Carmelo Anthony is as good as gone from Denver. Whether it be over the next couple of weeks or over a season-long charade where Carmelo comes in to Nuggets camp as the good soldier ready for a season of battle, Melo's time in Denver is quickly coming to a close.
And, if you believe Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the feeling has quickly become mutual.
That begs the question, if Carmelo leaves, then where is he going?
One possibility that keeps popping up in rumors is the Los Angeles Clippers.
While many hear "Clippers" and instantly begin snickering, the Clips have put together a strong nucleus in need of a superstar.
Carmelo fits the bill.
With that said, let's explore the pros and cons, some trade possibilities, and the odds that Carmelo Anthony actually becomes a Los Angeles Clipper.
1. Carmelo would go to a team in a major media market where he's still the alpha dog.
Given La La Vazquez's (Carmelo's wife) status in the entertainment industry, a move to L.A. not only satisfies her need to be in a major metropolitan media market, but also sets up Carmelo with a plethora of endorsement chances—especially if the Clippers start making deep runs into the playoffs.
'Melo may want NYC, but L.A. can't be considered a bad fallback plan.
2. Carmelo has a better chance to win championships with the Clippers than any other rumored team.
Sorry Knicks fans, but Amar'e Stoudemire and the crap stew that would surround him and Carmelo in the event of a trade just isn't cutting it. Regardless of whether the Clips have to part with Eric Gordon in a Carmelo deal, the team's young core is strong enough to take losing the promising young shooting guard. Imagine lineup of Davis-Foye-Melo-Griffin-Kaman. That's a lineup with three All-Stars, one potential superstar, and, um, Randy Foye.
Foye isn't scaring anyone, but he's still better than whatever cast the Knicks can offer.
3. Carmelo-to-LA creates a potentially great L.A. v. L.A. rivalry.
Let's be honest, Los Angeles has always been and always will be a Lakers city. But the arrival of Carmelo will at least get the juices flowing in rivalry deader than Gary Coleman. What, too soon?
We know Kobe Bryant is already motivated by the Super Best Friends Club in Miami, but imagine the hellacious terror he's going to go on if another superstar arrives in his city.
Don't get me wrong, the Clips-Lakers rivalry probably will never be Brooklyn Dodgers v. New York Giants, but unlike Montana Fishburne's mainstream acting career, it at least has a chance.
1. Donald Sterling.
I don't think there are enough words in the English language of negative connotation to correctly describe Clippers owner Donald Sterling as a person.
(Although racist slumlord at least identifies two of his most glaring negative characteristics.)
After years of futility, what could possibly entice a player to play for the Clippers as long as Sterling is the owner?
2. Carmelo will never be Kobe Bryant.
The city of Los Angeles' love affair with Kobe Bryant has spanned a decade filled with sexual assault allegations, acts of petulance (including the destruction of a dynasty), trade requests, and Adam Morrison.
And still Kobe has L.A.'s undying support and adoration.
Carmelo can never get that unconditional love. He's a foreigner in the Los Angeles sports cycle. Kobe's career was born and bred in the city of Los Angeles.
Melo may get bandwagon love upon arrival, but it will never be permanently full like Kobe's is.
3. It's...the Clippers.
Take this from someone who's been a fan of the franchise since Michael Jordan's second retirement, (hey, say what you want, but every child of the 90's loved Jordan's Bulls) but no one should ever want to play for the Clippers.
The franchise is cursed equally by its utter futility in the front office as well as by the basketball Gods. Ask Blake Griffin's knee how it feels to be a Clipper.
You can't bask in the L.A. sun while rolling around in a wheelchair, Carmelo. Just remember that.
Here's the fun part (well, for me at least). Using ESPN.com's Trade Machine, I devised the top three best/fairest trades the Clippers can offer:
Minnesota's First Round Pick in 2012 (via Clips)
$3 Million (via Clips)
Reason This Works: Nuggets can still quasi-contend with Iguodala replacing Melo, the Sixers get rid of Iggy's horrible contract and get an All-Star caliber center.
Reason This Doesn't Work: I really don't know. Possibly because Denver would want to clear space instead of getting good players in return?
Minnesota's 2012 First Round Pick (via Clips)
Clips Unprotected 2011 & 2013 First Round Picks
$3 Million from Clips
Reason This Works: Nuggets save a Brinks truck full of money, purposely bottom out, and start rebuilding. Kings get a legit center and power forward for basically nothing.
Reason This Doesn't Work: The entire city of Denver would revolt.
Minnesota's First Round Pick in 2012 (via Clips)
Reason This Works: Nuggets dump a ton of salary and still get a future All-Star in Gordon. T-Wolves get a center to replace Al Jefferson.
Reason This Doesn't Work: Clips are giving away far too much here. T-Wolves basically get Kaman for having salary cap space.
Well, it really depends on what you call "a contender".
Does it make them an instant top-four team in the Western Conference? Absolutely.
Does acquiring Carmelo make them a championship contender? Not quite.
Anthony instantly vaults the Clippers into a stratosphere unseen in the franchise's long and horrible history, but the key to success still lies on promising forward Blake Griffin's shoulders.
Carmelo may be one of the five best players in the world, but in today's NBA more than ever, one superstar cannot win you a championship.
You need two, three, or maybe even four at this point.
Therefore, if Griffin doesn't pan out, Carmelo would be looking at a situation akin to the one he's in now in Denver. Only with a far worse public perception.
On paper, the Clippers should be the clear-cut favorite for landing Carmelo. They have young talent and enough movable contracts to make a (reasonably) fair deal happen.
Sadly, there is zero chance in a blue hell it actually happens.
ESPN.com's Bill Simmons passed along an interesting tidbit of information during his B.S. Report podcast last week that pretty much destroyed all chances of Carmelo being a Clipper: Donald Sterling does not trade first-round picks. Ever.
Without Minnesota's 2012 first round pick being involved, there is a snowball's chance in the aforementioned hot place that Melo plays one minute for the Clippers next season.
Plus, I mean it's the Clippers. We all knew going in this article might as well have been satire because the odds of Carmelo Anthony ever being a Clipper are probably worse than you or I ever becoming one.