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The Downbeat - 22 February 2011 - #431 - The Carmeloless Edition

   It's finally over.  Carmelo Anthony is a Knick.  The impact on the Jazz is not light.  First off, with Carmelo, Billups, and a couple of role players out of Denver, they're a different team now.  The imports are Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mazgov, and Raymond Felton.  

So your new starting lineup for the Nuggets is Ty Lawson, Gallinari, Afflalo, Chandler, and Nene.  That's not a bad group of players but you have to wonder how the new teammates will mesh and what impact that will have on them down the stretch.  As it stands now, they're a game ahead of the Jazz with 25 games left for both teams.

Maybe they form a synergy never before seen in the NBA and they go on a remarkable and inspired run.  They could also finish things out at .500 which may be enough to hold on to one of the final spots.  Hopefully though, they struggle and the Jazz turn it on just enough to not only hold down one of the final spots but move up a bit.

And Denver may not be done dealing.

The Jazz will play Denver two more times at home so they control their own fate at this point.

  Of course now that Melo's situation is settled, all the national talk turns to the summer of 2012 when Deron, Paul, and Howard can be free agents.  I'm already tired of the Deron to New York talk like it's a foregone conclusion.  Like I was mentioning to someone on twitter, I don't think Deron knows for sure what he's going to do so I don't know how we're supposed to know.  I'm guessing that he won't know for sure until the new CBA is finished.  I believe that's one of the big reasons he went as the player's rep to LA to get some first-hand knowledge of the situation.

What the Melo trade does though is weaken New York's ability to bring in any one of those marquee players.  The only trade chips they'll have is Landry Fields and Billups' expiring deal.  If they wait and just sign the players outright as free-agents, the player will likely have to take a huge pay cut in order to sign.  Dwyer spells it out,

What we do know now is that Anthony and Stoudemire will make about 80 percent of New York's cap-allowed payroll following this summer's lockout, and Billups won't help. Walsh put together a plan for the summer of 2012, and as it stands the Knicks will have just Stoudemire and Anthony on the books, but with those two set to make about $40 million combined on a salary cap that might only be around $48 million or so, what's the point?

And who's the point guard? Chris Paul? Because he liked Isiah, when he was in diapers? Come on.

Everything will still hinge on the new CBA and the restrictions and caps  that it will bring.  Just know that the speculation is only going to get worse.  I only hope that it's not self-inflicted.

  Siler speculated last night on twitter whether the Nets would pursue AK now that they've lost out on Melo.  I love AK, but he's not even a consolation prize after losing out on LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Amar'e, and Melo.

As Siler stated, the Jazz would get significant savings by trading AK for Troy Murphy plus filler contracts to get the salaries close enough.  The only trade we could get to go through using players on the Nets likely to be traded (expiring deals) was this one.  Then you would have to waive Uzoh to get to the 15-player limit.

I'm sure there have been discussions but I don't know how much interest there is on either side.

  Looking ahead to the next week's games

Jazz:  @DAL, @IND, @DET, BOS
Grizz:  @DEN, @MIN, SAC, @SAS
Nuggs: MEM, BOS, @POR, ATL
Hornets: LAC, @MIN, HOU
Blazers: LAL, DEN, ATL

The Jazz will be favored in 2 of those games though I don't know if that matters.  Memphis is probably favored in all but the Spurs game.  Denver is going to be hard to figure out but that's a rough stretch for them even before the trade.  The Hornets probably have the easiest schedule coming up.  Portland is at home for all of their games, all of which are winnable.

The Jazz should be able to leap Denver this week at least.  Starting out against Dallas in Dallas isn't a good spot to start though.

If everyone save Memo is healthy going forward as is being reported (and we have a pic of you AK!), then this next week or two will let us know what kind of team we have.

Corbin has also been watching tape over the break so we'll see what changes, if any, he will make to the team.

   This has to be the most surprising news from the All-star break.  From the Trib:

"He was in Illinois," Corbin said. "He had watched some of our games and thought things were coming along. He said, ‘Hang in there.' ... He thought the guys were executing and doing a pretty good job."

Sloan owns a farm near McLeansboro, Ill.

Said Corbin: "I was happy to hear he was doing well. He said he was on a tractor out in the field, it was 70-some degrees and it was the best day he'd seen in a long time. So he's getting better."

Okay, so maybe the part about the tractor wasn't a surprise but that he was watching the games was.