Trading Carmelo Anthony

When reports surfaced that Chris Paul was going to demand a trade Ryan Schwan at Hornets 247 solicited offers from the TrueHoop Network of bloggers to see what kind of a haul the Hornets could hope to receive for Paul.

With similar rumors floating around regarding the future of Carmelo Anthony, I thought it would be interesting, educational and kind of fun in a morbid way to see what kind of value Carmelo possessed in the eyes of the network.

Below are trades that were sent to me from my TrueHoop network colleagues. I asked them to consider the potential for Carmelo remaining with their team after the season and consider that when crafting their proposals.

The offers are in and I have broken them down into the categories of “Win Now,” “Win Later,” “The Chosen Ones” and trades I had hoped to see ranked in order from don’t call us, we’ll call you to ummm, that’s nice!

Win now:

Bret LaGree, Hoopinion

Denver Receives: Joe Johnson

Comment from Bret: Could not be consummated until December 15.

Joe Johnson is a fine player and under the circumstances based on talent alone he is not a terrible return for Carmelo. However, once you factor in his brand spanking new max contract this trade would probably cause me to lose the handful of marbles I have left. I will pass on this offer and do so with gusto.

Del, WarriorsWorld

Denver Receives: Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis

The Warriors would love to unload these two contracts and with the reality Carmelo would be a one year renal, why would they offer anything else. While the talent is there, the fit and financial benefit is not. The Nuggets taking on almost $3 million in salary this season and both contracts have four more seasons on them. Thanks, but no thanks.

Matt Moore, Hardwood Paroxysm and a multitude of other blogs

Denver Receives: Rudy Gay, Mike Conley and a first round pick plus some under the table benefits (yes, Matt promised brownies and who does not like brownies?)

This trade would be very difficult to complete based on Rudy Gay’s Base Year Compensation status. There would probably have to be a third team involved. The fact that it is not a legal transaction is fine with me, I am sure Matt makes some killer brownies, but they would have to be pretty darn good to convince me to take on Gay’s new deal. However, at least Gay is young enough that there is hope for improvement. Plus he is a swingman who could step in and score right away which would lessen the blow of losing Carmelo.

Kyle Weide, Truth About It

Denver Receives: Gilbert Arenas, Andre Blatch and two first round picks

This trade would require the Nuggets to take on an additional $4 million in salary and the requisite luxury tax payment to match. Arenas and Blatche are both very talented, but obviously there are issues outside their abilities on the court that make this deal unpalatable.Plus Gilbert’s massive contract would prove to be an anchor at the very time the Nuggets are about to get out from under Kenyon Martin’s massive deal. The draft picks are a nice sweetener as the 2011 pick could hold some value if John Wall proves to struggle in his rookie campaign.

Bret LaGree, Hoopinion

Denver Receives: Josh Smith and Marvin Williams

Comment from Bret: Right now, the best the Hawks could offer for Anthony would be Josh Smith and Marvin Williams. Feel free to disabuse me of the notion that that’s a pretty good offer for the Nuggets. Even though Anthony would mitigate the lack of a backup 3, I’m not convinced it would drastically improve the Hawks (much as I like Zaza Pachulia as the third big man in the rotation, he shouldn’t be asked to play 30 or 35 minutes a night) in the short term. In future years, perhaps prolonged, immediate exposure to Josh Powell or Jason Collins in the rotation might convince the front office/ownership of the value of filling out the roster with guys who can play basketball.

Bret does better with this offer than his offering of Joe Johnson. Josh Smith is a very talented player and I could get behind seeing him in Denver, but ultimately the four years and over $30 million owed to Williams is a difficult pill to swallow.

Brett Hainline, Queen City Hoops

Denver Receives: Gerald Wallace, Dampier, two future first round picks (probably not until 2014)

Comment from Brett: Since I can’t try any permutations of this in the trade machine until Dampier is eligible to included in multi-player deals again (hurry up mid-September), I’m not going to try and match salaries.  Further blocking the Cats from consideration – I don’t really see any horrible contracts for the Nuggets to foist onto them as part of a deal – long term deals that overpay players are a requirement for the Cats in any trade.

I fiddled with this deal a little bit, but Brett did offer Wallace, Dampier, Mohammed and a first round pick of two for Melo and whoever else made the salaries work. A triumvirate of Dampier, Mohammed and Wallace adds up to just over $30 million. While the additional salary cap relief from Mohammed’s expiring $6.8 million deal is nice, the Nuggets do not have the contracts to make it work. Considering this would be a win now trade for the Nuggets with Wallace stepping into Carmelo’s spot it would not make sense for the Nuggets to try to dump a contract such as Birdman’s in exchange for Mohammed’s expiring deal.

Wallace is a great defender and it would be interesting to see how adding a key cog from the team that finished tied for first in the NBA in defensive efficiency could help Denver focus a little more effort and intensity on that end of the court. Add in Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract and the Nuggets get a quality swingman and financial relief to boot. Add in the first round picks and I believe this is the best of the “Win Now” options for the Nuggets. The problem is Charlotte is not exactly the big market Carmelo is looking for and despite the fact the Bobcats’ owner is the man whose name adorns Carmelo’s line of sneakers I doubt Melo would agree to sign there long term and as a result I also doubt the Bobcats would offer Wallace in exchange for one year of Carmelo.

Win Later:

Carey Smith, Philadunkia

Denver Receives: Lou Williams, Thad Young, Andres Nocioni and Willie Green

The 76ers are not on Melo’s theoretical list so why would the Sixers give up anything for him?Either that or Carey really does not like Carmelo.

Ryan Schwan, Hornets 247

Denver Receives: Darius Songaila, Peja Stojakoic, Marcus Thornton

Comment from Ryan: [Thornton is included] provided he [Melo] does an extend-and-trade.  If no extension, Thornton is replaced in the deal by next year’s 1st round pick.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to take care of all the blood pouring from my fingertips after putting Thornton into a trade offer.

This trade gives the Nuggets some significant cap relief and a young offensive minded shooting guard who could make a nice duo with Arron Afflalo, that is not much to hang out hats on though. At least Melo gets to play with his buddy Chris Paul.

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered

Denver Receives: Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye and a lottery protected first round pick

Prince is a decent player, but I am not sure how Stuckey would fit in Denver and Daye is a long way from contributing. If the first round pick was not lottery protected this trade would be more appealing, but it is difficult to fault Dan for not making a better offer when there is no chance Carmelo stays in Detroit after this season.

Jeremy Schmidt, Bucksetball

Denver Receives: Michal Redd, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders and a first round pick

From a talent standpoint, this is a very good trade. I really like Ilyasova and Larry Sanders is a very good prospect as well. The problem is Denver would have to take on over $5 million in salary as well as an equal amount in luxury tax. In order for this deal to be palatable I would have to add Birdman make the salaries match and that is not a good reason to haphazardly insert a talented player into a trade.

DJ Foster, ClipperBlog

Denver Receives: Tayshaun Prince, DeAndre Jordan, Austin Daye and unprotected Minnesota first round pick via Los Angeles

Comment from D.J.: Might be a tough sell for Detroit, but I think the Nuggets would listen.The Pistons would also receive a second round pick from the Clippers.

This is a more complex and more enticing version of Dan’s proposal above. The Nuggets get Prince and Daye, plus a solid young big in DeAndre Jordan, but the kicker is that unprotected first rounder from Minnesota. Boy would I like to get a hold of something that the value is directly proportional to the incompetence of David Kahn.

D.J. Forster, ClipperBlog

Denver Receives: Gerald Wallace, DeAndre Jordan, Nazr Mohammed, Minnesota pick

Comment from D.J.: I think Charlotte does it (they desperately need a center and a scorer and Larry Brown wants a veteran point guard) and I think Denver does it because Gerald Wallace is freaking awesome and that Minnesota pick is going to be a good one. Nazr is just another expiring deal to free up some more cash as well.

Of course none of this really matters, because Carmelo isn’t agreeing to a long-term deal if he knows he’s getting shipped to the Clippers. But it was fun anyway.

I never would have guessed heading into this little exercise I would be enticed by Gerald Wallace. This should probably qualify under the win now tag as Wallace is involved, but the fact that the aforementioned T-Wolves is involved sets the Nuggets up nicely for both the present and future. Of course D.J. has to spoil our fun with a reality check about Melo running from the Clippers like a chaste young lady would flee the bloggers of the TrueHoop Network.

Win Never:

This trade deserves its very own category.

Carey Smith, Philadunkia

Denver Receives: Elton Brand

Yes Carey expects scoffing and laughter at this unfulfilling idea and I am not going to waste my time whipping up a trade machine image for it.

The Chosen Few:

All of those offers were a mere prelude to the main course. Carmelo is rumored to be interested in Houston, Orlando, New Jersey and New York. It is highly unlikely any team that is not guaranteed Carmelo will sign an extension will top an offer by these four teams. There are some very intriguing possibilities

Eddy Rivera, MagicBasketball

Comment from Eddy: The Magic would be willing to trade anyone not named Dwight Howard. Strictly from an assets perspective, I think Orlando would be able to give the Nuggets a variety of trade packages depending on what they’re looking for in return. At this point, Otis Smith and the rest of the organization is “all-in” when it comes to a trade of this magnitude.

Nice! A blank check! I like it. Orlando cannot deliver the Nuggets a talented young blue chip prospect or high draft picks so the deal would have to deliver future financial flexibility along with not sacrificing the 2010-11 season. Here is what I came up with:

Denver Receives: Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Daniel Orton, Mickeal Pietrus, a first round pick and $2 million

Denver is giving up quite a bit in this deal, and for all his faults it pains me to include J.R. in this trade, but it manages to at least help the team remain relevant with Carter theoretically able to help fill 80% of what Melo did offensively. Birdman moves on, but I like the pairing of Gortat and Nene with Orton providing some potential for the future.

It also sets them up to have plenty of financial flexibility heading into the new CBA. The contract of the French Michael Jordan, more commonly known as Mickael Pietrus,expires after the upcoming season and Carter can be bought out for less than $4 million prior to 2011-12.

As much as this trade seems to make sense, it does not make the Nuggets better for this season, nor does it set them up with assets to help rebuild in the future. Gortat is solid, but brings a hefty price tag for a player who has yet to play 20 minutes a game in his career. The Nuggets would probably be better off hanging on to Melo and getting what they could for a sign and trade when he leaves.  I wold have liked to put Ryan Anderson into the deal, but I know how much Orlando loves him although swapping him for Orton would allow the Magic to have a back up center.

Sebastian Pruiti, Nets are Scorching, NBA Playbook

Denver Receives: Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, Kris Humphries, two first round picks and $3 million

Comment from Sebastian: The only real untouchable is Brook Lopez, so the Nets send over their next best player and their best upside guy to get Carmelo.  I know the Nuggets already have 2 good PGs, but Harris would have to be included in any deal to make the contracts match up.  Getting Harris would allow for the Nuggets to get a younger, cheaper PG and deal Billups to a team for even more assets.  In Terrence Williams, the Nuggets have a guy who can become a very good player in the league.  From what I have heard, other teams are more interested in him than the Nets are (not really an Avery guy).

The Nuggets have no need for Harris and with Melo leaving town I think Chauncey would soon follow as he deserves to be sent to a team planning on competing. The presence of Harris would just give the Nuggets another point guard they would have to trade. I would not expect the team to keep Harris and start him over Lawson when Lawson is a pure point guard, cheaper and younger.

The two first round picks are nice though as the Nets could certainly struggle again without a solid option at the point. Still, Melo, Brooke Lopez and Troy Murphy are quite a solid frontline and the Nets should contend for a playoff spot thus reducing the value of the draft picks.This trade neither delivers financial flexibility, a proven player who fits in with what Denver needs or picks that would be expected to end up high in the draft.

Devin Kharpertian, Nets are Scorching

Denver Receives: Tayshaun Prince, Terrence Williams, Kris Humphries, two first round picks, $3.0 million

Comment from Devin: The Nuggets get a little over $14 million in expirings between Prince and Humphries (not to mention plugging the vacant SF spot that Melo is leaving) and a young exciting player in T-Will The Pistons get the closest thing they’ve had to a real point guardsince Billups, something they desperately need, for a decent price for 4 years The Nets get Melo without giving up Lopez or Favors.

This is the same trade as Sebastian proposed although it involves moving Harris to Detroit for Prince which makes more sense for Denver.

It is interesting both Devin and Sebastian both came up with roughly the same deal.

The New York Knickerbockers

Denver Receives: Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry, 2014 First Round Pick and $3 million

Unfortunately, we did not get a proposal from our friends at Knickerblogger prior to press time, but we have something better, an honest to goodness rumored real trade offer. Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry, 2014 first round pick and $3 million for Carmelo.

This offer has been reported as a deal the Knicks will be proposing to Denver (OK, so I added the $3.0 million on my own, but the Knicks have money to burn now that their payroll us under $100 million). Gallinari is a nice young player, but will probably never be more than a number two option on offense. He struggles to create his own shot and if he is the centerpiece of a trade for Carmelo Anthony, Denver is in trouble. Still, I find him to be a better prospect than Terrence Williams and that puts the Knicks’ offer a step ahead of either of the Nets proposals.

Rahat Huq, Red94

Shane Battier, Jarred Jeffries, Jordan Hill, the right to swap first round picks with the Knicks in 2011 and the Knicks 2012 first round pick

I took part in an extended exchange with Rahat about reports on Carmelo Antony’s interest in Houston that you should take the time to check out. I can tell you the attitude amongst most Rockets observers is that they would be willing to part with either Aaron Brooks or Kevin Martin. Both players would create logjams at their position for Denver so a three way deal might be the way to go if the Nuggets and Rockets are to come to an agreement. Plus Rahat pointed out that it might be kind of scary for a team that is known for stout defense to have Martin and Melo playing at the two swing positions.

At this point the Rockets offer blows all the other offers from “The Chosen Ones” out of the water. The Knicks picks could be valuable and as I mentioned in my conversation with Rahat, those picks are worth more if Melo is sent somewhere other than New York as it cripples their ability to add an impact free agent next season.

Trades I was waiting for that were not offered

New Jersey Nets

Denver Receives: Derrick Favors, Troy Murphy, Kris Humphries and $3.0 million

It is obvious my colleagues at Nets are Scorching place a very high value on Mr. Favors and they reported to me the Nets think he will be special. I agree that from a purely basketball standpoint they should probably bide their time, let Favors and Lopez grow and see what they can add in the free agent market next summer. The problem is the Nets have acted like they were going to make a big splash and Mikhail Prokhov has been very open about how he would like to win the New York fans over to the Nets. What better way than outbidding them for Carmelo? I would expect the Nets to be aggressive in pursuing Carmelo and that means being willing to part with Favors.

Both Sebastian and Devin believe that would be a mistake and they both also believe they are giving up a very good player in Terrence Williams. They also both pointed out how Avery Johnson is not a coach that would suffer a player like Melo, who does not prioritize defense, lightly. I have to wonder if politics and bravado will ultimately trump basketball in New Jersey.

New York Knickerbockers

Denver Receives: Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry future first round pick and $3.0 million.

 

We already discussed Gallinari, but the player I really lust after is Randolph. The sky is the limit for Randolph who can do almost anything on the basketball court. He struggled under Don Nelson in Golden State and he is much more tools than polish at this point in his career.If the Nuggets are looking to rebuild in the wake of trading Carmelo Randolph would be an excellent piece to start with.

Conclusions

I firmly believe the Nets and Knicks could very well get into a bidding war for Carmelo. I suspect every team that makes a play for Mr. Anthony will begin with a lowball offer hoping the Nuggets act out of desperation. Amongst his potential suitors I do not see the Magic having the same firepower as the Rockets, Nets and Knicks. As long as there is some competition for Carmelo’s services the Nuggets should receive a respectable offer despite their compromised position.

As I fielded trade ideas and comments I found it very interesting to discover the difference in attitude amongst Nets fans and Rockets fans. People familiar with the Nets seem to think they can acquire Melo relatively cheaply where Rockets boosters are largely of the opinion that they will have to part with Kevin Martin or Aaron Brooks.

The biggest question for the Nuggets is do they attempt to retool through this process or do they choose to rebuild. Based on what the teams Carmelo is rumored to be interested in have to offer I believe Denver is better off rebuilding. They can find some financial relief and prospects/draft picks by trading Carmelo and I believe they could do the same with Chauncey, who deserves better than to toil on a lottery team at this point in his career.

For all the consternation about what Melo wants the Nuggets have the potential to come out of this process, no matter how painful, in a solid position for building a team for the future. It is certainly possible they miss the playoffs for a year or two, but with money to spend, some young talent and some extra draft picks to play with the Nuggets should avoid a prolonged stretch of malfeasance and could ultimately come out of this ordeal better than they went into it.

Here are a couple of other interesting options that did not make the post involving the Nuggets and Rockets.