Seven months after the wedding toast, the second piece of the Knicks' Big Three finally is in place.
Carmelo Anthony will be traded to the Knicks Tuesday in a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets, multiple sources told Newsday Monday night. A deal was reached Monday night and was first reported by the Denver Post on its website.
Anthony could make his Knicks debut Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks. It is expected that he will sign a three-year, $65-million contract extension as part of the trade, which would lock him up through the 2014-15 season, the same as Amar'e Stoudemire.
"I'm extremely happy for Carmelo," agent Leon Rose told Yahoo! Sports. "We are very appreciative to the Denver Nuggets' organization for their efforts in assisting Melo to get to New York. Melo is excited and looking forward to playing for the Knicks."
The Knicks missed out on LeBron James last summer and clearly didn't want to lose out on another star. Now they have two, Stoudemire and Anthony.
Their focus now shifts to the summer of 2012, when All-Star point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul are expected to opt out and become free agents. At Anthony's wedding in July, Paul made a toast to joining Anthony and Stoudemire in New York and forming "our own Big Three."
Stoudemire has looked forward to teaming with Anthony since signing with the Knicks in July. "Obviously, we're friends," Stoudemire said in Los Angeles Friday. "To team up with a player like Carmelo would be great . . . I think the combination of us two would be great. I think it would uplift the city with him coming to New York."
In the three-team, 12-player deal, the Knicks acquired Anthony, veteran guard Chauncey Billups, forward Shelden Williams, guard Anthony Carter and swingman Renaldo Balkman, according to the Denver Post, and sent Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks' 2014 first-round pick and a pair of future second-round picks previously acquired from Golden State in the David Lee trade.
Mozgov's inclusion was a topic of strong debate within the Knicks' organization, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Several league executives believe the Knicks had come too far to make the 24-year-old Mozgov a deal-breaker. But a person with knowledge of the Knicks' thinking told Newsday that it was "not about who but how much" the team was giving up in the deal, especially with the New Jersey Nets fading out of the competition again.
Including Mozgov opens up a hole in the Knicks' lineup at center and leaves 6-10 Ronny Turiaf as the only player on the roster at that position. A second source said team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni were hesitant about adding Mozgov to the package.
The deal opens up a roster spot for the Knicks, and the team is expected to find a big man to provide depth at center. One possibility is 7-foot journeyman Earl Barron, who played well in D'Antoni's system as a D-League call-up late last season.
Mozgov's inclusion clearly was the key to completing the complicated trade, which had been an arduous process. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Nuggets have had recent conversations with the Nets regarding a piggyback deal off the trade with the Knicks in which the Nets would send two first-round picks to Denver for Mozgov and another one of the Knicks acquired in the trade for Anthony.
ESPN.com first reported Monday that the Nets and Nuggets had discussed flipping the Knicks' players for picks.
The Nets' presence in the Anthony trade talks mostly has been viewed as a means of creating a competitive environment and forcing the Knicks to pay a higher price.
Anthony was ready to move on after spending much of All-Star Weekend meeting with representatives of the Knicks and Nets and doing endless interviews about his future.
"Something has to happen," he said after Sunday's All-Star Game. "The end is here."