Knicks finalize three-team deal to land Anthony
GREENBURGH, N.Y. | The New York Knicks were searching for a second superstar when Carmelo Anthony became available.
The price was high, but they’re certain he’s worth it.
“When you go out hunting, would you rather have a bigger gun or a little gun?” coach Mike D'Antoni said. “We got a bigger gun.”
The Knicks completed a three-team, 13-player trade with the Denver Nuggets for Anthony on Tuesday night. The Minnesota Timberwolves also were involved in the trade, which was agreed to Monday but couldn’t be finalized until Anthony signed his three-year, $65 million contract extension with the Nuggets.
Anthony will join fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire in the frontcourt, giving the Knicks the potent duo they hoped they could assemble last summer in free agency. Instead, they had to give up much of their core, but in return they get one of the NBA’s top scorers.
“We liked the way our team played this year and I looked at it and I thought we had one piece that was at the high level of the league. We always wanted two pieces at least,” team president Donnie Walsh said.
Stoudemire has led the Knicks to a 28-26 record this season, but said Tuesday they will be even more dangerous with Anthony bringing his 25.2 points per game to join his 26.1 average.
“Every team needs a 1, 1A punch,” Stoudemire said. “And so with the ways that we both can score …. we’re very versatile, so it’s hard to guard us.”
Stoudemire said he had “no doubt” the All-Star forwards and longtime friends could play together, and said Anthony would handle the move to New York as well as he has.
“It’s what he wants. It’s what I wanted, to come to New York and play on the big stage,” Stoudemire said. “He has the same type of swag. This is what he wants and he can handle it. We’re going to do it together.”
The Knicks also got guards Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter, and forwards Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams from Denver. New York dealt forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, guard Raymond Felton and center Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets.
New York also shipped centers Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph to Minnesota for forward Corey Brewer. Denver acquired center Kosta Koufos from Minnesota, plus New York’s first-round draft pick in 2014, second-round picks in 2012 and 2013 and cash.
The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, but are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference in their first season since acquiring Stoudemire from Phoenix last summer. He thinks the blockbuster deal could make them better equipped to face teams such as Boston or Miami, which already have multiple All-Stars, in the postseason.
“It’s not easy and it’s not going to get any easier for us now because the target is on our back,” Stoudemire said. “Teams are going to be eager to play against us.”
Miami’s LeBron James said he was happy his friend’s uncertainty was finally over.