Coming into the season talk around the NBA was that Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony would end the season in a New York Knicks uniform. The thought was that the Knicks would be rebuilding and Melo would want to play alongside his good friend Amare Stoudemire.
Well, a bit over one-quarter through the season the Knicks (15-9) are one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, and the addition of Melo now isn't the slam dunk folks thought it would be over the summer.
If the Knicks were to trade for Melo they might do so at the expense of the chemistry New York has built this season. Whatever pieces the Nuggets (14-8) and Knicks decided to be fair market value for Anthony would certainly disrupt the flow of a team who is beating experts preseason predictions.
There is no debate that Melo would eventually better whatever team he ends up on, but if the Knicks are fighting for a first round home court series in the NBA playoffs, bringing the superstar over might not be what the doctor ordered.
As for Sunday's game, Melo is likely to play after sitting out the two previous games with a right knee injury. Though he is expected to play, trainers won't know for sure until right before tip. During his absence the Nuggets have gone 1-1, with a loss to the Boston Celtics and a win at the Toronto Raptors. For the road trip, which ends after this game versus New York, the Nuggets are 1-2.
Friday night's game against the Raptors saw George Karl win his 1000th career game, but it also saw Chauncey Billups and Al Harrington break out of personal slumps. This came after the Boston game where Ty Lawson emerged.
Besides Stoudemire's 26.1 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game, the Knicks also rely on team lead Raymond Felton and his 8.4 assists per game and 2.1 steals per game. Also expect Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler in the starting lineup for New York.
If the Nuggets can get all their pieces in line, and Melo can play, though early, the game should prove to be a good contest matching two teams with similar strength. If the tip-off time is too early, some of the Nuggets cogs regress or Melo can't play, expect New York to win handily.