Sure three time all-star Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, who ranked third in PPG last season, is one of the league's great players. And sure, the New Jersey Nets, coming off of a dismal 12-70 performance last season, are in dire need of a high-scoring franchise player. But at what price?
Over the weekend, a deal was set in place that would essentially land Carmelo Anthony in New Jersey, but at a steep cost to the Nets. Derrick Favors, the Nets' third overall pick in this year's draft, All-Star Devin Harris, and two future first-round picks would all be shipped off as part of a blockbuster, four-team trade.
At first sight, this may seem like a great trade in the eyes of a Nets fan, but then again, even the idea of a mediocre season this year would make a Nets fan jump for joy.
However, part of the Nets' free-agent draw this summer was its exceptional potential and great young talent. With budding center Brook Lopez, swingman Terrence Williams, and now college stand-out Derrick Favors, the Nets are perhaps the best option for a star player looking to be the alpha dog that leads a struggling franchise into the postseason.
With tons of cap room cleared, the Nets were looking to add a high contract with absolutely no cost to their young core. A trade would just disrupt everything they have built up, and ultimately, set them back a few steps.
D.J. Augustine, who the Nets would have supposedly received to replace Harris in the trade, is not the ideal replacement for a young, one time All-Star point guard. And let's face it, Troy Murphy is not the future of the Nets power forward position. He is merely an established starter who can mentor Favors until he becomes mature and acclimated enough to start proving his lofty draft position.
In this sense, the Nuggets' high asking price may have actually helped the Nets by breaking down the trade talks completely. Had the deal gone through, Denver would have received much more than perhaps they should have for Anthony. Andre Kirilenko, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks is quite the haul for a team in risk of losing its franchise player to free agency this summer.
Invariably, the Nuggets' demands will go down as the clock ticks away until Anthony escapes their grasp. Perhaps it is best for the Nets to wait until the trade deadline approaches and Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri scrambles to find suitors for his prize player.
Even if they do not wind up winning "Melo-Stakes 2010," all is not lost. In an Eastern Conference where competition is ever increasing, the Bulls and Heat have burst onto the scene as possible title contenders along with Orlando and Boston, it is important that the Nets not rush their rebuilding process. There will be plenty of opportunities to make key signings in a year, or two, or even three. Perhaps LeBron James will even opt out of his Miami Heat contract in three years to come join Jay-Z and the Nets in Brooklyn. One can only dream. But for now, the Nets have to face reality, which isn't too bright, but has a lot of promise.