With one simple sentence Carmelo Anthony essentially eviscerated the excitement from the Nuggets opening night undressing of the Jazz. The Nuggets have held out hope that getting Carmelo into Denver and reminding him how good the team can be would sway him towards remaining a Nugget for at least the duration of the current season.
Time to move on to plan ‘B’.
Even though Carmelo admitted to former Nuggets beat reporter and current Yahoo! Sports contributor Marc Spears that the current version of the Nuggets is more talented than the Western Conference Finals squad from 2009 Melo has no interest in hanging around to find out just how far the Nuggets can make it, and just as I was starting to warm up to the idea too.
For Nuggets fans who had held on to the fact that Carmelo had never once voiced his desire to leave in public or to the media, the following passage puts an end to that:
”They want to sit down and talk, but my thing is it’s way beyond this year,” Anthony told Yahoo! Sports after scoring a team-high 23 points in the Nuggets’ victory. ”It ain’t got nothing to do with the new GM, Josh, the players. For me, I feel it’s a time for change.
”If I do nothing now, I’m never going to do anything. I feel like my time is now to make a decision if I want to leave or if I want to stay.”
I know, I know, he still did not say, “Trade me” although the fact that Melo came out with his comments after the Nuggets played an exceptional game against a quality opponent shows that the situation is nearing the worst case scenario for Melo and his representatives.
I believe there was a strong push to trade Carmelo prior to the season started in order to avoid Melo personally destroying a contending team. If the Nuggets started off hot and Melo ended up forcing a midseason trade, it would result in nothing but bad press and ultimately Anthony would be exposed as a player who did not put winning first.
After all the effort to try to be the good guy and leave on good terms, it appears Melo is going to end up driving a dagger into a promising season. I expect his handlers to ramp up the pressure on Denver in order to avoid forcing a trade after the Nuggets have fully solidified themselves as a team to be reckoned with.
Today during DDL a chatter asked me what was worse, the way LeBron left Cleveland or they way Melo is leaving Denver? My response was LeBron certainly handled the announcement of his departure as poorly as possible, but I would take that over Carmelo torpedoing a potential contender.
By leaving after the season, LeBron made sure the Cavs team would have a shot at finding out how far they could go. His departure was painful for Cavs fans and Cleveland could have acquired better assets in return had they had the opportunity to trade him during the season than they did in a sign and trade. Even so, LeBron did nothing underhanded and simply left for a situation he believed was better.
With Melo forcing his way out before his contract is up, he is ruining the 2010-11 season for the Nuggets. Assuming Denver trades Carmelo after December 15, the season will be caught between a push to contend and an attempt to rebuild making it a throw away year. He is also putting his teammates in limbo because when Melo goes, the team has to make some difficult decisions with players like Chauncey Billups, Al Harrington, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen.
The tension must have increased in the Nuggets locker room this morning and with Melo finally voicing his desires for all to read the possibility of this thing getting ugly is now in play.