Anybody who was paying attention to — or even trying to avoid — the ongoing Carmelo Anthony contract/trade/free agency saga this season probably expected ‘Melo to be playing for the Eastern Conference All-Stars come Feb. 20. And yet here it is, four days before the All-Star Game, and ‘Melo is still in the West, still with the Denver Nuggets.
But that doesn’t mean a ‘Melo trade isn’t right around the corner. According to Newsday, the New York Knicks are willing to give up Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler to get Carmelo, and aren’t opposed to giving up Ray Felton either if it means they’d get Chauncey Billups from Denver.
The issue at hand is the precarious decision to complete a blockbuster deal that involves even more players, perhaps rookies Timofey Mozgov and Landry Fields, and dramatically jumbles the roster, the starting lineup and the rotation with 28 games left — and very little time for practice — after the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
The Knicks have one game left, Wednesday against the Hawks, before the All-Star break and go into that game 4.5 games ahead of 9th place Charlotte, which is below the Mendoza Line. Quite frankly, it’s hard to imagine a lineup with Billups, Anthony and (Amar’e) Stoudemire would fail to finish the job and clinch a playoff berth in the East, but there’s not much time to generate the necessary chemistry, nor would there be much of a bench, for a meaningful playoff run. And all of this falls on Mike D’Antoni, who, sources say, is resistant to a major roster shakeup.
At this point, the Newsday source close to the situation claims, the biggest threat to the Knicks is the Mavericks, who are willing to take on Carmelo without the promise that he’d sign a contract extension. But Dallas, one of the oldest team sin the League, doesn’t have as many attractive trade pieces as the Knicks.