Carmelo Anthony and Danilo Gallinari could be trading places yet again this summer, though this time Anthony could be dealt to Denver and Gallinari could sign in New York.
Nuggets fans are still hurting from Anthony’s departure in 2011 as Carmelo didn’t exactly have flattering comments for the city of Denver out the door. But, time heals all wounds and the Nuggets are in desperate need of a veteran superstar to take them from borderline playoff team to elite in the rugged Western Conference.
Anthony is far from a perfect fit for the Nuggets right now as the Nugs give up 111.4 points per game, 27th worst in the NBA. But Denver is in no spot to be picky when it comes to acquiring a top 25 player in the league. The Nuggets haven’t been out of the first round since Anthony was on the roster the first time – in 2008-09.
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They are building something special around Nikola Jokic (26.5 points per game) in Denver, but they need elite veteran talent to help accelerate the process. The Nuggets wouldn’t have to give up much to get Anthony this offseason either. If they fail to make the playoffs this season, they’ll wind up with a pick in the 10-13 range. Given Anthony’s falling trade stock over the years, that 2017 pick and salary filler would most definitely be enough for Phil Jackson to pull the trigger.
The Knicks are likely to land a pick in the 3-6 range and supplementing that with a second lottery pick in a deep draft would be appetizing for Phil.
As for Gallinari, expect him to test the free agent waters this summer by declining his $16.1 million player option.
Remarkably, Gallinari is still just 28-years-old and is having one of the most efficient seasons of his career.