Carmelo Trade Reaction

East All Star Amare Stoudamire (R) of the New York Knicks laughs with West All Star Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets during the NBA All-Star basketball game in Los Angeles, February 20, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Michael Wilbon, ESPN: Even with all the analysis of the Knicks we’ll be indulging in for the next few weeks, the club is so much better off post-Carmelo than pre-Carmelo. Goodness, if anything the Knicks should probably be criticized for not simply getting down to business and making this deal six or eight weeks ago. The team could have played 20 games with Billups-Fields-Anthony-Stoudemire already. If the Knicks hadn’t goofed around until nearly the trade deadline, they probably could have made a deal that excluded Mozgov. But they let the New Jersey Nets set the terms, which likely pushed Denver’s price higher. Still, after a lot of false starts the Knicks appear to be actually on the road to contention — how serious we’ll find out soon enough. Miami’s all-new cast needed close to 30 games to figure out how to play with one another. Stoudemire, Anthony and Billups do have different skill sets and don’t have to examine everything they’ve done for years the way LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had to do. Then again, James and Wade are adept passers; Stoudemire and Anthony are not, which is why Billups, intimidated by nothing and calm in the face of all kinds of NBA drama, is better off running the point with this group than Felton, whose shoulders have no stripes.

Dave Krieger, Denver Post: As excited as NBA officials may be about the resurrection of the Knicks in the league’s biggest market, they cannot ignore the dire straits in which smaller-market teams find themselves as the old labor agreement expires. Denver joins an unfortunate club that already included Cleveland and Toronto. Three of the game’s biggest stars — Anthony, LeBron James and Chris Bosh — abandoned these markets for brighter lights in the last eight months.

Mike Lupica, New York Daily News: The Knicks get Carmelo Anthony even after giving away all the leverage they had in this thing, and what feels like half their roster. The player only wanted to come to New York, only wanted to get his huge contract extension here, didn’t want to go to Jersey or anywhere else. The Knicks – meaning Walsh – always had the Nuggets where they wanted them, and should have been able to make this deal with Wilson Chandler and Eddy Curry’s big, fat expiring contract and some other junk thrown in. Instead they give up Raymond Felton and Danilo Gallinari and Chandler and Timofey Mozgov, too. If the trade deadline were next Thursday instead of this Thursday, Denver could have gotten James Dolan to throw in Mike Breen and Clyde Frazier, too. Clearly Dolan still has Isiah Thomas as his muse, apparently because all the good ones were taken.

William C. Rhoden, New York Times: Nearly all of the burden of proof rests on Anthony’s shoulders. He asked for this situation and now he has it. If he knows the Knicks’ history, Anthony knows that with the possible exception of Bernard King, no New York City player has ever come back as a Knick and turned the place upside down — in a positive way. He will have something to prove to the legions of fans who consider him a one-dimensional player who lacks the skills and the drive to play defense or make his teammates better. Anthony is not the answer, but he is unquestionably a building block. He led Syracuse to a national championship and was a vital component for the United States when it won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing. He could be a winner on a properly outfitted team, something the Knicks, with Stoudemire, are becoming. And now that the Knicks have two star players in place, a player like Chris Paul is much more likely to leave cash-strapped New Orleans for well-heeled New York.

J.A. Adande, ESPN: The Nuggets did well for themselves … which is more than the Cleveland Cavaliers or Toronto Raptors could say when LeBron James and Chris Bosh bolted for South Beach. The Cavs and Raptors made last-minute sign-and-trade deals for picks and trade exceptions, but those are just possibilities and cap space. The Nuggets have more tangible assets. They have three players averaging at least 16 points per game in Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari and a 7-footer in Timofey Mozgov. They got a first-round pick and two second-round picks. I know the Nuggets were attracted to all of the first-round picks the New Jersey Nets offered, but I’d rather have the known in proven players than the unknown in picks of undetermined order. Plus that $3 million, in addition to the $13.2 million in luxury tax payments they’re no longer on the hook for, plus whatever cut they’ll receive from the taxpaying teams. This is the reward the Nuggets get for holding out until the end, for refusing to yield to pressure from around the league and a weary NBA media and fandom to just put this to a halt. This whole process dragged on longer and had more false endings than “The Return of the King.” But the Nuggets benefited from the early start, getting the initial lowball offers out of the way before Thanksgiving, learning what the minimum was and working from there.

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