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For Melo, which Knicks should stay, which should go?

Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks falls

Danilo Gallinari of the New York Knicks falls to the floor against the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden. (Feb. 9, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

When it comes to making a deal for four-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks seem to be so close yet so far.

They were reportedly near a deal for the Nuggets star late Monday, but the Daily News reported that Denver’s expensive demands sank the deal.

The latest proposal reportedly involved almost every Knicks asset but centerpiece Amar’e Stoudemire. To obtain Denver’s Anthony, 26, and point guard Chauncey Billups, 34, the Knicks were asked to ship Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, another unnamed starter, Eddy Curry’s contract and at least one first-round pick.

The Knicks have until next Thursday’s trade deadline to craft a proposal that doesn’t decimate their playoff-caliber roster — or wait and see if Anthony becomes a free agent this summer.

So, who shall stay and who shall go?

G Raymond Felton, 26
Stats: 17.2 ppg, 9 apg, .872 FT%
Contract: Year 1 (2 yrs., $15M)
Why he should stay: The captain and point guard has quickly developed a pick-and-roll rapport with Amar'e Stoudemire.
Why he's expendable: The league is currently rich with point guard talent, and the average-shooting Felton is playing well above his career clips of 13.8 points and 6.7 assists.

G Landry Fields, 22
Stats: 10 ppg, 7.1 rpg, .390 3P%, .515 FT%
Contract: Year 1 (2 yrs., $1.3M)
Why he should stay: A consummate "glue guy" who has started every game of his rookie season, Fields is an excellent defender who is capable across the board on offense.
Why he's expendable: Expected to be an NBA role player coming to the Knicks in the 2010 draft's second round, Fields' impressive half-season makes him a strong "sell high" trade asset.

F Wilson Chandler, 23
Stats: 16.4 ppg, 6 rpg, .351 3P%
Contract: Year 4 (4 yrs., $5.7M)
Why he should stay: The steadily improving former No. 23 overall draft pick in 2007 is entering the conversation of the NBA's top small forwards. The ceiling of potential appears high.
Why he's expendable: Chandler recently hired Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, and will command as mush as a $10 million salary annually as a restricted free agent this offseason; the Knicks may prefer to spend that money on his replacement, Anthony.

F Danilo Gallinari, 22
Stats: 15.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, .892 FT%
Contract: Year 3 (4 yrs., $13.5M)
Why he should stay: The popular Italian sharpshooter has become a linchpin of the new-look Knicks and has added an aggressive element to his game.
Why he's expendable: Back problems limited Gallinari to 28 games in his rookie year; his injury history and somewhat limited game make his status as a Knicks building block debatable.

C Eddy Curry, 28
Stats: Has not played in 2010-11
Contract: Year 6 (6 yrs., $60M)
Why he should stay: Hard to see why, except that the Knicks, rather than a potential trade partner, would benefit from the departure of Curry's $11.3 million annual salary from the payroll.
Why he's expendable: Curry's expiring contract makes him an essential trade asset in the Anthony talks.

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