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With Deron Williams or Chris Paul, Knicks Could Contend with Miami Heat

The trade we’d all been waiting for and held hostage by since the summer — Carmelo Anthony’s departure to New York — finally went through on Monday night. Melo will join fellow All-Star Amare Stoudemire on the Knicks, and he’ll be accompanied by Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams and Anthony Carter. Even though the Knicks gave up Danilo Gallinari, Ray Felton, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov in the deal, they’re getting back a legitimate superstar who had the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago. Though critics will say the Knicks now lack depth, I’ll argue that one star like Carmelo Anthony is worth a dozen moderate players like Gallinari, Felton, and Chandler, so I like obviously like the trade for the Knicks.

The Knicks may not click instantly, and they’re not a championship-ready team. Pairing Melo with Amare — two of the biggest offensive ballhogs in the game (and I don’t say that in a negative way because they’re both fantastic players) — will be tricky. However, I’ve always believed the more good players you put together, the better you’ll be, so I like New York’s chances for the future.

The question is can they be a title contending team?

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Source: Carmelo Anthony Traded to the New York Knicks

Just when it looked like the New Jersey Nets were a lock to acquire Carmelo Anthony in the blockbuster trade of the year, the New York Knicks swept in and made the Nuggets an offer worth accepting.  Sources told the Denver Post on Monday night that an Anthony to New York is completed.  Here is the framework of the alleged deal:

Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman.
Nuggets get: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks’ 2014 first-round pick, two future Warriors’ second round picks, and $3 million in cash.

New York was said to be stern with its initial offer, which didn’t include Mozgov, either of the Warriors’ picks, or cash.  Obviously the Knicks knew they had to make the deal and they weren’t about to lose it over a couple of late draft picks.

If reports of New Jersey’s offer were accurate, we have to assume the deal fell through because Anthony had no interest in playing for the Nets.  The trade included Derrick Favors and four first-round picks and was said to be contingent upon Anthony agreeing to a contract extension, which obviously didn’t happen.  He also referred to Mikhail Prokhorov as “that guy” and denied that there was any meeting set to take place between he and Nets team executives.

Meanwhile, Amare Stoudemire and Anthony have accomplished two-thirds of their goal.  At Carmelo’s wedding over the summer, the two reportedly discussed forming their own Big 3 with Chris Paul in the future.  The third piece could end up being Deron Williams, but there is no denying the Anthony deal makes the Knicks immediate contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Better 2011 Slam Dunk Competition Dunk: Blake Griffin or JaVale McGee?

Everyone expected Blake Griffin to win the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, so it came as no surprise when he was given the crown. When you can do things like this, this, this, and this, it kind of makes you an easy favorite.  Earlier, we showed you a compilation of all the dunks from Saturday night.  Griffin may have had the better dunk when it mattered in the final round, but there are a lot of people — myself included — who thought JaVale McGee had the dunk of the night.  Maybe he should have saved it for the last round rather than using it in the first.  In any event, let’s look at the two slams to determine which was better.

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Video: Every Dunk from the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

If you weren’t watching the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night, I can’t say I blame you. Personally, the competition has become too much about gimmicks and less about actual skill to keep my interest. There were, however, a few sights worth seeing. Blake Griffin’s dunk over the car (even if it was only over the hood) was impressive, but the most difficult dunk of the night was JaVale McGee throwing down two slams at once on 13-foot hoops. McGee should have won the contest, but Blake Griffin was such a heavy favorite that the judges undoubtedly felt pressure to make him the winner.  Check out the video of all the dunks from the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, courtesy of YouTube user roengsakcartwright:

Anyone out there not think McGee got robbed?  Better yet, does anyone care?

NBA All-Star Game 2011 Red Carpet Watch

The 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles held true to the city in which it took place, as the players hit the red carpet with their best Hollywood outfits on. Chris Bosh and LeBron James were sporting softer color suits and sun glasses, while the other member of Miami’s Bermuda Triangle, Dwyane Wade, was representing with a skinny tie.

The other top team in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics, put their four stars in the game. Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen all went with the secret service look, while Kevin Garnett went sans shades:

Apparently the non-dirty player didn’t get the memo. Here are pics of all the other All-Stars and celebs on the red carpet at Staples Center:

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NBA Slam Dunk Contest: Blake Griffin and DeMar DeRozan Are the Easy Favorites

Blake Griffin gave NBA fans a collective boner when he answered our prayers by saying he would join the Slam Dunk Contest. As if that wasn’t good enough, the NBA seemed to listen to our other request — to replace point guard Brandon Jennings in the event. Jennings actually was injured, but the league did well to name DeMar DeRozan the replacement because that kid can get up.

Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin is the easy favorite in the contest, checking in at 1:3 odds to win it. He had a spectacular alley-oop in the Rookie Challenge on Friday, and he’s been an individual nightly highlight show. There was his alley-oop over Kyle Korver, and then his reverse alley-oop during a game. But my favorite dunk of his this year was the one where he tea-bagged Timofey Mozgov:

DeMar DeRozan is a second-year forward for the Toronto Raptors. He was their first-round pick in 2009, selected 9th overall. Last year he won the first ever dunk-in for the contest, beating out Eric Gordon. He finished second to Nate Robinson last year, but he was the only player to record a perfect score in the contest. His odds to win it are 3:1. It’s easy to see why he’s in competition to win it — he took the 2008 McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest with jams like this:

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Kevin Garnett Denies He Is a Dirty Player

After toiling in Minnesota for 12 largely unsuccessful season, Kevin Garnett became somewhat of a sympathetic figure. He made 10 All-Star games, won an MVP award, but lost in the first round of the playoffs seven years in a row. Finally Minnesota freed him with a trade to Boston where he teamed up with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. They went out and immediately put together the best record in the league and won a championship.

Once they started winning, people no longer felt badly for KG and they started to see him for what he was — one of the league’s biggest trash-talkers, dirty players, and the quintessential love him or hate him player.

Garnett is a polarizing figure. He plays hard, gives his all, and helps his team win, and fans of his team love him. But he also plays head games, uses questionable veteran tactics, and is not very sportsmanlike. For those reasons, opposing fans disgust him.

Regardless of how you feel about Garnett, you have to respect how hard he plays and how badly he wants to win. Because of all that, he says his team loves him and he’s not a dirty player.

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