Knicks Finally Land Carmelo Anthony, Beating Out Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov
The Knicks finally acquired F Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets last night after Knicks Owner James Dolan "caved in and added Russian center Timofey Mozgov to the deal after the Nuggets threatened to trade him to the Nets if they did not," according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. The "long-talked-about trade" is expected to be announced today, and Anthony "looks to make his Knicks debut tomorrow night at the Garden against the Bucks." An NBA source indicated that Dolan "has been hell-bent on getting Anthony to keep him" from the Nets and Owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who "has become a rival." The Nuggets had "preferred the Nets' draft-pick-laden trade offer until Mozgov was added." Berman notes the trade "will have negative connotations only because of the perception" that Florida Int'l men's basketball coach Isiah Thomas, Dolan's "loyal friend, was a major advocate of the deal." League sources said that Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh "would not have given up as many pieces -- or at least called Denver's bluff of trading him to the Nets -- had he been completely calling the shots" (N.Y. POST, 2/22). In N.Y., Peter Vecsey writes what "mattered most to Dolan ... was not losing such an alluring specimen to Prokhorov." It was "very important to Dolan, extremely personal, to win the turf war against his Russian rival." Dolan proved to be the one to "take command" of the trade talks. Not only did he "meet one-on-one with Anthony, but recently he became the hands-on flesh dealer" with the Nuggets. In addition, there is "no question Dolan was following" Thomas' advice, which is why Walsh "was benched during the latest negotiations" (N.Y. POST, 2/22).
ON THE LEAD GUITAR: The N.Y. POST's Berman cites sources as saying that as "negotiations for Anthony heated up in Los Angeles with Dolan, Walsh bolted for Indiana to see his family during All-Star Weekend." One source said that Walsh "packed up and left because he was irritated and felt it was a waste of time being in New York since trade negotiations were taking place in Los Angeles without him, and with Thomas advising Dolan." Another league source indicated that Thomas "wanted to make the deal more than Walsh did" (N.Y. POST, 2/22). Also in N.Y., Mike Lupica writes after Walsh "made the Knicks viable and watchable again, Dolan shoved him out of the way to make this deal happen." Dolan "clearly lets Thomas talk him into giving the Nuggets whatever they want" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/22). But ESPN N.Y.'s Stephen A. Smith wrote, "The people who run this franchise would have looked like buffoons for perpetuity had they not pulled the trigger and gotten Melo to Gotham City. This is what New York needed. This is what this city wanted. This is who the Knicks absolutely had to have if they were going to transform themselves from abysmal to mediocre to respectable and beyond" (ESPNNY.com, 2/22). ESPN N.Y.'s Ian O'Connor: "This is a great deal for the Knicks, a greater moment for their fan base" (ESPNNY.com, 2/22).
AIR BALL? In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes, "There is no other way to sum it up: Monday night was another bad night for the Nets under Prokhorov. ... Prokhorov is all talk. No action. Under Prokhorov, the Nets haven't done a thing." It is "not entirely Prokhorov's fault," since there is "nothing in Brooklyn now for the best players in the game to come to." Lawrence: "Maybe when the arena is finished, that's when Prokhorov will be able to convert his vast fortune into some NBA superstars. But not yet" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/22). Also in N.Y., Stefan Bondy writes if Prokhorov has "accomplished anything in his brief tenure as Nets owner, it's establishing a real, impassioned rivalry with the Knicks, specifically with ownership." But after "another failed pursuit, many of Prokhorov's grand declarations now seem hollow" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/22).