Monday Morning Point Guard
It really is crazy how time flies. It’s hard to imagine it’s already been a year since the Melo-drama unfolded last season.
The Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks on February 21st, 2011. After 57 games of trade winds swirling throughout the 2010-2011 season, Hurricane Anthony finally dissipated.
At the time of the trade, I thought I was going to contract post melo-dramatic stress syndrome. I was concerned about the future of the Nuggets, after seeing their franchise player request a trade out of town. The NBA is a star oriented league, and the Nuggets lost their star.
But in the end, the Nuggets received a lion’s share in return. The Nuggets front office did an admirable job saving face, knowing that they were shipping the face of their team out of town.
The logistics of the trade were as follows. The Nuggets received Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, the Knicks 2014 first round pick, the Warriors 2012 second round pick, the Warriors 2013 second round pick, and 3 million dollars in cash. The Knicks received Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, and Corey Brewer.
Now that a year has passed, and some of the dust has settled, we can dissect the mega trade from a year ago. Let’s take a closer look on how each player has faired since the trade, so we can start to surmise which team got the better end of the deal.
Wilson Chandler – Chandler was an integral part of the Nuggets playoff run last season, as one of the first rotation players off the bench for Coach Karl. During the lockout, however, Chandler signed with a Chinese basketball team, preventing him from joining a NBA team at the beginning of the season. He is now back from the Far East, a restricted free agent, and is currently in contract talks with multiple suitors.
Raymond Felton – Felton played solid for the Nuggets in the second half of last season but was apparently disgruntled at the notion of coming off the bench. With Lawson fully entrenched as Karl starting point guard, the Nuggets dealt Felton for Andre Miller in the off-season. Miller has accepted his role as the team’s backup point guard, although injuries have forced Miller into the Nuggets starting lineup.
Danilo Galinari – The key component to the trade for the Denver Nuggets. Just like Carmelo Anthony, Gallinari was a top ten pick. With Gallinari in the lineup, the Nuggets were one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Since the Italian big men went down to a nasty ankle sprain, the Nuggets have been mired in mediocrity. The Nuggets visibly miss him in the everyday lineup. He led the team in scoring and his dynamic, lanky frame is irreplaceable. The good news for the Nuggets is that once he comes back, he is back for a while. He is under contract for four more seasons here in Denver, after recently signing a 42 million dollar extension.
Timofey Mozgov – Until the injury bug bit this Russian Giant, he was the Nuggets starting center. Timofey was the last piece the Nuggets coveted in the trade, and Nuggets fans have seen just a glimpse of his potential. He is massive (7’1’’/ 250 lbs) and young (25 years old), two promising factors for an up and coming player.
Kosta Koufos – A solid NBA big man that has performed admirably when his number has been called. He’s not a game changer, but he is a valuable big man to solidify the Nuggets bench. Just like Mozgov, he is a rather large fellow (7’0’’/ 265 lbs), and also has a lot of basketball ahead of him (23 years old.) The Nuggets front office has already rewarded Koufos with a three-year contract extension worth nine million dollars.
Carmelo Anthony – New York immediately embraced Melo, and he instantly became the centerpiece of their franchise. But since expectations are so lofty in the NYC, Melo has yet to truly completely captivate the Knicks faithful. And even more recently, Melo has had the spotlight stolen from him by the insane rise of the new Knicks point guard, Jeremy Lin.
Chauncey Billups – Chauncey was the sacrificial lamb of the Melo trade. Denver’s native son wanted to retire a Nugget, but the Nugget’s front office did not allow that to occur. He was the staring point guard for the Knicks in the second half of last season, but was a salary cap casualty in the off --season. He signed a contract with the Clippers in the summer, teaming up with Chris Paul, but unfortunately sustained an Achilles injury that has sidelined him for the season. Because Felton and Chauncey are both now playing for other teams, why were they traded in the first place?
Shelden Williams – The Knicks did not renew Shelden William’s contract in the off-season. He only averaged 3.9 points per game in 17 contests as a Knick. He now plays for the New Jersey Nets, averaging 4.7 points per game. Enough said.
Anthony Carter – Carter is now also hooping for another team. He now plays in Canada eh, for the Toronto Raptors. Carter is the classic NBA journeyman, playing for six teams in his 12-year NBA career.
Corey Brewer – Corey Brewer is the most ironic part of the entire trade. After the trade occurred, Brewer was immediately released, signed with the Mavericks, and won a ring. He is now a member of the Denver Nuggets, after joining them in the off-season. Brewer comes off the Nuggets bench, but is averaging a respectable 10 points per game.
Renaldo Balkman – Renaldo Balkman was recently waived by the Knicks to create a roster spot for guess who? J.R. Smith. More weird irony right? He played sparingly for the Knicks and has pretty much been a bench warmer his whole career.
Since the trade 370 days ago, only one player is still on the Knicks that was acquired (Melo.) Three players are still on the Nuggets (Galinari, Mozgov, and Koufos). One player that New York traded for now plays in Denver (Brewer.) And the Nuggets also now have their back up point guard because of the trade (Miller.)
If you combine those five Denver Nuggets scoring averages, it equals 48.2 points per game. Melo is averaging 21.4 points per game.
So just based off the amount of production that is on court from the players involved in the trade, the Nuggets made out like bandits in the blockbuster trade a year ago.
Let’s be real. Neither the Nuggets nor the Knicks are on the brink of an NBA championship. At the All-star break, the Nuggets are 18-17, 9th in the West. The Knicks are 17-18, 7th in the East. The Nuggets miss Melo and his killer instinct late in games. The Knicks miss all the complimentary players they gave up in the trade.
But the Nuggets front office should still be commended, because they knew Carmelo wanted out, and then maintained the foundations of a respectable NBA team in return.
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