Inundated with trade rumors since last summer, the Denver Nuggets and their fans can finally look ahead. Carmelo Anthony's wish was granted last night when he was traded to the New York Knicks, along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman. In return, Denver will receive Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, one 2014 first-round draft pick, the Golden State Warriors' 2012 and 2013 second-round draft picks, and $3 million in cash (via the Denver Post).
"I'm glad it's over," says Nuggets coach George Karl. "I'm glad it's an opportunity to reinvent.... There's some sadness to it, there always will be." Locals are surely more upset about the loss of hometown hero Billups, who apparently left practice last night without talking to reporters.
Nuggets fans watched Melo grow from a lanky, immature kid straight out of Syracuse University in the 2003-04 season into a solid, well-spoken man and possibly the purest scorer in the league. In seven-and-a-half years in Denver, Melo played and started in 564 games, racking up 13,790 points in 20,520 minutes (career stats via NBA.com). Criticized for his lack of defensive effort, he led the Nuggets to the playoffs every year he was in Denver, and in 2008 helped the Nuggets come within striking distance of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
The Nuggets will have to redefine who they are as a team—and players' specific roles—going forward. The New York Post writes that Knicks owner James Dolan was "hellbent" on taking Melo and keeping him from playing for New Jersey. But the Nuggets could still deal several of its trades to the Nets, perhaps in exchange for more draft picks. At the end of it all, ESPN thinks the Nuggets did as well as could be expected.