Back in August, when news of Carmelo Anthony’s displeasure was ripe, I got together with Jeremy Wagner of ESPN TrueHoop’s official Denver Nuggets blog, Roundball Mining Company. I felt it time to once more touch base and discuss recent developments. What follows is the transcript of our conversation.
Rahat: Since our last talk, things seem to have stagnated. The Nuggets looked close to landing Derrick Favors from the Nets until those talks fizzled. Reports allege that Denver has no interest in dealing with the Knicks while New York remains Carmelo’s clear-cut first choice; seldom is Houston mentioned as a possible destination. What is your assessment of where things currently stand?
Jeremy: Less than a week before the regular season begins Carmelo Anthony is still a Nugget. If it were not for the stories that pop up every couple of weeks in the media there would be absolutely no outward signals that anything was amiss in Denver. It has been business as usual around the Pepsi Center as on the court Denver prepares for what could potentially be a fourth consecutive 50 win season. Knowing what we know, I feel like I am in an episode of the Twilight Zone where we know something that no one else does and it is driving us crazy that no one else will acknowledge it. Carmelo wants to be traded, quit acting like the current group of players are going to be around by the
end of the season!
Then again, what else can they do? The players and coaches know that any window for Denver to compete this season ends as soon as Carmelo is shipped out of town. Right now they are getting free cable and are afraid if anyone finds out it is going to get turned off.
I am 100% certain Carmelo will be traded at some point in the next few months. What I am less certain of is what information is to be believed and what information is purely fabricated. Depending on who you listen to New Jersey is no longer interested in acquiring Melo and the Knicks are making progress. Other reports say the Nets are still in the hunt and the Knicks still do not have what it takes to make a trade. Yet another report claims the Nets are dead set against trading Derrick Favors while someone else is proclaiming the Nuggets do not want him anymore anyway.
It is obvious that the two primary destinations are New York and New Jersey. I believe Carmelo’s first, second and third choices are the Knicks. However, the longer this drags out, the more desperate Carmelo, and his representatives, will get to complete a trade so that he can sign the 3 year, $65 million extension he so desperately desires. This could turn into a great game of chicken before all is said and done.
Where does that leave the Rockets? I am not sure if we can believe the reports that Houston is a location Carmelo would be willing to play or not. It does not fit the bill as a major market along the lines of New York or Chicago. However, with Carmelo being interested in business as much as any other player it is possible the global marketing potential of being teamed up with Yao Ming could interest him, or at least his business representatives. I have to wonder if Houston is a destination his handlers are more interested in then Carmelo is personally.
Regardless, as the trade deadline nears Melo will be more and more desperate to be somewhere other than Denver. As time passes I certainly believe it is possible his list of potential destinations could expand. The Rockets have some nice assets and Houston’s chances of acquiring Carmelo will grow as the deadline nears.
It is obvious Denver is in no hurry to ship Anthony out of town and while I think the more they wait the more they damage what could be their most precious asset, their own 2011 draft pick. Still, as December 15 nears, the day players signed this summer can be included in trades, it may make sense to wait until then in order to have more players to fiddle around with.
In conclusion, Houston is certainly a long shot to acquire Carmelo, however, they probably deserve to be mentioned on the short list of potential destinations.
Rahat: If you had to make a prediction, where do you think he will land?
Jeremy: I believe New Jersey will ultimately be the team that that comes through with a deal the Nuggets can live with. They have the best combination of market and assets thanks to the presence of a high quality young prospect in Derrick Favors, the ability to provide salary relief — they are able to send Devin Harris to Charlotte and Boris Diaw to Denver if they have to — and two first round picks, one of which belongs to the Warriors meaning Denver does not have to worry about Carmelo’s presence in New Jersey decreasing the value of the pick.
The only way I see a trade with New York coming to fruition is if Carmelo tells the other teams attempting to acquire him he will not agree to an extension with them. The cupboard at MSG has been stripped bare thanks in large part to the Rockets.
Zach Lowe formerly of Celtics Hub and now writing The Point Forward on SI.com asked a great hypothetical question the other day. What if the Nets had drafted DeMarcus Cousins instead of Favors? My response was Carmelo would have been a Net a long time ago. Even with Cousins in Sacramento, I am confident Newark will be where Anthony ends up.