Carmelo Anthony: 10 Things He Must Do To Avoid the LeBron James Label
Like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony has known stardom from an early age. The highly-touted prep dominated College Basketball in his lone season at Syracuse and has molded his game to become a perennial All-NBA player.
There are similarities between the two, but there are also striking differences.
Unlike LeBron, Anthony has won a championship at the highest level, having led the Orange to the school's first National Championship before bolting to the NBA after his freshman year.
After LeBron's "Decision" held the basketball world hostage, Carmelo Anthony now faces his own decision. Thankfully, there have been no signs as of yet that he intends to further his legacy by grandstanding in the spotlight as he ponders his fate.
Here's a look at 10 Ways Carmelo can avoid following in LeBron's footsteps.
No. 10: Stay In Denver and Show Your Loyalty
From a loyalty standpoint, Carmelo Anthony obviously has fewer reasons to stay in Denver than LeBron had to stay at home in Northeast Ohio.
At the same time, 'Melo has been embraced by the Denver community and supported through thick and thin.
The Nuggets have attempted to surround Anthony with pieces to contend for a championship, it just hasn't come even close to working for one reason or another.
If Carmelo wants to preserve his own label, the first step is simply staying put.
No. 9: Sign Three-Year Extension and Wait It Out
The Nuggets have reportedly offered Anthony a three-year, $60 million extension that he was allegedly close to accepting in the days leading up to the 2010 NBA Draft.
Something made him change his mind, and it appears it might have been the prospect of playing alongside another NBA superstar. If Anthony was to adopt LeBron's tag line, "If I stay here, I'm worried I will be 30 and have bad knees and no Championship Ring," he would possibly be given a pass to quite literally seek greener pastures.
But before he walks out the door, he would be wise to consider the landscape of the NBA.
The Western Conference probably still has more depth, but the balance of power is shifting to the Eastern Conference. Chicago, Boston and Orlando will compete with Miami and could compete against any team in the NBA. The Celtics aren't getting any younger and will soon drop off a bit, but it will take time.
Meanwhile, Kobe and the Lakers have at least two good years left. But in three years, Carmelo will still be in his prime and the Western Conference will likely go through Oklahoma City and Portland.
And maybe even Denver.
No. 8: Avoid The East
Don't go east, young man.
LeBron's decision to take his talents to South Beach created a gargantuan obstacle for all Easter Conference teams to contend with.
If the rumors are true and Carmelo wants to go to New York or New Jersey, he would have to get in the growing line of teams stockpiling talent in an attempt to sneak by the Heat.
By moving to a big market like New York or New Jersey, Anthony would get plenty of attention and play a part in plenty of early round playoff exits.
If Anthony leaves Denver and stays in the Western Conference, he could land in Houston. The Rockets will have plenty of money and have an interesting roster, but are hardly in a position to contend for anything.
No. 7: Don't Listen To Your Advisors
LeBron's biggest mistake was listening to business confidant and longtime friend Maverick Carter, who helped convince the King that a made-for-TV special would be a fantastic way of promoting his legacy.
Any press is good press, unless you make news by thumbing your nose at your former team.
Anthony would be wise to close his ears to any advice he might receive from outside the world of basketball and keep his thoughts close to his chest.
No.6: Keep Doing What You're Doing and Improve Your Game
Carmelo has arguably become the best scorer in the NBA with a quick first step, the ability to get to the rim and the free throw line, and a reliable outside shot.
His next step is to work on improving his all-around game and make his teammates better. There is only so much he can do with the current Nuggets roster, but his loyalty could encourage the franchise to keep wheeling and dealing in an attempt to get younger and better.
As Carmelo keeps improving, the old guard slowly begins to fade. Again, it's simply a waiting game.
No. 5: Winning Elsewhere Is Far From a Sure Thing
What if Carmelo weathers the storm East of the Rockies and has nothing to show for it? Realistically, his chances to win in Denver are only slightly less good than his chances of capturing an NBA Championship by going elsewhere.
Even with Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and potentially Chris Paul, the Knicks as presently constructed would not have an advantage against the Heat. It would make for great theater for NBA fans, but could produce a nightmare for Anthony and chalk up another win for LeBron over his rival.
The Nets and Rockets are a long way from being considered serious contenders for a title.
The smartest thing about LeBron's decision was that he clearly put himself in the best position to win, and win a lot.
No. 4: Under Pressure
LeBron might have put himself in a good position to win by deciding to form arguably the best threesome ever assembled in the NBA, but that doesn't mean it will happen.
One thing is certain: the pressure facing LeBron and the Heat will be nothing short of incredible.
If Anthony attempts to form a similar triumvirate in New York, or elsewhere, there will be pressure to avoid being the team that almost knocked off the NBA's super-team.
Let's face it, it will be difficult for Anthony to immediately win no matter where he ends up.
No. 3: Keep Your Brand Intact
The idea behind a players "brand" is somewhat vague, but if Anthony wins in the company of other stars it come at the expense of his image.
Although he will never have as much influence or fame as LeBron, Carmelo is a marketable figure with enough star power to bring in millions.
That could potentially fade a bit if he was to join forces with other megastars, even if he decided to head to big markets like New Jersey or New York.
No. 2: Don't Lord Over The World With Your Announcement
Sure, LeBron had every right to leave Cleveland. Loyalty is purely an emotional response and doesn't hold a great deal of weight, even if it should. Welcome to 2010 on planet earth.
One thing the world never expected to see was a self-promotional national television announcement. Everyone behind "The Decision" is to blame, from LeBron to the masterminds at ESPN who eagerly gave up boring Thursday night mid-summer programming on the athlete's terms.
Carmelo would be wise to learn from the fallout that has followed LeBron, who suddenly finds every move he makes scrutinized in the public eye.
Make a decision, but make it quietly.
No. 1: Remain The Undisputed Alpha Dog
Instead of displaying his ego by attempting to amass unprecedented fame and fortune, Carmelo Anthony's best move would be to keep to himself and make stars come to him.
There's no reason an NBA team can't win in Denver, and there's no reason an NBA team with Anthony as the unquestioned leader can't win an NBA Championship.
One of the biggest sources of criticism behind LeBron's move was that he joined forces with his primary rivals.
Only a player with a true killer instinct would refuse to make such a move. Does Carmelo have what it takes to buck the recent trend of collusion?
Only time will tell.
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