The swap is a three-way deal including Minnesota. The deal would end the season-long trade saga involving Denver’s All-Star forward and send him to his desired destination. If it goes through, it puts Anthony alongside Amare Stoudemire in a potentially explosive frontcourt — at a heavy cost to the Knicks.
As a part of the deal, the Knicks will send Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov and a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Nuggets, who would get additional picks and cash, the sources said. Along with Anthony, New York would acquire Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.
New York will send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota as part of the deal in exchange for Corey Brewer.
The Denver Post first reported the trade.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Nuggets coach George Karl said, according to the newspaper. “I’m glad it’s an opportunity to reinvent. I think everybody handled it as classy as you could handle it. There’s some sadness to it, there always will be.”
Denver might not be Gallinari’s final destination. League sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher the Nuggets are not expected to keep Gallinari once their acquisition of him is completed.
While Broussard reported that the Nets might try to acquire Gallinari after striking out on Anthony, there are several other interested teams with first-round draft picks to offer in exchange for the perimeter-shooting forward. Other potential suitors include the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
The need for time to move Gallinari is why Denver pulled the trigger on the Anthony deal Monday night, rather than get closer to Thursday’s trade deadline to see what else develops, sources said. The Nuggets are not looking to deal Felton or Chandler, a league source said.
The Nuggets have explored an Anthony trade since he refused to sign the three-year contract extension worth nearly $65 million they offered him last summer. They appeared on the verge of sending him to the New Jersey Nets on multiple occasions, but the Knicks increased their offer enough to land Anthony, who was believed to prefer New York all along.
The Knicks would hope he could be in uniform Wednesday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. If he is, he’ll probably be wearing a different number.
Anthony wore No. 15 for his seven-year tenure with the Nuggets. He also wore No. 15 during his one season at Syracuse. But that digit will be off limits for Anthony in New York because the organization retired No. 15 twice — once for Earl Monroe and once for Dick McGuire. A team official was unsure of which number Anthony would wear with the Knicks when contacted by ESPNNewYork.com late Monday night.
Anthony led the Nuggets to the playoffs in each of his first seven seasons in Denver after winning a national title at Syracuse as a freshman and had them positioned for another playoff run this year. But Denver advanced out of the first round just once in that time.
He stood to become the headliner of the 2011 free-agent class, but didn’t want to risk free agency knowing a new collective bargaining agreement could cost him millions. But once he refused the extension with the Nuggets — plus put his Denver mansion on the market last year — the Nuggets’ new front-office team of general manager Masai Ujiri and team president Josh Kroenke had to begin trade talks so they wouldn’t risk losing him and getting nothing in return as the Cavaliers did with LeBron Jamesand the Toronto Raptors did with Chris Bosh last year.
There were persistent rumors Anthony wouldn’t take the extension if traded to the Nets, which was a prerequisite for them agreeing to a trade. He instead gets his apparent wish to join a Knicks team that is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and in position for its first playoff berth since 2004.
But the Knicks will make their postseason run without the core of the team. Felton, Gallinari, Mozgov and Chandler were four of New York’s top six players, and there is some thought the Knicks gave up too much to get Anthony, a sensational scorer headed to a team that doesn’t necessarily need more scoring.
However, the Knicks felt they couldn’t pass on the opportunity to land a 26-year-old superstar once he became available. Assuming he extends with the Knicks, Anthony and Stoudemire would be under contract for four more seasons, though the uncertain salary-cap situation could wreck New York’s plans to be spenders over the next two summers.