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Six(or more) Degrees Of UNC

Let's count the number of UNC connections, direct or otherwise, in the blockbuster NBA trade of Carmelo Anthony from Denver to New York.

Anthony, as you recall, played one season in college at Syracuse leading the Orangemen to the NCAA title in 2003 defeating Kansas. It was after that game, Roy Williams(1) dropped the infamous "I don't give a sh*t about North Carolina right now" to CBS reporter Bonnie Bernstein after the latter kept asking Roy about the open UNC coaching job. We all know what happened next in that story. Anyway.

Among the players involved with the trade was Raymond Felton(2) who is being sent to Denver where no one expects him to stay since the Nuggets will likely try to move him, possibly to New Jersey. Felton, having left Charlotte when it was clear Larry Brown(3) and I suppose owner Michael Jordan(4) did not want him, was having possibly his best season in the NBA in New York. Felton had a bona fide All-Star to feed the ball to in the form of Amare Stoudemire and was playing a more uptempo offense under head coach Mike D'Antoni. That obviously did not matter as the Knicks were more than willing to part company with Felton. In return the Knicks will get a passel of players including Chauncey Billups who played college ball at Colorado. Billups was on the team that UNC beat in the 2nd round of the 1997 NCAA Tournament to give Dean Smith(5) his 877th win making him the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history. As for Denver, this bodes well for 2009 ACC POY Ty Lawson(6) who had been playing behind Billups. Now, I would assume Nuggets head coach George Karl(7) will make Lawson the starting PG.

Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski noted in a column over the weekend that current Florida International head coach and former Knicks executive Isiah Thomas who led Indiana to the NCAA title over UNC(8) in 1981, was apparently the driving force behind the trade for Anthony. That means current Knicks president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh(9) had basically been undercut by owner James Dolan who chose to listen to Thomas instead. This all despite the fact Walsh cleaned up the mess left by Thomas and had the team over .500 this season after years of sheer futility. Clearly Thomas hates UNC with every fiber of his being since he has been screwing the UNC family since 1981.

Oh and one more thing. Another player involved in the trade was former Duke player Shelden Williams who was with Denver and now on his way to New York. Williams was ritually abused by both Sean May(10) and Tyler Hansbrough(11) while he was at Duke. Doesn't sound like much has changed for him since.