Sam Amico’s NBA notes: Knicks should explore Carmelo trade

This is going to sound like an indictment of Carmelo Anthony, and that’s not the intention.

Anthony is a remarkable scorer and, yes, a winner.

But anyone who thinks the New York Knicks shouldn’t trade him has never heard of the Denver Nuggets.

The Knicks have basically been a non-factor with Anthony. Even when Amar’e Stoudemire was healthy they didn’t really scare anybody.

During the Anthony era, the best thing the Knicks have done is entertain. There’s something to be said for that, but it’s not exactly why they made the deal with the Nuggets in 2011.

Instead, the Knicks wanted to compete for a championship. After a 41-point home loss to the Boston Celtics, about the only thing they’re in contention for today is NBA’s Biggest Disaster.

Now, the Knicks say they aren’t gonna trade Anthony. Well why not?

It sure worked for the Nuggets. They sent Anthony to the Knicks at the 2010-11 trading deadline. The very next year, the Nuggets finished second in the Northwest Division. They did the same last season — and cruised to a franchise-best record (57-25) to boot.

Since trading Anthony, the Nuggets have been better than the Knicks, and more fun to watch, without the drama.

The Knicks? They’ve played OK lately, but after getting blasted by the Celtics, does it even matter? Things are only getting worse.

So they should trade Carmelo while they can.

As you know, Anthony can opt of his contract and become a free agent at season’s end. He’s indicated that is precisely what he’ll do. The Knicks run the risk of losing him for nothing.

He’ll also be 30 years old in May. His days of being a No. 1 option are coming to a close. Maybe not now, but in two or three short years.

League executive seem to think the Knicks could receive a handsome return for Anthony. Plenty of teams would be happy to rent him for the season to put people in the seats. Others could try to steal him for a playoff push. A deal, including one involving a third or fourth team, can always be made.

The Knicks could clear space under the salary-cap, keep an eye on the future, and maybe even improve the here and now. In the process, they could free themselves from any summer free-agency fuss.

The Nuggets already proved this can work.

It could work for the Knicks, too — provided management acts wisely. If not, barring a turnaround, the front office is probably gonna get blown up anyway.

Carmelo Anthony is not the source of the Knicks’ problems. But he could, and probably should, be part of the solution.

Kings ransom

Say this much about new Sacramento Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro: He’s trying.

Less than two weeks after obtaining forward Derrick Williams from the Minnesota Timberwolves (for forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute), the Kings nabbed forward Rudy Gay from the Toronto Raptors.

The Kings are sending guard Grievis Vasquez, swingman John Salmons and forwards Chuck Hayes and Patrick Patterson to the Raptors. Along with Gay, they’ll receive center Aaron Gray and forward Quincy Acy.

But Gay is the center of this deal. He and the Raptors were said to be at odds. The Raptors sure weren’t exactly winning a bunch with him.

It will be interesting to see Gay with the Kings, though. With younger players such as standout center DeMarcus Cousins and Williams, Gay provides a veteran presence and a shot-maker at crunch time. It also means Isaiah Thomas will move into the starting point guard spot, with rookie Ben McLemore joining him in the backcourt.

Mike Malone is highly respected as the coach, and suddenly, the Kings have something cool on which to build.

Bottom line: D’Alessandro has turned a dismal atmosphere into one with promise. And he’s done it in a short amount of time while managing to keep Cousins on the roster.

Better days, it finally seems, are looming for the Kings. It ought to be fun getting there, too.

Double Dribbles

• Don’t look now, but here come the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki is still Dirk Nowitzki, and Monta Ellis is doing everything the Mavs hoped to get from O.J. Mayo (now with the Milwaukee Bucks) last season. Ellis even hit a game-winner at the buzzer to beat the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers on the Blazers’ home floor. The Mavs are recent champions who understand what it takes and have some pieces. Don’t rule them out.

• The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the teams linked to Houston Rockets center Omer Asik, who reportedly is about to be moved. One league executive told FOX Sports Ohio not to rule out the Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks, either.

• The Rockets would certainly have to take back salary in any deal involving Asik (two years at more than $21 million), but it’s pretty obvious they’d like a draft pick or two as well.

• Multiple league sources have said the Oklahoma City Thunder are willing to deal second-year guard Jeremy Lamb if they can find a more experienced (and consistent) player to come off the bench. Lamb has already been traded once — from the Rockets as part of the James Harden deal before last season.

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO