No Really, Carmelo Anthony is Going to be Traded

After a calm couple of weeks following the hiring of Masai Ujiri, who announced at his introductory press conference that he was confident he could convince Carmelo Anthony to stay in Denver, there are reports that the Nuggets have apparently begun to accept the inevitable fact they are going to have to trade Carmelo Anthony and they are now listening to offers.

Sam Amick of Fanhouse is also reporting the Nuggets are welcoming calls on Carmelo comparing the exercise to a lottery.  Yes indeed, the Indian Summer of Carmelo could be ramping up again.

We have been over this several times, but for those of you who are new, here is the abridged version of my theory which has yet to be debunked by anyone. Carmelo wants to play somewhere else, but also wants to avoid having his jersey burned in the streets of Denver a la another superstar who changed teams this summer. That is why he has never once said that he wants out, but also why he is saying he will not sign the extension on the table until next season. Unless he signs the extension prior to the trade deadline, Denver has almost no choice, but to trade him.

While Melo continues to play the, “I am a Nugget” game — most recently on Lopez Tonight during which both Melo and LaLa Vazquez were very charming — the message is being delivered to Denver that he wants to play somewhere else which is the source of reports that have named locations such as New York, New Jersey, Orlando, Houston and/or Los Angeles.

The Nuggets know where Melo wants to play, they know what those teams have to offer and they know whether or not those assets being offered interest them or not. As soon as Denver makes the decision to pull the trigger I think everything could happen very quickly and that means Carmelo could be playing somewhere other than Denver in the next five weeks before the season begins.

The latest reports is that the Nets are in the lead, which I doubt is coming from anyone associated with the Nuggets. Still, New Jersey is a likely destination. The Nets can take on Carmelo and the contract of a player such as Chris Andersen and possibly Renaldo Balkman while sending back Derrick Favors, the expiring contract of Troy Murphy, the expiring contract of Kris Humphries and a future first round pick from Golden State that is top seven protected in 2012 and 2013 and top six protected in 2014.

This trade would appear to make little sense for New Jersey as they would struggle to be competitive without Murphy. However, the Nuggets could buyout Murphy, thus saving more money, and after a 30 day wait Murphy could return to the Nets.

Denver could then turn their focus to trading Chauncey Billups for expiring contracts and a draft pick or two so he is in a better situation and Nene could be put on the block as well. There is also the option to buy Kenyon Martin out of the final year of his deal allowing him to sign with a playoff caliber team and suddenly the Denver Nuggets are well on their way to rebuilding with Ty Lawson and Derrick Favors as cornerstones. Their own 2011 draft pick suddenly becomes a tremendous asset as will the cap space they will possess heading into the offseason. It is possible for Denver to have as little as $15 million in salary committed for the next season, half of which would be earmarked for Al Harrington.

Obviously, that is all a boatload of speculation, but those are the kind of transactions the Nuggets will be considering over the next few months. It will not be pretty, but it will be exciting.

Franchise Five

ESPN.com is running a feature called Franchise Five where the fans vote on the best player at every position for each franchise and then they match up against each other in an NCAA style bracket to determine the best franchise five of all time. If you do not follow me on Twitter, you may have missed the link to vote on the Nuggets five starters, you can see the results here. In case you were wondering, my votes were for Fat Lever, David Thompson, Alex English, Antonio McDyess and Dikembe Mutombo. Even if you missed the team vote, you can still vote in the tournament as Denver is matched up with the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Please vote if for no other reason than to make sure the Nuggets are not the victims of another first round exit.

Tis the Season for Season Previews

Celtics Blog has an annual tradition of rounding up as many bloggers as possible to provide a central location to access numerous season previews. The previews for the Atlantic Division teams are up so head on over and check them out.

Celtics: CelticsBlog Celtics 24/7Celtics CentralCeltics HubCelticsLife | Gino’s JungleRedsArmy.comSBNation BostonSBN Recap

Knicks: Posting and ToastingBandwagon KnickKnickerBlogger.NetSBN Recap

Nets: NetsDaily NetsAreScorching FanwaySBN Recap

Raptors: Raptors HQHoops AddictHip Hoop JunkiesSBN Recap

Sixers: Liberty Ballers

Recaps: All Previews

Fun with Imaginary Expansion

Akis Yerocostas of Pick and Scroll produced a mock expansion draft with team bloggers deciding which player or players to expose to the expansion draft. Working under the assumption the Nuggets are faced with a rebuilding project, I worked out a deal with Akis to shed some salary. Head on over to Pick and Scroll and see what you think.

  • Aussie Nugs Fan

    If the nets had taken DeMarcus Cousins in the draft I would do that deal. Im not sold on Favors in fact wouldn’t we rather deal with LAC and get that unprotected Minesota pick? thats gona b a top 5 pick, what if it ends up a no.1 pick! Plus Ive read they could send us Aminu too who atleast can play small forward. I know we would rather send melo to the eastern conference but first and foremost gotta take the best available offer. Maybe the russian nets owner decides melo is worth brook lopez? i would do that in a heartbeat.

  • DH

    Calvin Natt over McDyess for the Franchise Five. I can see the arguments against Natt (starting with the fact that he wasn’t a Nugget for long). But it’s impossible to overstate how important he was to a very good team. McD was more of a guy who could put up big numbers on a bad team, to me. Of course, he evolved after his injuries – while playing for other teams.

  • DH

    Jeremy, Up until recently I believed that Melo didn’t really know what he wanted to do, yet. I thought he wanted to see what the Nuggets would do with their GM, KMart’s contract, J.R., etc. Now, though, I’m with you 100%. I think he wants out and he doesn’t want to be the bad guy. So he’s saying nothing publicly and allowing his demands to be leaked, instead.

    I hope I’m wrong, because that’s a cowardly way to go about this, in my opinion. I know that since the brawl in NYC, his actions in the fight have been described as, “Melo sucker-punched a Knick and backpeddled out of danger”. As a Melo apologist, I’ve always suspected that he punched a guy in the heat of the moment, realized he had just crossed a big line, and got out of there before he did anything else he shouldn’t. But now it sure seems like he’s sucker-punching the Nuggets organization, the fans, and the city, and backpeddling out of harm’s way. Maybe it’s a pattern. Again, I hope not.

    Anyway, I was glad to hear about the rumored Nets package. It’s more than I thought they would part with. And it would be fun to see other teams try to match or beat it. We may get much more than I would have expected.

  • Jonathan Tate

    The Nets’ rumored offer might be the strongest possible one out there. Favors is a good promising prospect, particularly on the defensive end and his combination of youth, salary, years from unrestricted free agency and athleticism is going to be hard to top as the centerpiece by other teams. Then that the Nets also have the right sized expiring contract to throw in and draft picks solidifies their position. I don’t see Murphy being a big loss from them. Yes he’s good statistically, on offense anyway but he’s a well below-average defender, which has an amplified impact because he’s the big and supposed to be the last line of defense, and for all his contributions, has never made the playoffs. That’s not all on him but he hasn’t exactly been a good enough difference maker either. The Nets would be fine replacing Murphy with a better defender as Carmelo would more than make up for the loss of Murphy on offense.

    The big obstacle might be Carmelo’s willingness to sign an extension with NJ. Maybe he doesn’t want to spend two years of his career, two years of prime, playing in NJ and despite some good young talent, they are very far from contending.

  • rick

    i will brun carmelos jersey if he goes anywere i’m sick of him .he said when he came to denver he wanted to be the next john elway in denver what ever happen to that hes a fag

  • k

    Maybe carmelo doesn’t want to be the bad guy but if he came out and said “trade me now” wouldn’t that hurt what kind of offers the nuggets are going to get? At least now the nuggets can have some negotiating power by just saying they changed their mind and won’t trade him if some team only offers them crap. Some team might feel compelled to offer something really good up this way. To me by him playing the “I’m a nugget” game is just good business for him and the nuggets.

  • Frontrange

    I am sad this going down, but I can’t really blame ‘Melo. He has been here seven years and the only center we have ever had was Camby and Nene, niether of which is enough to compete . . if Denver had used the 10M salary slot to acquire Okafor and drafted Blair instead of selling a second round pick, maybe we wouldn’t be in this situation.

    If you are ‘Melo and look at the moves Denver has made over the past three years, you would come to conclusion that the franchise is well run but post the Iverson gamble unwilling to make the neccessary financial committment to compete with top tier teams. The choice is play for the second round or leave for a team willing to make future moves to reach that level.

    There was plenty of opportunity to demonstrate Denver’s willingess to accept the financial pain . . .even this last summer, the rumor was the Philly was looking to move Brand and was willing to pay the #2 pick to get it done . .a Martin trade for Favors/Turner and Brand’s bloated contract would have changed the entire conversation.

  • http://Aol.com Matthew

    What about a mello to ATL? Joe johnson and marvin Williamsand Jamal Crawford (who wNts out) back with a pick for mello jr and billups with hat ever makes the contracts work… Fair even and good for both. Atl needs a change if they plan on winning anything over the heat Boston and Orlando. They can’t seem to do it as is. Denver is kinda stuck too. Mello wants out why rebuild completely. Dump some contracts pick up a star and a wingman….and pieces…I’m not a Denver fan or atl fan…. I’d prefer mello stayed in the west but hey that’s one of te only places besides houstan where tecdeal is good for both teams.

    • asdqqq

      Besides the fact that Melo wouldn’t resign in Atlanta, that is just a terrible, terrible trade from the Nuggets perspective, giving them none of the things they are looking for in a trade (young prospects, good draft picks, cap room) and locking them into two terrible, long-term contracts. Just to top it off, we also throw in a top 5 PG and productive bench player. Yeah, not happening.

  • Ryan

    I really don’t think NJ is the best place. I honestly think that that the top two locations would be Houston or New Orleans, with NO slowly picking up steam. If The nuggets are really in rebuilding mode…… they would love to have peja’s expiring contract.

    • asdqqq

      The Nuggets have almost no money committed next year. Just about everybody on their team already has an expiring contract. So Peja’s contract isn’t, in and of itself, worth anything to the Nuggets. If they wanted to cut costs now, there are a bunch of teams with huge salary cap exceptions. Unless NO is trading Paul, there is nothing they have that the Nuggets want.

      • Allahbuild

        I’mmmmm Backkkkkk! Peace fellas, the last time I was here I told you that if Melo wanted to play in NY, there was nothing Denver could do about it. Today Chris Broussard (ESPN) reported that Melo has Told Denver to get it done before the training camp starts. He also stated that with all that the Nets have and could offer is irrelevant. Last year (you may not know this) the nets tried to get a deal done with Denver for Melo. Denver was ready to pull the trigger, BUT, Melo would not sign with the Nets, our little brothers over in joysey. I will now go where I was going before I was so rudely interupted by you guy’s. If Melo wants to play ONLY, in the Greatest City in the world,(his birth place), We will be competing for a NBA championship! AMARE,MELO,RANDOLPH,MOZGOV,CHANDLER,FELTON, can compete, this year, for the division. Next year with CP3, we will compete with the Lakers for the NBA Title, So let it be written, So let it be done.