Save Your Goodbyes for Carmelo.
Twitter almost exploded about 30 minutes ago when a relatively unknown Denver reporter named Lionel Bienvenu tweeted from the DenverChannel twitter account that the Nets & Nuggets had agreed in principal to trade the Nuggets star, pending Carmelo signs the contract extension that’s been on the table for months.
It took just minutes but the twitter army of NBA bloggers and reports crushed that rumor.
What I don’t really understand, and Doug tweeted this earlier tonight on our own twitter account, ”why does Melo want to play for another team again?”
Not just for New Jersey or even for the Knicks but for anyone?
The Denver Nuggets aren’t sitting on top of the world with a 15-9 record but they are certainly a better team than the Nets. Currently in 6th place out West, they are just 2 1/2 games behind the 2-time defending champions. Forget NJ for a moment, let’s look at NY Knicks, Melo’s top choice. The Denver Nuggets are probably a better team than the Knicks, also. Especially if New York would have to gut their roster to trade for Carmelo.
Currently these Nuggets boast quality wins over Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, LA Lakers and Orlando Magic. They also had narrow defeats to Dallas (by 1), New York (by 2) and Chicago (by 2). Every one of those teams are playoff teams this year and a couple of them are championship hopefuls.
New York’s (16-9) two biggest wins came over the Bulls (sans Boozer) and the Nuggets (by 2 including a controversial last second foul). Without even checking the rosters, if I had to bet on one of these teams, I’d bet on Denver.
As for the Nets, at a putrid 6-19, they would have to ship off competent pieces just to acquire Melo. Even with the move to Brooklyn, they would still be the little brother in the Big Apple. There is absolutely nothing that could or should interest Carmelo in the Nets.
Carmelo also has to look at the logistics of the NBA. The great migration has begun. Everyone, it seems, has moved out of the Western Conference. Outside of Kevin Durant and an aging Kobe Bryant, who’s left out West?
Chris Paul? CP is going to bolt for the East coast soon as free agency begins in 2012.
Brandon Roy? As much as it pains me to pen this sentence, Brandon Roy might not even be in the NBA in 2 years due to his injuries.
Blake Griffin? As amazing as Quake has been, we are talking about the Clippers here. THE CLIPPERS!
Duncan, Dirk, Yao? The three giants in Texas are all on the last leg of their NBA careers. In a couple of years, they will be done. And in Yao’s case, that might be sooner than we think.
Deron Williams? Next to Durant, Deron is going to be the second best player left out West. Certainly better than battling the three-headed serpent of South Beach for the next decade.
As for the money, Melo might be leaving somewhere between $20 and $40 million on the table if he doesn’t sign the extension before the deadline, depending on how much Stern cuts into the CBA. If he just takes Denver’s offer and opts to stay with the Nuggets, he won’t have to worry about the supposed 33% salary cut that’s coming with the next CBA. Melo is in a unique situation because he can esentially control where he goes this year. While he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, like Kobe Bryant, most teams won’t touch him without the extension and Carmelo won’t sign unless he approves of the deal and team in the transaction. Outside of a team looking for a hired gun for the rest of this season, Melo will ultimately decide where he ends up next season, through a trade or via free agency.
For me, New Jersey makes no sense. If not Denver, his second best option would be to wait for free agency or hope that a third team with more appeal, like Orlando, emerges late and steals Melo from the Rockies. If Anthony does forgo signing the extension and waits for the summer of 2011 to find a home, New York will have cap space and a full roster. Sure Anthony would be leaving gobs of money on the table. We still aren’t sure what that sum would be until the CBA meetings are finished next summer. The amount might be a disturbing $20 to $40 million. If he ends up in New York, he can possibly make up part of that with endorsements that would otherwise not have been there with another team.
For now, Carmelo’s camp has been rather quite. Down playing all trade rumors and publicly acknowledging that Denver is making strides in the right direction. They have, for the most part, said and done all the right things.
Carmelo and his team know that they hold all the bargaining chips and it won’t be time to say goodbye to Carmelo until he pushes it all in.