Last week's big trade rumor had Carmelo Anthony going to the Knicks for the low, low price of Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph, a first-round pick and Eddy Curry's expiring deal. The price of doing business with the Nuggets has increased significantly since then; according to a report in today's New York Daily News, Denver's counter offer was 'Melo and Chauncey Billups for Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, another starter, a first-round draft pick and the Curry expiring.
Donnie Walsh reportedly thinks that price is too steep, but Knicks owner Jim Dolan might be amenable to the deal, especially if his team loses to the Hawks tomorrow night and goes into the all-star break with a .500 record.
Even if we assume the final deal comes in somewhere between last week's rumor and this week's, one thing seems clear: the Knicks are going to have to give up at least two of their promising young wings if they're going to land 'Melo before the deadline. Denver management is very high on Arron Afflalo, which makes Landry Fields the Knick least likely to be included in the trade.
As we mentioned last week, Shawne Williams (1% owned) probably gets the biggest boost in value if a trade thins the Knicks' forward rotation a bit. Depending on how much thinning happens, Bill Walker (2%) could also find himself in a more important role.
The inclusion of Billups in the latest rumors changes the outlook for New York's other guards. Billups is a better floor-spacer than Felton, which could help open things up for Landry Fields (68% owned) to drive the lane more often. Billups is also a bigger/stronger defender who can match up against opposing twos, which would enable the Knicks to play Toney Douglas (14%) at off guard more often. Douglas thrives playing off the ball, but putting him on the floor with Felton leaves the Knicks very vulnerable to post-ups from the opposing backcourt.
One more Knick move to watch: as soon as a trade frees a roster spot, the Knicks could bring back free-agent center Earl Barron (0% owned). Barron didn't show much in a brief stint with Phoenix this year, but he thrived in Mike D'Antoni's system last Spring.
The possibility of Felton being included in the deal doesn't necessarily hurt Ty Lawson's (25% owned) fantasy value - in fact, it may give the second-year pro a value boost. Felton's deal is very inexpensive for a player of his caliber; Denver could potentially spin him off to another team as part of their rebuilding effort.
Picks for the Week
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who may be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
O.J. Mayo (69% owned): Aside from Anthony, Mayo might be the biggest impact player to be moved at the deadline. He'd be a great fit for the Chicago Bulls.
DeJuan Blair (56% owned): Blair is thriving during the Spurs' annual "Rodeo Road Trip," averaging a double-double this month.
Marcin Gortat (55% owned): Alvin Gentry seems to be settling on a center rotation that gives Gortat about twice as many minutes as Robin Lopez; Gortat is clearly the Suns' pivot to own at this point.
Samuel Dalembert (48% owned): DeMarcus Cousins' latest bout of knuckle-headedness elevates Dalembert back into the Kings' starting lineup, and I get the sense that Paul Westphal may stick with him for a while. If he gets the minutes, Dalembert will get you blocks and boards.
C.J. Miles (38% owned): The coaching change in Utah, combined with Raja Bell's leg injury, could spell a big playing time boost for Miles.
Rodrigue Beaubois (8% owned): Expected to make his season debut on Wednesday. Theoretically, the Mavs would like to bring him along slowly. But they may not have that option, because JJ Barea will be sidelined with the flu.
Gordon Hayward (3% owned): Will get starts while Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) is sidelined. Can't help wondering if he'll get an extended look at small forward, as AK-47 will be a free agent after the season.
Michael Redd (2% owned): Expected to re-join the Bucks after the break. It's hard to expect much from the veteran, who hasn't appeared in a game this year - but if he's right, he's one of the game's better shooters.
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