NEW YORK -- Seven months after the wedding toast, the second piece of the Knicks' Big Three finally is in place.
Carmelo Anthony will be traded to the Knicks on Tuesday in a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets, multiple sources told Newsday Monday night. A deal was reached Monday night and was first reported by the Denver Post on its website.
Anthony could make his Knicks debut tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden against the Milwaukee Bucks. It is expected that he will sign a three-year, $65-million contract extension as part of the trade.
"I'm extremely happy for Carmelo," agent Leon Rose told Yahoo! Sports. "We are very appreciative to the Denver Nuggets' organization for their efforts in assisting Melo to get to New York. Melo is excited and looking forward to playing for the Knicks."
The Knicks' focus now shifts to the summer of 2012, when All-Star point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul are expected to opt out and become free agents. At Anthony's wedding in July, Paul made a toast to joining Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire in New York and forming "our own Big Three."
Stoudemire has looked forward to teaming with Anthony since he signed with the Knicks in July. "Obviously, we're friends," Stoudemire said in Los Angeles on Friday. "To team up with a player like Carmelo would be great . . . I think the combination of us two would be great. I think it would uplift the city with him coming to New York."
In the three-team, 12-player deal, the Knicks acquired Anthony, veteran guard Chauncey Billups, forward Shelden Williams, guard Anthony Carter and swingman Renaldo Balkman, according to the Denver Post, and sent Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks' 2014 first-round pick and a pair of future second-round picks previously acquired from Golden State in the David Lee trade.
The third team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, acquired Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry from the Knicks and sent Corey Brewer to the Knicks.
Mozgov's inclusion was a topic of strong debate within the Knicks' organization, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Several league executives believe the Knicks had come too far to make the 24-year-old Mozgov a deal-breaker. But a person with knowledge of the Knicks' thinking told Newsday that it was "not about who but how much" the team was giving up in the deal, especially with the New Jersey Nets fading out of the competition again.
Including Mozgov opens up a hole in the Knicks' lineup at center and leaves 6-10 Ronny Turiaf as the only player on the roster at that position. A second source said team president Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni were hesitant about adding Mozgov to the package.
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CAN THE LAKERS GET GOING AND HOST THE NBA FINALS, TOO?: The All-Star game was never supposed to be Kobe Bryant's highlight at Staples Center this season.
Not when his two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers were expected to have a shot at a third in a row. Even after LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, the Heat agreed with Michael Jordan that the Lakers were the favorites until somebody beat them in June.
These days, June basketball doesn't even look like a sure thing for the Lakers.
They stumbled into the All-Star break with three straight losses, capped by a defeat in Cleveland against a Cavaliers team they beat by 55 earlier in the season.
But nobody is counting Bryant's bunch out yet.
"They are the champions. We understand and know the second half of the season, they are going to play even better and when it comes time to win, they are going to be the team to beat," Wade said.
Wade's Heat might have the team to do it, and the Boston Celtics would love another shot at their biggest rivals after losing in seven games last June. But first, the Lakers have to prove they're the best in the West before they worry about who's tops in the East.
They are currently third in the conference, 8 1/2 games behind NBA-leading San Antonio and 2 1/2 back of second-place Dallas. But the Lakers looked shaky late last season before putting it together, and they're confident they can do it again.
"It has been like a lot of hot and cold this season, a lot of contrasts and looking for a level of consistency," All-Star forward Pau Gasol said. "I feel that we can do that."
Bryant won his fourth All-Star MVP award Sunday, scoring 37 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in the Western Conference's 148-143 victory over the East.
He looked poised for the stretch run, with a couple of soaring dunks, one over a chasing James, that showed there's plenty of bounce left in his sometimes aching legs.
Even if the Lakers get things figured out, the road to the NBA finals might go through San Antonio. With a 46-10 record and health they haven't enjoyed in recent years, the Spurs seem capable of winning a fifth title with Tim Duncan after they struggled just to reach the postseason in 2010.