DENVER - B
The reason Denver got as much value as they did was mostly due to Carmelo Anthony's greed and the new CBA playing largely in Denver's favor. Everyone knew that Anthony was only interested in signing an extention to play for the Knicks. No team was willing to give up very much in order to rent Melo for half the season. So if Anthony was really concerned about winning, which he claimed, he would have waited for the offseason and kept the nucleus in NY and also saved cap space. But the Nuggets got 5 pieces in return because of Melos greed and the Knicks fear that he would sign the extention with NJ or to stay in Denver. Losing Billups hurts as well, but as they begin rebuilding he was certainly not in their future plans.
NEW YORK - D
The Knicks panicked because of a great fear that Carmelo would take the extention in NJ or Denver when the time came. After 3 years of waiting for LeBron and Wade and Joe Johnson and others, the Knicks felt like they had no choice but to make the move now instead of waiting for the offseason. The fan pressure in New York was very intense and management was simply not going to take the risk that Carmelo would not make it to free agency. The "D" grade is not because they gave up too much (Gallinari, Felton, Chandler are nice players, certainly not stars), but its because they didnt have to give up anything and that Anthony is extremely overrated. In 2 games Anthony has taken 47 shots to go with 4 assists, not to mention his shotty defense and cocky arrogant court presence. The "Superstar" Anthony has made it out of the 1st round once and has the 2nd worst playoff winning percentage of any active player (Najera). New York had better get used to the 2 best descriptions of Anthony's offense; Black Hole and Volume Shooter (Hubie Brown voice). Having said that, Billups is an underrated piece going East. The guy is a leader and still has something left in the tank.
UTAH- Deron Williams
NEW JERSEY- Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, 2 1st Round Picks
UTAH - C
Utah made this deal for a few reasons. They were looking to rebuild, and they didnt want to get into the situation that Denver was in where Williams could dictate where he wanted to go and force Utah's front office to take less than market value next season. The Jazz are in transition and in full rebuild mode now. From last season they have lost Boozer, Wes Matthews, Korver, and Brewer. This season has been more of the same with Okur still injured, the legendary Coach Sloan hanging it up and now with All-NBA guard Williams heading East, the Jazz look to be ready to start over completely. Utah did get some nice pieces back; Harris is a servicable guard that probably won't be around for the rebuild, and Favors was the 3rd pick last season and has tremendous upside. Also 2 first round picks that Utah will use to reload a young roster.
Side Note- Just how much does this trade have to do with Utah ready to turn over the franchise to Jimmer?
NEW JERSEY- B+
The idea that New Jersey had to settle for Williams because they lost out on Anthony is laughable. Williams was by far the best player traded at the deadline. Williams is considered one of the top 3 PG's in the NBA. He makes his teammates better and competes on the defensive end, two things no one ever said about Carmelo. The concern with trading for Williams is that his contract expires at the end of 2012, and unlike Melo, CP3 and Dwight Howard, he hasnt publicly expressed where he would like to play. The Nets risk trading their future for nothing, or at best being forced to re-trade Williams next season if he makes it clear he wont re-sign. Having said that, there is no doubt it was worth the risk. Its clear Jersey didnt see Favors as their franchise player and Harris is a solid starter, but not a top-3 player on a contender. So it basically comes down to whether the Nets put enough pieces around Williams in the next year and half to convince him to stay.