There aren’t many teams in the NBA that won’t be affected by the New York Knicks’ acquisition of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
Be it through ensuing trades, future matchups or how a team finishes this season, the impact of Anthony’s move will be felt all over the league. It could be good news for the Phoenix Suns, a team fighting to earn one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
With a revamped roster and the departure of a top-five kind of player, it’s not unreasonable to think the Nuggets may need some time to adjust, possibly costing them a playoff spot. At 32-25, they may have to adjust quickly, something Suns coach Alvin Gentry thinks they’ll accomplish.
“They’re still going to be a really good basketball team,” Gentry said of the Nuggets after Tuesday’s practice at US Airways Center. “I just think they’ve got good players and George (Karl) does such a good job there. I don’t see them struggling that much. I really don’t.”
Gentry may not think the Nuggets will struggle much, but he does, like any coach would, hope.
“You don’t wish ill will on anyone, but I would like to see them lose as many games as they could,” Gentry said before laughing when it was suggested that such a thought might be considered “ill will.”
Suns point guard Steve Nash also didn’t express much belief that the Nuggets will simply fade, but seemed to think it may create an opportunity.
“I guess it’s not the worst thing that could happen to us,” Nash said. “They’ve (Denver) got a lot of really good players and good pieces. It usually takes a team some time, but we’ll see.”
Of course, all the media in attendance for the Suns’ first practice after the All-Star break wanted to know Gentry’s opinion of the trade, particularly since it involved former Suns superstar Amare Stoudemire’s new team. Here’s what he had to say:
I think it was good for both teams in the end. Denver gets a lot of really good, solid players. Carmelo goes where he wants to. He and Amare playing together and you add Chauncey Billups to to mix, all of a sudden they’re a really good basketball team that could create some real havoc in the East. I wouldn’t want to line up and play them in a seven-game series, especially when Carmelo gets right and fits in, which I don’t think he’s going to have any problem doing. I think they’ll be fine. Somebody asked ‘Can Amare and ‘Melo play together?’ Of course they can.
While the blockbuster trade may be the talk of the league (as it has been for months now…), Nash was more interested in talking about the Suns’ future than the Knicks’ or Nuggets’.
With 28 games remaining for the Suns, Nash is content to focus only on what his team can control.
“I don’t think we need to worry about anybody else,” Nash said. “We need to worry about ourselves and try to find a way to win a bunch of these 28 games. We’re just worried about coming out and being prepared every night and competing.”
The Suns won’t see the Knicks again this season, as they already split the season series 1-1, but they will see the new-look Nuggets on March 10.
With the Anthony trade finally getting done, the dominos have started to fall around the NBA. ESPN’s Chris Broussard tweeted the following Tuesday evening in regards to the Houston Rockets’ interest in Suns center Marcin Gortat:
Houston covets 3 big men: Gortat, Varejao and Nene. Unlikely to get any if them.