph - Aaah, the reason this post was created in the first place. After having a brief discussion with the Knicks troll that's been hanging around lately he/she posed the question "Wouldn't you rather have Randolph as opposed to a 1st rounder"? I initially scoffed at the idea, stating that how I wouldn't want a guy on my team who's already been traded once in his early NBA career, had disputes with his coach at Golden State and can't even crack the rotation with the Knicks. But after reevaluating my stance, and thinking it over, I decided to check into this kid a little bit more knowing he was a mid-first rounder a couple years back, and that he'd had some descent games while in the Bay Area. But it wasn't until I checked out some of his highlight videos on Youtube that I began to contemplate the possibility of acquiring him actually being a good thing. I'll post the video below so that you can all take a look at it, but basically, the only way to describe what I was thinking when I first saw the video was, "I'm I watching an All-star right now?" I know it sounds gimmicky, but this kid has some real talent, I can tell you that right now. The best way I'd describe Randolph is to say he's like a 6-foot-10-inch version of Monta Ellis, which is ironic being that they both played together in GS, but that's exactly who I thought of. His body control is extremely similar to Monta's in that he's very in tuned with himself, especially while in the air. Then his repertoire was extremely diverse, and consisted of a variety of mid-range post moves as well the ability to stretch the floor and finish off the dribble. But the thing that impressed me the most was his agility, at close to 7-feet mind you, and defense. I can't tell you how many times in the highlight video that this kid had a great steal, followed up by a gazelle-like sprint down the floor to flush it out. Then his rebounding and blocks were just flat out incredible. Basically, just watch the video, and feel free to check out some more on Youtube, as there are plenty. Anyways, Randolph just turned 21 this past July and I feel is still wildly undiscovered. I know we want at least one first rounder, but from everything I've heard that would require sending Randolph away in order to obtain. Given that Randolph is a proven player, and has what appears to be no-ceiling at all, I'd definitely entertain the idea of just trading for Randolph rather than going for a first rounder if I was Ujiri. His contract situation is like Gallinari's in that he's on the books for a couple more years at a bargain price of $2 million this year and $3 million next, leaving a Qualifying Offer for the 2012/13 season at $4 mil.
In Summary: By far the most attractive assets being offered from New York are Chandler, Gallinari and Randolph. The reason for this, is these are all young, talented players who have proven they belong in the NBA and are all still on their rookie deals - but most importantly, they all have Qualifying Offers on their contracts. In theory, if all three of these guys panned out, we could have them on our roster for years to come. I know it's more than a stretch, but what if Randolph turns into a beast with All-Star potential? We then have him locked down for however long the deal he's offered goes for, and the same is true for Gallinari and Chandler. And this is not even to mention just how sick it would be to see Randolph and JR on the same floor together making SportsCenter Top Ten plays nearly every time they'd touch the ball. Fields is certainly an interesting prospect, but because he only has one more year left on his deal it's risky trading for him when he can just leave after a couple years of duty. The bottom line in all of this is that if Melo is absolutely dead-set on going to N.Y. and won't sign with Jersey - which should be our first option - then N.Y. really isn't as bad of a package as everyone might have originally thought. I know some will say their numbers are inflated by D'Antoni's system, and your probably right in doing so, but potentially having young guys on their rookie deals for a few years then being able to match whatever someone else throws at them is the best situation any rebuilding team (or even contending team for that matter) could possibly ask for. No matter how you look at it, trading Melo must become a priority if it hasn't already, and being that according to Aldridge he still hasn't budged on his stance, I really don't know what our front office is waiting for. Melo knows how good this team is, but it clearly means nothing to him or else he would have signed the extension by now. It's just time to call New Jersey, ask them to give it their best shot, and if that doesn't work, as you can see, N.Y. isn't a bad offer either.