The first thing you have to do when looking at the Carmelo Anthony-Denver Nuggets situation is realize one thing... Carmelo Anthony is not LeBron James.
The two superstars don't have the same game, and they don't have the same demeanor.
If you watch Anthony in interviews, and even on his wife's reality show, you see who lives up to his nickname: 'Melo (as in mellow).
Unlike James, who has been dissected and psychoanalyzed in order to find out why he made his decision on the "Decision," you'll know exactly why Anthony signs with whatever team he ends up with.
Because he'll tell you. Straight up. Without hesitation.
And here's why he's going to have a sick season this year on the court.
Unlike LeBron, who seemed to play tight throughout the playoffs last year for the Cavaliers, Anthony doesn't seem to feel the same pressure in Denver.
Probably because it isn't his hometown. Regardless if that is the only reason or not, you got the feeling James wanted to win one so that Ohio could get off his back and he could go relive his high school years by playing with a bunch of friends that he wants to play with.
If Anthony doesn't win a title this year, he will thank the Denver faithful and head on to his next destination.
To this day, we don't really know who is advising James at times.
He didn't really have a father figure, and he has surrounded himself with guys he grew up with, who don't necessarily have the business savvy or life experience that he might be able to get elsewhere.
Since day one, Carmelo has had a relationship with Michael Jordan. Because they are business partners, Anthony seems to know exactly what he wants to do on and off the court.
I'm not saying that Jordan is the puppet master, just that he might know a thing or two about being a great basketball player and marketing oneself.
Whether Anthony leaves or stays in Denver, it won't be because of his coach.
Anthony and George Karl seem to have a strong relationship. After meeting with his star player before the preseason, Karl told a local Denver radio station that Anthony has made a commitment to him to become an even better defender and team leader.
Karl was smart enough not to talk contracts and money with Anthony when they met, and only talk about how Carmelo could become a better player.
And Anthony will continue to improve.
Because the team remembers what happened in both Cleveland and Toronto, they refuse to be left praying that their star player stays.
The Nuggets seem committed to making sure they don't waste the year. And if it is the last one with Anthony, they will go out with a bang, by putting the best team out there that they can.
And if possible, getting something in return if Carmelo does blow town.
Chauncey Billups continues to prove that he is a winner.
As the point guard for the US team this summer, he led them to their first FIBA World Championships gold medal in 16 years (with the help of some guy named Durant).
He is the best point guard that Anthony has ever played with, and the Nuggets refuse to trade him. He will continue to push Carmelo to get better.
The Nuggets hope that they are upgrading their power forward spot by starting Al Harrington in place of Kenyon Martin, who will miss a portion of the season with injuries.
They also hope that Ty Lawson will be a bigger piece to the puzzle.
Overall, with Anthony, Lawson, Chauncey Billups, JR Smith, Harrington, Arron Afflalo, Martin and Chris Andersen, the Nuggets feel they are a strong contender in the West.
The final piece would, of course, be a healthy George Karl on the sideline.
Anthony has stated in several interviews that his wife is fine with wherever he decides to sign.
She will still be able to pursue her Hollywood career, because she was doing that even before they met.
With no stress coming from his home, Anthony will be able to concentrate more on the court.
Because of the Los Angeles Lakers being the two-time champions and the up and coming Oklahoma City team stealing the rest of the West thunder (pun intended), no one is talking about Denver.
With Kenyon Martin saying he isn't in a hurry to get back, the team continues to seem to be a bit dysfunctional.
So while they are under the radar, they will have time to figure out what they have in Al Harrington and let Anthony get into his groove.
Every conversation involving the NBA and the upcoming season seems to revolve around the Miami Heat.
So while the Heat, Lakers, OKC and even the Boston Celtics are being hyped as title contenders, Anthony has even more to play for.
If Anthony can get his team back into the conversation of title chasers, that is just another feather in his cap.
I was just reading a breakdown of players at the small forward position on ESPN, and I realized that they have Carmelo Anthony as a second-tier player.
The first tier consisted of: 1. Kevin Durant; 2. LeBron James and Danny Granger. (Granger? Really?)
The reasoning for KD over James makes sense. As far as statistics goes, LeBron will have to split his three ways, whereas Durant is the team leader.
But Granger over Anthony is a tough one for me.
Especially when 'Melo has to share the tier with guys like Gerald Wallace, Andre Iguodala and Joe Johnson.
I'm sure someone in his camp or on the team will bring this list up to him.
So if there has ever been a season where Anthony has something to prove, it's this one.