A Well Scripted Nuggets Media Day Went as Planned

Media Day!

Media day is a silly practice where the hip young bourgeoisie spout clichés to the proletariat who are more interested in the free lunch buffet table than anything the featured speakers could offer.

Well, maybe that is a bit calloused.  There are certainly tidbits we can garner from the forced question and answer sessions.  Let’s take a look at some of the quotes from media day.

In case you missed the preprogrammed “spontaneous” press conference in Denver, as predicted, there was plenty of talk about who is a Nugget.  Apparently, Carmelo Anthony is a Nugget.  If there was a theme for media day in Denver, that would be it.

Of course we were told that Carmelo and Masai Ujiri had a “great” conversation.  Ujiri proclaimed, “I love Carmelo.”

Carmelo reminded everyone that “I never said I wanted to be traded.”

If there was anyone who broke ranks, it was George Karl who according to Chris Tomasson referenced how Kobe asked to be traded and mentioned he should talk to Phil Jackson about how to handle it.  I doubt I need to connect the dots for my readers, but in case there are some Jazz fans wondering what is going on with the trade, I will play this out.

If Carmelo has never asked to be traded, what possible connection could there be between the current situation and when Kobe Bryant asked to be traded?  I actually give kudos to George for not ignoring what we all know and playing silly linguistic games.

If there was a surprise it was that Chauncey Billups said he was not going to recruit Melo to stay.  I do not blame him as a big part of Denver’s pitch as to why Melo should stay in Denver involves cap space and a key to getting that flexibility is buying Chauncey out after this season.

Things in Utah were probably a bit tense considering their desire to cut salary by shipping Andrei Kirilenko to Denver is well known.  From the Twitter account of Brian T. Smith (@tribjazz):

O’Connor said Jazz are not actively looking to trade Kirilenko.

Translation: Don’t blame me.

#UtahJazz’s O’Connor made it very clear that the team listened to proposed Kirilenko trade, but not initiate it.

Translation: I did not ask anyone if they wanted Andrei, I only said OK when they offered to take him.

O’Connor also said Jazz plan to have Kirilenko in uniform when the season starts, but he can never make guarantees.

Translation: Once Denver gets their act together the skinny Russian dude is gone.

O’Connor on proposed Kirilenko-Diaw-Anthony trade: “If you’re going to make that trade, it would’ve been done Friday.”

Translation: I am tired of talking about this so stop asking me.  When this trade ends up going through in a couple of days you will all have forgotten this little quote.

I see no reason why the Jazz would back out of the trade unless something better comes along, which is a possibility if the Nuggets drag their feet for too long.

Moving on to New Jersey, where media day was conducted on Friday in order to get some practice time in prior to a team trip to China, stories began circulating that Devin Harris is a little disgruntled.  Harris was coached by Avery Johnson one other time when the two were in Dallas and as it so happens, Harris was traded to New Jersey during that time.  Now that they are reunited Harris is wondering why the coach he endorsed to come to New Jersey is ready to ship him out the door again.

That will be a difficult relationship to repair.  Plus, Avery said one day that Favors would not be traded and the very next day the news of the four team trade broke.  I am guessing Johnson has some trust issues with some of his players and that is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

In Charlotte they are apparently still trying to work a better deal by claiming no one is excited to trade Boris Diaw.  Everyone who believes Charlotte would not be willing to dump Diaw’s near-post-lockout-Shawn-Kemp-like-physique on Utah to acquire Devin Harris must be…well there is something wrong with you.

I realize there is talk that the four way trade is losing momentum.  The reasons these teams became involved in the discussions have not changed.  I believe this trade is still very much alive.  In the next couple of days the Nuggets will finally give up hope that Melo can be won over, they will give up trying to get Blake Griffin or Joakim Noah, they will stop talking to teams like Philly and Golden State and call up their three compatriots and give the go sign.

If you are looking for more information, or do not trust my analysis, ponder this.  We all know actions speak louder than words.  Yahoo reported (story linked above) that Carmelo “didn’t engage in much of the normal promotional shots for the team’s Altitude television network and game-night operations.”  Benjamin Hochman tweeted that he was able to confirm that.

Carmelo claimed to be 100% committed, just not to the Nuggets.  If he cannot put the effort in to look into a camera and say, “You are watching the Denver Nuggets on Altitude” how is he going to do in practice when the real work begins?

While no one had the guts to come out and say, “Melo is not going to be around much longer, we just had to give it one last shot to talk him into signing with us because some of the folks around here are a little delusional” there was not one thing that was said or done to refute anything we all believe.

To catch up on all the minute by minute action of media day, make sure you check out the Twitter accounts of Chris Tomasson (@christomasson), Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews), Chris Dempsey (@dempseypost) and Jason Kosmicki (@nuggetsradio) plus you can get all of my witty and insightful tweets @RoundballMiner.  Jason also posted audio of Carmelo’s comments, which you can hear here.

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  • Jonathan Tate

    I wouldn’t worry about him dogging it. He’s smart enough to see what happened to Vince Carter when he dogged it out of Toronto. Carter’s reputation still hasn’t recovered and probably never will. To this day, that’s always brought up about him. Further, this is a contract year for him. While he’s all but guaranteed for the max, it’s possible it won’t be if he goes through the motions too many times and turns off too many people.

  • Frontrange

    Melo will play hard, Melo will be traded, but . .not as the trade is currently constructed (too much money). If this doesn’t with in the week I would think it would wait until Dec 15.

    Also given the teams that popped up in rumors (Sac, Min) and ‘Melo’s desire to end in NYC / Chi / LA, we could see them become fourth teams involved in a deal to land ‘Melo in one of the big three cities.

    One other note, the rumor was the Phlly was shopping the number 2 pick with Elton Brand this summer – if Denver was willing to take on the the type of tax hit we are talking about, than a K-Mart-Brand deal to acquire Favors/Turner would have made too much sense.

  • Chris

    Correct me if I am wrong, and I am sure all of you will, but wouldn’t Al Harrington and Derick Favors of the bench prove to produce twice as many points as Bird and Kmart from the four. Then AK-47 would be the defensive presence missing with Kmart sidelined. If you could convince Kmart to come off the bench and back up Nene. I think Denver would be obviously bigger, and potentially better without Melo. Lets face it Melo is a terrific scorer, but he plays the three. For the kind of money they invest in him you would hope for double doubles consistently with triple doubles sprinkled in here and there. He really is an awkward superstar in that he doesn’t fit as a great positional player at any one position. Plus I think he is a bit of a smart a#$, punk, thug type, and the referees don’t like him. It took him forever to get the All star calls that Kobe and company get, and when he plays against the Tim Duncans and Lebron Jamses he doesn’t get the calls. Favors is a good option. I think the Nuggets should take the Nets offer, and go. Trying to win this season to convince Melo to stay will prove to be stupid in the end. What about the possibility of Denver trading Melo for Favors and Harris. Harris would go yo Charlotte and Diaw would come to Denver. I just don’t like the idea of losing Melo, and helping the Jazz get better.

    • http://ako Roscoe

      Actually, the Jazz get worse with this trade. AK-47 has an expiring contract and will be off the books by the end of the season either way. We save them some money, which doesn’t make their team any better, it just makes the owner happy. I guess you could suggest that in the long run he might spend more because of this…but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. In the end, the Jazz are worse with Diaw than AK…so I think this actually hurts the Jazz in terms of on-court production. AK is a good player, when healthy, and could have a nice year for us, especially considering it’s a contract year for him and he doesn’t want to get paid the minimum after this year.

      • Ski Bum

        Not to mention the Jazz get rid of a division rival’s best player, the big, if indirect, benefit they get from the deal.

        • Peter

          Um…If you’re talking about Carmelo as being the divisions best player, I would argue that Kevin Durant has passed him and anyone in their right mind would take KD over Melo right now.

  • ParkHillNative

    ESPN had a thing scrolling at the bottom of the screen last night saying that the whole 4-team trade is in jeapordy primarily because the Nuggets don’t want to take on AK’s extra salary for this season.

    I’ve not been following all the intricacies of this circus, so it sounds to me like it’s more of the same from the Kroenkes — if the Nuggets are going to improve their lot, it isn’t going to be because we spent any money. I hope I’m wrong about that, though.

  • DH

    I have read in two different places that the NJ deal seems to be dead. If that is true, that would be a monumental mistake on the Nuggets’ part. I will never understand why they didn’t take the deal as soon as it came up. Unless they have some secret plan and they are a lot smarter than I think they are, they really blew it.

    • Frontrange

      $$$$ . .didn’t want AK47 and 10M hit. NJ trade may still go down, but it will probably be Dec 15 when all FA can be included opening up many possibilities.

      • DH

        Yeah, but who says NJ will still be interested, or that they will want to put their team through the distraction of trade rumors again, or that Favors won’t be so impressive that he’s off the table by then, or that none of the players involved (especially Melo) will have a serious injury before then, or that Melo won’t veto NJ at that time, etc., etc.

        And if NJ backs out, that leaves only NY and Chicago as teams with which Melo will definitely sign an extension. It’s a big gamble hoping that the deadline pressure will cause Melo to expand the number of teams he’s willing to go to. And if NJ backs out, that’s less leverage for the Nugs and it probably results in a lesser trade.

        Concerning the salary cap hit, I’m convinced that they could have worked out a trade with matching numbers just by leaving out the other two teams. When I say they blew it, I mean by not trading with NJ while they had the chance. They didn’t necessarily have to do the 4-team trade.

        The other option was to suck it up with the $10M hit and then save whatever money they want to save at the end of the season. They can put their salary cap number just about anywhere they want it at that time.

        Anyway, I hope they’re not still thinking that Melo might stay. Their last hope was supposed to be having George Karl talk to him. I just read that Melo says he would be happy to talk to George about practice, but not about anything else. So much for that pipedream.

        • http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5622392 ParkHillNative

          I have no sympathy for the Kroenke’s reported unwillingness to bite the bullet on the extra salary. If they can affored however many hundreds of millions of dollars they paid for the St. Louis Rams, they most certainly could’ve taken on that extra $10M for one lousy year.

          This was the moment to collect Favors and a bunch of draft picks. That’s the best deal the Nuggets were going to get for Anthony. Anything else they get at this point is not going to be as good. The Kroenkes don’t want the Nuggets to be good.

  • GZ

    My understanding of the logic behind the four-team trade is this:

    1) Nuggets want a marketable young player and draft picks to rebuild around.
    2) Nets want Anthony desperately after they struck out in free agency in 2010 and would likely lose to the Knicks in 2011.
    3) Bobcats want a veteran point guard and want to shed Diaw’s contract.
    4) Jazz want to cut costs.

    I think the Jazz are the team that doesn’t fit in this trade and should be replaced by another team eager to shed a big contract who can contribute more young assets to the Nuggets. The two teams that come to mind are the Clippers and Warriors.

    Below are a few proposed trades involving those teams which I think bring the Nuggets more value and address the issue of Kirilenko’s contract. (Note: Draft picks can’t be included in the trade machine, but Denver would still get NJ’s first rounder and Golden State’s first rounder from NJ, as well as Minnesota’s first rounder from LA). Check it out:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2b9phv2

    The original teams do this deal for the same reasons above, the Clippers participate because they get an upgrade at point guard while simultaneously shedding Baron Davis’ horrible contract. The Nuggets would also get Minnesota’s first round pick from LA which would be unprotected in 2012. Alternately, I would gladly take Blake Griffin instead of Gordon and the Minny pick, but I don’t see LA going for that.

    Another option, this time with Golden State, sends Monta Ellis to the Nets in Baron Davis’ place, and Stephen Curry to the Nuggets instead of Eric Gordon. This deal wouldn’t include any draft picks from the Warriors, though, so I don’t like it quite as much.

    Denver would suddenly have a core of young players (Lawson, Favors, & Gordon/Curry, plus the Nets’, Warriors’, and Wolves’ first round picks (as well as Denver’s own picks which would be in the lottery) to build around. They also have Nene, Martin, & JR Smith to use in trades or to create cap room in 2011.

    If you liked the Kirilenko trade, how do you not go for one of these deals?

    • DH

      Sorry, but the Clips and Warriors won’t go for it. It’s been reported that the Clippers would not include Gordon even in a deal that gives them Melo (a huge mistake on their part). If that’s true, there is no way they lose Gordon just to swap older point guards, even if it allows them to shed Baron’s bad contract. And adding Minny’s unprotected pick to the deal just makes it more impossible.

      Also, GS is apparently unwilling to give up Curry at all. They definitely will not give up Curry and Ellis – and certainly not in a deal for an old point guard.

      I don’t mean to shoot you down. I would love to hear of a potential trade that is better than what NJ already offered. I just don’t think either of these would work.

    • Frontrange

      I think the Clip trade is very compelling and never underestimate Donald Sterling’s willingess to make a buck (saves 3M this year and unloads the Davis contract) but I don’t think they get quite enough back to part w/both the pick and Gordon.

      Still I would still bet Denver waits to post Dec 15 . . after all it is clear they are taking all offers and quite few more offers will be possible after that date.

      • Peter

        I agree with everybody that says the nuggets are stupid for not getting this Nets deal done already. What kind of better deal are they going to get? I guess the Nuggets really must have been stupid enough to think they can convince Melo to stay. If the salary situation is the problem, why not just make some more deals later. I’m sure there are plenty of teams that would take JR or Birdman for a 2nd round pick. I know it sounds like a bad deal for us but, that’s what we did with Marcus Camby and it was not a disaster at all. Waiting for Dec. 15 just makes me uneasy since there are too many variables like injuries and Favors playing better than projected.

  • DH

    According to Chris Sheridan of ESPN…

    “Source tells me the NY Knicks have a deal available to acquire a No. 1 draft pick in 2011 for use in a C.Anthony trade, if talks revived.”

    Does anyone see how the Knicks can put together a package that’s even close to what NJ offered? I don’t. One first round pick – especially in 2011, when the probable lockout will prevent most of the talent from entering the draft – still doesn’t get them in the ballpark, in my opinion.

  • DH

    It was also reported that Chris Paul has told Melo he should consider joining him in NO. I doubt that Melo would do that, but it’s interesting to speculate on what kind of deal the Nugs and NO could make. The main trade chips in NO are Marcus Thornton, David West, Peja Stojakovic’s expiring contract, and Emeka Okafor. Any ideas?

  • aussie nugs fan

    May not be the strongest draft but I would do melo for Randolph, Gallinari and a 1st pick if knicks can get one.