After seeing a road-weary Nuggets squad best the Knicks in Madison Square Garden last night, and in doing so handing the Knicks their sixth-straight loss, the Carmelo Anthony trade of a year ago is looking nothing short of lopsided ... in favor of the Nuggets.
It seems like a distant memory now, but not long before the New York Knicks dealt Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton and Wilson Chandler to the Nuggets in exchange for Carmelo Anthony last February the Knicks weren't just a decent team, they were an exciting, up-and-coming team. Their 2010 free agent signee Amar'e Stoudemire was having an MVP-type season, Gallinari was showing flashes of why he was a lottery pick, Mozgov was improving with each passing game, and Felton and Chandler were flourishing in Knicks' head coach Mike D'Antoni's wide open, shoot-em-up system.
In fact, prior to acquiring Melo the Knicks had had a five-game and an eight-game winning streak, and had beaten the Bulls twice as well as the Thunder, Spurs and Heat. But as the Melo-to-the-Knicks rumors intensified in January of 2011, the Knicks lost six straight and fell apart from there, creating a sense of desperation among Knicks fans and ownership to make a major move. The Nuggets seized on this desperation and pulled off the deal, bringing four-fifths of the Knicks starting lineup to Denver.
We know all too well what happened from there. The Nuggets barnstormed through the remainder of the 2010-11 season, won 50 games, finished as a fifth-seed and lost in the playoffs first round to the Thunder. The Knicks, conversely, struggled mightily, first losing a lot of games with Melo - then winning a lot of games - and squeaked into the playoffs as a 42-40 sixth-seed only to be swept quickly by the Celtics in the first round.
Knicks fans and followers made excuses for Melo and the new-look Knicks at the time, saying they needed more time to gel (even though the Nuggets new complement of players gelled seemingly overnight) with an eye towards a vast improvement this season. Well, 16 games into the 2011-12 campaign it's more of the same for the Knicks ... and the Nuggets. And 40-plus games after "trade" the Nuggets stand at an impressive 30-12 while the Knicks are floundering at 20-24.
I don't want to bag on Melo (I did plenty of that last season leading up to the trade) for he will always deserve credit for returning the Nuggets to NBA relevancy upon arrival in 2003. But it's clear - and we saw this again last night as his Knicks lost to our Nuggets in double overtime - that Melo is nothing more than a one-dimensional scorer. Lethal at any point in a game to be sure, which made him oh-so-dangerous in Denver with good coaching and a solid supporting cast.
But Melo has neither in New York right now and it's become obvious that the Knicks were better off never trading for him in the first place. For all the joy we're experiencing in Denver watching these young Nuggets win tough game after tough game could just as easily be happening in New York instead.
On to the links...
Nuggets defeat Melo, Knicks in double-overtime thriller - The Denver Post
Benjamin Hochman recaps the Nuggets big win and gives a nice plug to Stiffs Night Out at Jake's!
For Knicks, Celebrated Trade, Celebrated No More - NYTimes.com
As the Knicks prepare to play the visiting Denver Nuggets, the blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony that redefined both teams is under renewed scrutiny.
Gallinari’s Career-High 37 Points Help Nuggets Top Knicks in Double Overtime - NYTimes.com
Carmelo Anthony had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, but Danilo Gallinari, the player the Knicks gave up for Anthony, was a little better, with 37 points and 11 rebounds.
A Big Blue win over 49ers in NFC Championship will keep focus off Carmelo Anthony, NY Knicks' Giant woes - NY Daily News
Well, because I’m a glass-half-full, cock-eyed optimist, the good news for the Knicks is that their extreme makeover of Madison Square Garden, which the fans sure helped pay for with a rather epic ticket increase, seems to be a great success. Writes Mike Lupica.
Carmelo Anthony talks Friday about (another) Knicks loss, playing Nuggets | Nuggets Ink — Denver Nuggets news — The Denver Post
Carmelo Anthony talks Friday about (another) Knicks loss, playing Nuggets with Hochman.