GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — Amare Stoudemire says the Knicks will be “hard to guard” with Carmelo Anthony joining him in New York.
The Knicks agreed to a trade with the Denver Nuggets for Anthony on Monday night, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The teams were awaiting the completion of a conference call with the NBA on Tuesday before the deal, which also includes the Minnesota Timberwolves, could become official.
LISTEN: Stoudemire Comments On Anthony
Stoudemire has led the Knicks to a 28-26 record this season, but said Tuesday they will be even more dangerous with Anthony bringing his 25.2 points per game to join his 26.1 average.
“Every team needs a 1, 1A punch,” Stoudemire said. “And so with the ways that we both can score …. we’re very versatile, so it’s hard to guard us.”
Stoudemire said he had “no doubt” the All-Star forwards and longtime friends could play together, and said Anthony would handle the move to New York as well as he has.
“It’s what he wants. It’s what I wanted, to come to New York and play on the big stage,” Stoudemire said. “He has the same type of swag. This is what he wants and he can handle it. We’re going to do it together.”
The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2004, but are in sixth place in their first season since acquiring Stoudemire from Phoenix last summer. He thinks the blockbuster deal could make them better equipped to face teams such as Boston or Miami, which already have multiple All-Stars, in the postseason.
“It’s not easy and it’s not going to get any easier for us now because the target is on our back,” Stoudemire said. “Teams are going to be eager to play against us.”
The Knicks also would acquire Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman in the deal that was first reported by the Denver Post. They are playing a heavy price, trading 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.
But the Knicks felt they had to make the move after failing last summer to land two superstars through free agency.
“We liked the way our team played this year and I looked at it and I thought we had one piece that was at the high level of the league. We always wanted two pieces at least,” team president Donnie Walsh said.
The completion of the deal is delayed while Anthony first signs a three-year, $65 million contract extension with the Nuggets before the trade conference call can be held.
It was Anthony’s refusal to take the extension when the Nuggets offered it to him last summer that forced them to explore trading their leading scorer. The Knicks hoped they could sign him next summer in free agency, but felt they couldn’t wait because Anthony wanted the extension this season, before a new collective bargaining agreement next summer could severely restrict salaries.
So the Knicks agreed to trade four of their top six players, realizing there were few chances to add a player of Anthony’s caliber to one like Stoudemire.
“Now we’ve got two guys in our stable,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.
The Knicks hope Anthony will be able to play Wednesday when they host Milwaukee. He is expected to arrive in New York to take his physical late Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.