The NBA trade deadline doesn't always get the publicity of baseball's midseason swap meet, but it often packs a bigger punch. You will hardly ever see a star on the level of a Carmelo Anthony change hands in any other sport, even if this was contrived from the start.
The Knicks get their show pony in 'Melo and the Nuggets, even if minimally, might have improved their team now and beyond. The T-Wolves? Well, they might have been in it just to show the country there is a basketball team in Minnesota since Kevin Garnett left, one that is still trying to turn young trash into something worthwhile.
The NBA might be the one sport where a game-changer can be dealt midseason, and it is definitely the one sport -- since only five players are active at once -- where one significant deadline addition can make a huge difference.
There are still expected to be some dominoes to fall, namely with a deal involving the jilted Nets, but let's see how all the pieces fit in right now.
The Knicks not only add 'Melo's 25 points-per-game to team with Amar'e Stoudemire, but they also get the best, arguably, rebounding small forward in the NBA. Among fantasy-eligible small forwards, only Atlanta's Josh Smith (8.84) and Charlotte's Gerald Wallace (8.26) average more than Anthony's 7.64 rebounds per game. That number could be inflated because Anthony was more of a one-man show in Denver, though. You could expect Anthony to perhaps score and rebound a bit less because he does similar things as PF Stoudemire, but the two working in unison will still be more productive than any other forward combo in fantasy. About the only category where Anthony doesn't get close to King LeBron James is assists, but the new Knick now has someone to defer to. Expect his assists to climb.
The most important factor in this deal is Anthony gets to play under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, which he's always coveted. A happy 'Melo will be a motivated 'Melo, as you have seen this season in a contract year.
Assuming he isn't flipped in another deal, Billups will be the Knicks' point guard, setting the table for Anthony and Stoudemire. He is a solid scorer and a former NBA Finals MVP, albeit now in the latter stages of his career. While Ray Felton's fantasy numbers are significantly better than Billups', the new Knicks distributor has more big-time NBA experience. If anything, Billups already knows how to work with 'Melo. It could make Stoudemire the one who might need to go through more of an adjustment period than Anthony.
Brewer is going to be a very good bench player for the Knicks playing behind Anthony. He averaged 13 points per game in his breakout season a year ago, but the T-Wolves haven't used him as much and his scoring average has dipped under double digits to 8.6 ppg. Brewer is owned in merely one-third of fantasy basketball leagues, but he could be more useful now. He might even pick up some eligibility at SG again.
This is a trio of has-beens or never-will-bes who will rot at the end of the Knicks' depleted bench. They have zero fantasy intrigue at this point.
Turiaf is going to get more minutes as the dirty-work center, especially because there isn't a lot of depth at that position now. Stoudemire might have to play more minutes at the five, too.
The Nuggets get a steadily improving swing man in Chandler, who can be classified as Anthony-lite. He will probably play more forward than shooting guard for George Karl, but he is one of the better rebounding SG-eligible players in fantasy. Now that he is out of the shadow of Stoudemire and working in a team-based offense, you probably should expect Chandler's numbers to improve greater than any of the new Knicks. He should become a must-start in fantasy now, especially with is versatility at the two, three and four.
This is another steadily improving forward the Nuggets are getting in his early years. Gallinari might wind up being the player the Knicks miss the most. He might be the player the Nuggets miss most, too. He is rumored to be a piece to flip elsewhere. Gallinari is rangy at 6-foot-10 and would have played a lot more not having to share minutes with Chandler. Stay tuned.
Felton was enjoying the best season of his career, setting up Stoudemire, Chandler and Gallinari in New York, but it is possible he is going to be playing backup minutes to Ty Lawson in Denver. You are going to have to expect his numbers to decline across the board, unless he is flipped with Gallinari before the trade deadline. If he stays in Denver, he is no longer a must-start fantasy point guard.
Mozgov is a reserve center that will be playing behind Nene, and maybe Chris Andersen, if he remains in Denver. But, if the Nuggets can not work a contract extension with Nene, it could be the veteran that gets dealt. That could hand the starting job to Mozgov and make him a potential sleeper in real deep fantasy leagues at the thin center position.
The Nuggets lose star power, but they get youth, draft picks, and cap space. They are going to be a low-seeded playoff team in the West still. They probably have some trades to work out, especially since the Nugs say Smith and Lawson are going to take on expanded roles and there is almost too much depth that it could be consider talented wasted.
After the Knicks signed Stoudemire this summer, Randolph was a lost role player. The T-Wolves will try to resurrect him as a part of their one man's trash is another man's treasure plan that includes Michael Beasley. Randolph is still just 21 and a year removed from 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, though. He should prove to be fantasy-viable again in Minnesota, although it won't happen overnight. Watch him for some potential second-half rewards.
Curry is getting bought out by the cash the Knicks are sending the T-Wolves, so they are not expected to use him. He could wind up playing somewhere before the end of the season, but he will be too far out of any rotation to prove useful in fantasy.