Carmelo Anthony and Media Day

There is a great deal of excitement to see what happens at the Denver Nuggets media day on Monday.  The incomparable Matt Moore tweeted he would like to be in the room for the the meeting between Masai Ujiri and Carmelo Anthony.  Well Matt, here is one man’s version of what will happen sometime on Monday.

Masai Ujiri (with enthusiasm):  Carmelo, it is so good to see you again!  I have been looking forward to this ever since I was named the VP of Basketball Operations of the Nuggets.  I expected to talk to you before today and I wish you would have returned my calls, but no hard feelings.

Carmelo Anthony (gives a middle five, chest bump/hug): Hi there Masai.

Ujiri (serious with passion): I know that there has been a lot of speculation out there about how you want to leave Denver for New York or Chicago.  I know that now that we are together and can talk, I am sure you will see that Denver is the best place for you to play.

Carmelo (in monotone): I have no idea where people get all of this stuff.

Ujiri (loosening up): Exactly Carmelo, I knew all of this was just talk created by people who want to drive us apart.

Carmelo (in monotone): People have been talking about my future ever since I arrived in Denver.

Ujiri (with empathy): Right, I understand, it must have been a difficult few weeks for you.  There are people who want to see you play out east, but that is not what is best for you and you have to know that.

Melo (monotone): I am a Denver Nugget.

Ujiri (growing excited): Absolutely, you are a Nugget, you have been here for seven years and this is home now.  We have a plan we are ready to share with you that will prove to you that Denver is the best place for you.  We have a team that was two games away from the finals two seasons ago.  Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo are young and will improve.  Kenyon and Birdman had surgery and will be as good as new after their offseason surgeries and if things do not go as well as we expect, there is a great deal of financial flexibility.

Melo (one more tone than monotone – duotone?): That sounds great.

Ujiri (sensing Melo is buying his sales pitch): Awesome, how about we go upstairs and sign that extension we have offered you?  It is all ready to go, has been since June.

Melo (back to emotionless monotone): I am going to wait until after the season before I decide what to do.  I want to explore all my options and make sure I do what is best for me and my family.

Ujiri (with sincerity): Carmelo, we talked about this.  Denver is the best place for you.  This is where you belong.  The Nuggets are your team and we need you.

Melo (you know): I am a Denver Nugget.

Ujiri (excitedly once again sensing a positive resolution): Yes! Yes you are.  I promise we will put a winning team around you.  You do not need to go east or anywhere else.

Melo (dryly): People have been speculating about me leaving Denver ever since I got to Denver.

Ujiri (ironically): Yes, and know you have the chance to show them that you are a Nugget and Denver is where you want to play.

Melo (without the slightest hint of humanity): I do not know where people come up with this stuff.

Ujiri (matter of factly): Alright, then let’s go sign that extension.

Melo (robotically): I want to do what is best for me and my family.

Ujiri (with urgency): I have no doubt of that, now I have a pen right here.  I can even have someone bring the contract here so we do not have to go all the way upstairs.

Melo (doing his best Sargent Joe Friday impersonation): I am not going to make a decision until next summer when I can decide what is best for me and my family.

Ujiri (growing flustered): Carmelo, I am sure you can sympathize with the position you are putting us in.  If you do not sign the extension now, we cannot take a chance on having you leave Denver for nothing.

Melo (with no visible signs of emotion): I am a Nugget.

Ujiri (exasperated): We all realize that Carmelo.  I need to know that you want to be a Nugget in the future.

Melo (with a chuckle this time): People sure like to make up their own stories.

Ujiri (as if speaking to a one and a half year-old who just dumped his cereal on his head for the sixth straight day): I am not making up a story Carmelo, I believe in my heart that you want to be in Denver.  I just need a commitment from you so we can move forward.

Melo (barely audible): I am a Denver Nugget.

Ujiri (making a last ditch appeal with emotion): I know that and with the possibility of a work stoppage next summer, don’t you want to ensure you are going to get this 3 year, $65 million extension?

Melo (like Neo from the Matrix): I am not going to make a decision until next summer.  I am a Nugget.

Ujiri (a twitch is starting under his left eye): Um, Melo, I know you are a Nugget.  I need you to tell me this is where you want to be.  We have a plan to make Denver a winning team.

Melo (how many tones is less than monotone?):  I just want to do what is best for me and my family.

Ujiri (like Al Pacino): Carmelo, just sign the freaking extension!  This is a lot of money!  I know it is what is best for you!

Melo (staring straight ahead): I am not going to sign until next summer.  I need to do what is best for me and my family.

Ujiri (like Grimlock, everyone’s favorite Dinobot): Uggghhhhh!  Carmelo, do you want us to trade you to the Nets?  You can be a Net within the hour if you want.  Just tell me.

Melo (with dilated eyes): People like to make up stories.  I am a Denver Nugget.

Ujiri (with resignation): Not for much longer.  Can someone get me Billy King on the phone?

Chauncey Billups (with leadership): Hey Carmelo, I am glad you are here.  I really want to talk to you.

Ujiri (with a quiet fury like a woman from a movie on Lifetime before she gets her revenge on the evil man who did unspeakable things to her): Enjoy the puppet show from the Manchurian Candidate.

At this point it certainly appears there is a big enough push inside the Nuggets’ front office and management to have a face to face with Carmelo can convince him to stay.  As I wrote over a month ago, Carmelo wants out of Denver and he is being smart about it.  He knows if he plays things correctly, he can get his money, get into the market he wants and do so without looking like the schmuck LeBron James did.

All the reports of Denver talking with other teams, like Philly about Andre Igoudala, is simply posturing and delay tactics in an attempt to bide their time until Melo comes to camp while doing all they can to get New Jersey to up their offer, or to find a fifth team to involve.  Carmelo is not going to play just anywhere.  He is not going to sign an extension in Philly and I do not see any way Philly is a true contender in this discussion.

If the Nuggets think the Bulls or Clippers are going to offer Noah or Blake Griffin just because they are threatening to send him to New Jersey, they are delusional.  The Bulls are far from desperate and by the way they have a pretty good thing going there and the Clippers are not going to all of the sudden decide Griffin is not a future franchise player who is younger and cheaper than Carmelo with less baggage.

Melo will show up in Denver for media day simply because by not doing so it will ruin the carefully crafted plan to avoid being the bad guy.  The only way he does not show up is if he wants to play the I-can’t-believe-they-are-shopping-me-around-the-league card, which is a slight possibility, but I believe he will put on a happy face and listen to everyone while trying to play innocent.  He will tell them he wants to leave without ever saying the words, “Trade me.”

As long as all the parties involved can hang on another 24 hours I believe this trade goes down soon.

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  • Ski Bum

    Jeremy, I sincerely hope you are just creative and not clairvoyant.

    Didn’t the Nugs give a deadline on their offer? I read on Friday thay they gave Melo 48 hours to sign the extension, taking that to mean that they would rescind the extension if he failed to sign. Perhaps I interpreted that incorrectly, or it never happened, but it seems short of that Melo really has the FO by the balls.

    • Jeremy

      I think that deadline was from NJ and Melo did reportedly agree to an extension during that time. It is not holding up the trade and the fact the 48 hours have passed does not mean the deal is dead.

    • doobie

      melo to bulls for deng tiag and a 1st round draft pick before denver loose him for nothing

  • NYmo

    i think he realizes NY cant get a third team involved, so he wants them to let him play out the season and go to NY as a free agent,…he knows if he lets Denver assume he isnt going anywhere or his agent & mgr. came up with everything, they won’t trade him. In the end he’s going to the Knicks.

  • DH

    Jeremy, I think you pretty much nailed Media Day. “I am here today. I am a Nugget. We’ll see what happens.” Give me a break. Is Melo fooling anyone? I don’t know how he could be. And if not, then what’s the point? He might as well make his demands public and let’s get on with it.

  • Frontrange

    Apparently saying he wants to be traded could get him fined.

    ESPN is reporting the hold up in the Net’s deal is over Denver picking up another 4.7M in salaries = 9.4M hit with the cap . . .wouldn’t be surprised to see something go down Dec 15 when Outlaw / Morrow could be traded with Favors and the Denver could work out something that gets them 3M less coming back. In fact, post the Dec 15 date a lot of other teams could participate that can’t right now, so I am betting that Denver is selling ‘Melo to be patient.

  • DH

    Frontrange… That makes a lot of sense. If I’m the Denver front office, though, I get something done now. A lot can happen between now and Dec. 15. The Nets could back out. Melo could decide that he won’t go to NJ. Since NY and Chicago are the only other teams that Melo has “said” he will sign an extension with (and those teams don’t seem like viable trade partners), the Nugs are taking a huge risk by waiting. And I haven’t even mentioned the one thing that nobody seems to be thinking about. What if Melo tears his ACL or worse? Then what do we get for him? Yes, they’ll take a cap hit now. But if money’s the thing, they can be rolling in it after the season’s over, if that’s what they want.

  • DH

    Under the original proposed trade, NJ loses Favors, Harris, maybe Q Ross, and 2 first round draft picks. Denver loses Melo. Denver picks up $4.7M in additional salary, which is apparently holding up the trade.

    I’m sure Denver and NJ have discussed trades without using other teams, but here are some that don’t end up costing Denver additional cap money…

    NJ gets Melo and Balkman
    Denver gets Favors, Murphy ($12M expiring), T-Will, and the 2 picks

    NJ gets Melo
    Denver gets Favors, Harris, T-Will (picks negotiable)

    NJ gets Melo
    Denver gets Favors, Harris, Ross, and the 2 picks and saves 3M

    These are just a few I came up with very quickly. It seems like there is enough to work with that Denver and NJ should be able to get something done.

  • doobie

    melo to bulls for gibson deng and 1 first rounder or add james jones and a second rounder