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Winderman: ‘Melo trade means Knicks now target Chris Paul, Dwight Howard

Feb 21, 2011, 11:31 PM EDT

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Don’t even think about exhaling.

The trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks does not, finally, put the focus back on the court.

Not in today’s NBA, or, more specifically, in tomorrow’s NBA.

Think these past months were lessons in abject cruelty in Denver?

Then consider what now follows in Orlando and New Orleans.

While pundits no doubt will offer their instant analysis on this mega-Melo monstrosity (we’ll offer our kudos here to Denver for maximizing the possibilities), this deal, at least from a Knicks outlook, deserves an incomplete, nothing more.

The make-or-break portion of this trade from a New York perspective comes down the road, with the potential 2012 free agency of both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Through this latest machination, and through a Chauncey Billups contract that has one remaining year, the Knicks should be positioned to make runs at Paul and Howard just over a year from now.

Where the Anthony trade now most resonates is in New Orleans and Orlando. The Knicks are coming for their stars next.

And when Paul and Howard reflect on what currently is alongside, and then look at the possibilities with Stoudemire and Anthony, how can their wanderlust clocks not start ticking a bit faster?

Perhaps the Knicks capitulated to such a severe degree with their trade package because they feared the introduction of a “franchise” tag in a new NBA collective-bargaining agreement, one that could have kept Carmelo out of their free agency clutches.

But such a franchise tag ultimately could cost the opportunity for a follow-up move for Paul and Howard.

No, for the Knicks — after absolutely ravaging a playoff roster — to make sense of this move, it means starting to put the moves on Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. (And who is to say the two weren’t having dinner at Isiah Thomas’ South Beach place on Monday night?)

For Denver, the nightmare is over.

For Orlando and New Orleans, it seemingly only is beginning.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

  1. hail2tharedskins - Feb 22, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    Chris Paul will join the Knicks.
    Dwight Howard will end up in LA.

  2. williamfreshington - Feb 22, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Don’t forget about Deron Williams…who will also be dismissing is player option in a year or so…What I’m more interested in is how this trade, and the assumption of other similar trades in the near future, will effect CBA negotiations. Denver just became the next team in an average market that will not have a good product over the next couple of seasons atleast. New Orleans and Utah are next inline, that’s alot of crapiness for a little upside IMO…we shall see

  3. tubal22 - Feb 22, 2011 at 1:28 AM

    Marbury and Iverson will both work for cheap, and will make an AWESOME backcourt.

    I think they could easily all 4 average 20-0-0 seasons.

  4. redbear18 - Feb 22, 2011 at 7:37 AM

    No way Dwight Howard goes to L.A. He wants to go to a team with a good core of young players where he can be the star, not a storied franchise with the best player in the game who’s window for another title is declining. I can see him going to the other L.A., after they draft one of this year’s college stars to complement Blake Griffin. Maybe Jimmer Fredette or Kemba Walker? I would love to see that lineup in Staples Center.

    • denverhoopdreams - Feb 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      I always figured that Marc Morris would be a good fit at the 2 for the Clippers. IDK where his brother would go.

  5. icu84bs - Feb 22, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Players move every year. The hype and over the top coverage about these players is the main problem, not player movement. Wilt, Kareem, Shaq, K.G. and even Michael Jordan (these are some of the top HOF NBA players of all time) went to play with other teams in previous decades with a lot less press(ure). The mass media get more stupid each day with each forum / columnist trying to out scream their neighbor. The shame is, there is no end to this tomfoolery, the best we can hope for is ‘No Comment’ from everybody until the press get bored and find something else to blow out of proportion. Cheers.

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