FanShot

Hollinger Rates Trade

2

This is ESPN Insider, but i will link it and run it so everyone can read it. New York: D+ You can't evaluate this as you would a normal trade. This deal was made at gunpoint, and that colors the entire assessment. Anthony became the first player in memory to issue a trade demand and then list one team that he'd accept a trade to. And then somehow, the Knicks decided to start bidding against themselves and repeatedly agreed to up the ante in the final hours. New York could have had Anthony this summer while losing only Chandler (a restricted free agent they would have had to renounce). Their primary risk to that outcome was a "franchise tag" in the new collective bargaining agreement that would have allowed Denver to keep Anthony. But even then plenty of alternatives were available for the Knicks, as three better players -- Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard -- all seemed anxious to get to the Big Apple via power plays of their own, and one of the three (or another marquee star) may have wriggled free regardless of what new restrictions the next CBA imposes. This isn't Indiana or Memphis, and this saga laid that reality bare. Even with a franchise tag rule, New York had so many advantages that it was only a matter of time before a second star showed up, especially given the salary cap space the Knicks had carved out. To get a player like Anthony in those circumstances, it was worth paying something above just Chandler to convert a likely outcome to a certainty. But in this case the premium New York paid was as follows, beyond Chandler: • Gallinari • Mozgov • Their 2014 first-round draft pick • Golden State's second-round picks in 2012 and 2013 (owned by the Knicks) • $6 million in cash ($3 million each to Minnesota and Denver) • Swallowing two dead-money years at the end of Balkman's contract • Trading Anthony Randolph for Corey Brewer • Trading Felton for Billups, making New York eight years older at the point guard spot with a player who makes nearly twice in salary next season. Remind again why they needed to commit to all eight of these additional considerations for a player they were likely to get anyway? The worst part, of course, is that this deal proves that no matter how many advantages New York gains from its magnetic appeal to potential free agents, owner James Dolan will screw them up. Leaning on the genius of Isiah Thomas -- because it worked out so well for the first time -- he fell hook, line and sinker for every bluff thrown his way by the Nuggets and Melo's people. (Yes, Melo's people participated -- Anthony needed to make sure he got a lucrative contract extension under the current salary rules before being traded.) New York still gets its Melo-Stoudemire nucleus, but now lacks the supporting pieces to do anything important with that core. And by extending Melo now, they agree to lock him up at such an expensive price that, in concert with Stoudemire's deal, it likely precludes making a run at Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard in 2012. Denver: B+ With a loaded gun pointed at their heads, the Nuggets bluffed and schemed their way to a very palatable end-game by running circles around the New York area's battling ownership groups. Using New Jersey for leverage and hoping the Knicks were foolish enough to take the bait, Denver eventually squeezed terms that got the Nuggets under the luxury tax line -- a sizable fit considering they were $13 million over -- brought in a much younger point guard, two quality forwards, a young big man, a first-round pick, two second-round picks and cash. That's not a bad haul, and it still may be improved upon. With Lawson ready to move up to the starting role, it appears Felton may be moved on to a third team. It's not out of the question that Denver could still make the playoffs, and if the Nuggets can hang on to center Nene Hilario -- another of the Nuggets' potential free agents -- Denver will come out of this in far better shape than most teams that lose a star player. Minnesota: B+ I like Brewer, but I'd trade him for Randolph in a heartbeat. Brewer is a solid role player who plays great defense but can't shoot or dribble. That type of player has his uses, but that's all Brewer will ever be. Helpful, yes, but fungible too. Randolph has a lower floor but a much higher ceiling. He can't shoot, he weighs 11 pounds and he's a head case. On the other hand, he has rare shot-blocking talent, handles the ball unusually well for a player of his size, and is an elite athlete. He's a potential game-changer at the defensive end and, if the light bulb ever comes on, he's going to provide a very potent complement to Kevin Love's skills in the Minnesota frontcourt. The price of that trade was just swallowing Curry's expiring contract, but because of the difference in salary between Brewer and Randolph and the $3 million coming from New York, it's pretty much a wash financially. Basically it amounts to a free talent upgrade for Minnesota just for loaning out their cap space to get the Nuggets under the luxury tax.

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