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Updated: 2/22/11 6:45 a.m.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Knicks have finally agreed on a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves that would bring superstar Carmelo Anthony to New York.
The deal that would end the season-long trade saga involving Denver’s All-Star forward can’t be finalized until Tuesday during a conference call with the NBA office. Assuming it goes through, it puts Anthony alongside Amare Stoudemire in a potential explosive frontcourt — at a heavy cost for the Knicks.
The Knicks would 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.
Along with Anthony, New York would acquire Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman, according to the Denver Post.
ESPN later reported it was a three-way deal with Minnesota, which would acquire Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks for Corey Brewer.
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.
There was no comment from the Knicks, but sources said Anthony could be in uniform Wednesday when the Knicks host the Milwaukee Bucks.
Denver coach George Karl said there was “some sadness” to the deal, which sends away not only Anthony but Billups, the popular Denver native. But he added it was “time to move on, reinvent.”
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 for nothing like the Cavaliers did with LeBron James and 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 they’ll 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 another superstar once he became available.
Anthony wasn’t at the Nuggets’ practice on Monday night. Instead, the All-Star forward was in Burbank, Calif., taping a segment on “Conan.”
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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)