NBA Free Agents 2011: Carmelo Anthony and 10 Guys To Be Dealt Before Next Summer
Tuning into SportsCenter over the past couple of weeks meant an inundation of news about Carmelo Anthony, the man who will make the next "Decision."
Will he stay a Nugget? Will he neglect to sign an extension with a team when he gets dealt? Will he actually say something that he actually came up with himself?
The answer to all three? Not likely.
Carmelo Anthony poses a severe problem for the Denver Nuggets. His Early Termination Option, or ETO, allows him to cut his contract short at the end of the 2010-2011 season and sign elsewhere.
Which means the Nuggets get exactly what the Miami Heat has won thus far.
However, 'Melo is not the only fella who could be a free agent next summer, meaning a lot of teams could be left with squat.
Therefore, many squads will be looking to deal players with expiring contracts in order to avoid that situation altogether.
Will it work for every team? No.
But the panic is sure fun to watch, so let's see who could be shipped out in order to save some face.
10. Michael Redd
Redd may have more bruises than Rihanna did, but let's clear something up about Milwaukee's swingman.
When healthy, he can light it up.
Redd will not be returning to action until February 2011, which some might view as a negative in his trade value.
However, he was able to rehab and look solid last year after recovering for a similar injury, so why wouldn't a team in the playoff hunt want him coming off the bench?
He's a career 45 percent shooter who averages around 20 points per game. Does that not qualify him as a possible asset?
If a team is still hesitant, look no further than his contract. Redd has the biggest expiring contract on the market, which could be used in a Pau Gasol-esque package to land the Bucks with some more help in a highly competitive Eastern Conference.
The Lakers got their big man with Kwame Brown. Imagine if they traded someone of actual value.
9. Zach Randolph
A lot of people are probably asking, "Randolph just had the best year of his career, why would he possibly be in a position to be dealt?"
Because he just had the best year of his career.
Z-Bo, according to many sources, believes his play merits him a Pau Gasol-like contract extension of three years, $65 million.
While he did have the best year of his career, statements like that are ones that can put players on thin ice with management.
Plus, giving max deals to Rudy Gay and a guy who's never helped his team into a playoff series is no way to run a franchise.
Luckily for Memphis, Randolph's got the goods. His 20.8 points and 11.8 boards per game make him a hot commodity, and having only one year left on his unrestricted $17.3 million deal would put any team who deals for him well under the cap next season.
The Grizz can get some cheaper, younger talent and draft picks, and a contender can get a bruiser to anchor its interior. That's a win-win.
8. Greg Oden
Sorry, Portland fans, but the experiment is over, and it failed.
Hey, you guys can always dream of a Brandon Roy-Kevin Durant hookup. That should make for some nightmares.
Oden has been injury-prone or just unlucky, depending on whether you live in Oregon or the rest of the country.
He has only played 82 games in his three-year career, but has posted a serviceable 9.4 points and 7.3 boards per game.
Serviceable, unfortunately, won't cut it for a team like Portland.
The Blazers were close to advancing out of the first round of the playoffs and it seemed like they needed a scoring threat not named Brandon Roy.
Using Oden's nearly $7 million expiring deal, Portland could acquire someone who will help them contend out West.
Don't be surprised if a lot of teams inquire about the ex-Buckeye. If the Knicks were willing to deal for Eddy Curry, then the entire NBA will ask about acquiring Oden's services.
7. Josh Howard
Josh Howard may not think he's getting traded. More power to him.
He's just wrong.
The Wizards swingman told HoopsHype.com that his team sees him as a "natural-born leader." Which is strange, considering Washington just drafted John Wall, who will be expected to lead right away as well.
So who becomes the actual leader? The franchise player or the guy who's had more off-the-court problems than all of the Wizards combined?
Don't get me wrong, Howard has plenty of talent. He may be banged up to start the year, but his scoring and defensive outputs will make him coveted if on the trading block.
The Wiz will also have extra incentive to deal him, because trading the 30-year-old's nearly $11 million deal could bring in some youth, and help build a core around Wall and Andray Blatche.
Now if someone would just take Arenas...
6. Boris Diaw
Clearly, Boris Diaw is not long for Charlotte.
Which should make him smile ear-to-ear.
The Bobcats had no problem throwing him into the now-nixed Carmelo Anthony trade, and don't be surprised if he doesn't get sent elsewhere very soon.
Why? Because he's the player every good team wants, and his deal is fatty.
Diaw isn't a born-scorer, but his worth is in his IQ. He plays strong individual defense, takes smart shots at a high clip, does a little bit of everything, and most importantly, hustles like Rick Ross.
Charlotte can swap him for bigs to help Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson not get annihilated in the playoffs again.
The team who gets him can either make him a great sixth man, or just use the $9 million deal to get under the cap during the summer.
5. Shane Battier
Shane Battier is one player that every team wants in their locker room due to his leadership.
Sure, he isn't the world's best player. But he's certainly one of the smartest.
The 32-year-old enters the last season of his $7.3 million contract in a strange place.
Houston is in limbo to see how well it does with only limited doses of Yao Ming, leaving the Rockets without a true go-to-guy.
The key to Battier being dealt is truly Yao's health. If the big man can't bring this team back to playoff contention, the swingman is gone.
That may sound confusing, but it makes sense. Without Yao, the Rockets are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, and it may only take one more scorer to help them get in.
Battier will be highly valued due to his expiring deal and his ability to do all the things that don't appear on the stat sheet.
In the Rockets' desperation to get back into the postseason, he may be the first to go.
4. Tayshaun Prince
There is nothing good about the Pistons' current roster.
When a NBA team has essentially only wing players, and the bigs they rely on are all under 6'10", there's a serious problem.
Which is why Prince could be heading out. Detroit desperately needs help inside and does not need any more on the perimeter.
With Richard Hamilton, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum all under long term deals, the Kentucky product becomes the odd man out.
Though he shouldn't complain. The city of Detroit comes in on the attractive meter just below Sarah Jessica Parker.
He may be 30, but Prince still gets the job done on defense.
He's been hounding the top shooting guards and small forwards for quite some time now, and players know that when he's healthy, it's going to be a long night.
Oh, and he's only averaged below double figures in points once in his career. He'll be plenty desired.
3. Jamal Crawford
If a player asks for a trade, it's clear they want out.
Crawford can backpedal all he wants, but the damage has been done. He may say he never asked for one, but the news didn't just come from nowhere.
Luckily for Crawford, there's not only a market for him, but also a huge reason the Hawks should deal him.
Yes, the Hawks have turned down all offers from other teams for the 30-year-old, but as long as there's uncertainty about his future, he could be shipped out as early as tomorrow.
Which is a win for all parties involved.
First, the team that gets Crawford gets a fantastic sixth man and proven scorer.
Next, Atlanta can acquire a big man who won't look (and play) like an Oompa Loompa versus Dwight Howard and other Eastern Conference's bigs.
Last, Crawford can get an extension from a team who isn't as stingy as the Hawks.
You'd think a team that paid Joe Johnson, a guy who is clearly a second option, max dollars would have a fatter checkbook, but apparently not.
2. Mo Williams
No, Williams has not been the subject of trade rumors.
He's been too busy mulling retirement.
Either way, the point guard currently plays for one of the worst teams in the NBA and can't possibly be satisfied in Cleveland.
He talks about being a leader and a loyal teammate, but when you have to lead a roster more fit for the CBA, it's hard to stay loyal to the franchise.
Ergo, he's going to pack his bags.
He's not far removed from his All-Star days, and has the skills to be a point man for nearly every NBA team.
The Cavaliers need draft picks and young talent to build up a new core, and they can use his $9 million deal for those ends.
However, they will also need another LeBron James to show up. Otherwise, this franchise will join the rest of its cities' teams in the cellars of their respective sports.
1. Carmelo Anthony...and The Nearly All The Nuggets
Kenyon Martin, you may want to kiss the city of Denver good-bye.
Or have your wife do it. She seems to give noticeable kisses.
Carmelo Anthony is surely not the only Nugget on the trading block, as Denver has made everyone not named Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson available. If the Nugs are going to lose Carmelo, they will do it in style.
Florida Marlins, circa 1997, style.
Expect a fire sale in one of America's coldest venues. Anthony, Martin, Nene, J.R. Smith and many more could be donning new jerseys before next summer.
Many of the Nuggets players can leave after this season, and they could wind up with no one of any consequence.
Literally. Their roster could essentially be Chris Andersen, Renaldo Balkman and Al Harrington, which could easily merit a franchise name change to the Denver Stooges.
'Melo is the piece that triggers it all. If he gets traded, Denver will likely use its expiring contracts to acquire draft picks, young talent and hopefully a lot of ping pong balls.
The good news is that, historically, Denver is used to its basketball team being awful. So it's not a huge transition.