After the summer of LeBron James, we thought we were done speculating endlessly over player’s futures. However, one big fish remains: Carmelo Anthony.
It’s no secret that Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver, and whether he plays out his contract or not, Anthony’s days wearing a Nuggets uniform are numbered. Regarding his situation in Denver, Anthony told Yahoo Sports, “It’s time for a change.”
Read between the lines all you want, but Carmelo Anthony isn’t staying in Denver regardless of how the team does. That raises the question, when should the Nuggets trade Carmelo Anthony? The answer is now.
We just witnessed a team in the Cleveland Cavaliers go from being the most exciting team in the league, to being stuck in NBA hell after LeBron James bolted for Miami. The Cavs were left empty-handed, without a franchise player, holding a one-way ticket to the bottom of the eastern conference.
Frankly, it could be years, if not decades, before the Cavaliers recover. Financially, their cap is strung with a series of long-term contracts, such as Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, and Anderson Varejao. Who knows when the Cavs will strike gold in the lottery again?
Not only are Cavs going to lose a lot of games, but they’re going to lose even more money. The Cavs frequently packed their arena with passionate fans, and night after night appeared on national television. The amount of revenue that the Cavs are expected to lose from LeBron's decision is tremendous.
The debacle caused irreparable damage to the Cavs and the city of Cleveland.
The Toronto Raptors were facing an even more similar situation. It was evident Bosh was leaving Toronto before the season even started, however Brian Colangelo continued to believe that Bosh could be convinced to stay. Instead, Bosh gave minimum effort toward the end of the season and essentially quit on the team in midst of its playoff push.
Getting back to Denver, they’re in the same sort of situation as the Cavs were last summer, except with Denver, there’s no chance Anthony is going to resign. With LeBron James, we didn’t know for sure if he was signing with Miami. No one knew where LeBron James was going until the infamous words “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” came out of his mouth. The Nuggets don’t have to deal with such uncertainty. Anthony has made it clear that he’s leaving.
Originally the Nuggets had a deal planned that would send Anthony to New Jersey in exchange for multiple first-round picks and the third-overall pick of last year’s draft, Derrick Favors. The Nuggets then talked to a number of teams ranging from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Golden State Warriors. However, Anthony remained reluctant to play for any team other than the Knicks. But that shouldn’t stop the Nuggets from ceasing trade talks.
This Nuggets team has no chance of winning the title even with Anthony. It lacks a big man to match up with the Lakers long frontline, and nothing separates the Nuggets from the West’s second-tier teams, such as Utah, Oklahoma City, and Dallas.
So why should the Nuggets just delay the inevitable by hanging on to Anthony? Yes, if you’re Denver, you’re not going to get equal value in return for Anthony, but multiple first-round picks and a young player in Favors whom you market to your fans is certainly not a bad offer. It’s a far better offer than what the Cavs got for LeBron James, and far better than what the Raptors got for Chris Bosh.
In the NBA, only about four teams have a legitimate chance to win a title, and if you’re not one of those teams, you are either going up or going down. The Nuggets appear to be on the downturn, and they might have to start from rock bottom. A Carmelo Anthony trade will likely give them a new franchise player to build around. Remember, when trading a top 10 player in the NBA, you will never get equal value in return. But the Nuggets desperately need a young piece to build around.
Getting a trade done is going to be very painful, especially for Nuggets fans. But for the long-term future, it must be done now. Each day closer to the February trade deadline, Anthony’s value goes down. Carmelo Anthony is an east coast guy, and he wants to win now. There’s no reason to keep him hanging around Denver any longer.