But could the Knicks make such a deal happen this season, not next?
That's the theory of Bleacher Reports' David F. Baer, who thinks the pieces are in place to induce both teams to act sooner rather than later. Here's his scenario:
Denver sends Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Carter to the Knicks.
New York sends Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry, Wilson Chandler, and two future second-round draft picks to the Nuggets.
The plus side for the Nuggets, according to Baer? They'd be getting Gallinari, "who led the NBA in three-point shooting last season, and at 6'10'', can play on the wing or down low," Chandler, who's "shown bright spots over the last season-and-a-half or so," and Chandler, who "plays decent defense, nothing too spectacular, but would improve quickly playing in the West, and under George Karl." (Curry would essentially serve as a salary dump.)
If the transaction happened, Baer sees the Knicks' starting five as "Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azubuike, Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Randolph and Amare Stoudemire" -- and although the team would be "losing a large chunk of their young core," it'd certainly receive plenty of talent in exchange.
For their part, the Nuggets would likely trot out "Chauncy Billups, J.R. Smith, Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington and Nenê," which Baer views as "not bad, considering they also have Ty Lawson and Kenyon Martin off the bench."
Really? With the addition of Harrington, just obtained via free agency from (yep) New York, this particular new-look Nuggets squad would essentially be the Knicks West. And, for those who've already forgotten, the Knicks were terrible in 2009-2010. They finished with a 29-53 mark -- and while that was good enough for third place in the Atlantic Division, it wouldn't even make a ripple in the much more competitive Western Conference.
And J.R. Smith as a starter? After his decline last season? Puh-leeze.
The Knicks will have to do a lot better than that in order for the Nuggets brass to even consider dealing Melo, who still has 65 million reasons to stay in Denver. But will that be enough?