The Denver Nuggets entire 2010-2011 season has been defined by the on-going drama with Carmelo Anthony.
The soap opera will come to an end at some point in the month of February.
In the meantime the Nuggets are still poised to make the playoffs and could use the assets acquired in a ‘Melo deal. Getting the right guy could save the season.
On the other hand, sacrificing this year for the next five may be a much better idea.
Here are 10 players who can help the Nuggets down the stretch-run of this season or down the road for the next half-decade.
Poor Jamison jumped on the Cavs bandwagon at the worst possible time. Now he is stuck on a sinking ship and needs a team to throw him a life jacket.
‘Melo isn’t going to the Cavs, but in an attempt to shed payroll, Cleveland could be a third-wheel in a ‘Melo deal.
Jamison would provide the veteran sixth-man role to the Nuggets and Denver will be better for it come playoff time.
He would also fill the void if Kenyon Martin is traded as well.
The Lakers are in panic mode and maybe they dangle the young Andrew Bynum in the Nuggets face.
The Nuggets need a large center with a defensive presence and would stay competitive in the Western Conference with Bynum.
If he can ever stay healthy, Bynum could turn into a franchise player for the Nuggets.
But the rest of the NBA screams in horror as 'Melo is teamed up with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
The 33-year old Terry is still getting it done, averaging 15.6 points and 4.5 assists per game.
Imagine a backcourt that featured Terry and Billups with Ty Lawson, J.R. Smith and Aaron Afflalo off the bench?
That’s a deadly group of guards and a potential season saver for the Nugs.
The Mavs have been brought up in ‘Melo trade rumors as they struggle to stay in the class of the Western Conference. A big name like Terry would have to be involved for the Nuggets to bite.
Denver would have to deal with watching the Mavs trot out Dirk and Melo on the court together.
The Clippers surely aren't the No. 1 team that Carmelo wants to end up with, but it's L.A. and his wife's name is L.A. times two. Lala Anthony can pursue her acting career and Melo can play in the second biggest market.
Kaman would finally give the Nuggets a true center that has been missing since Marcus Camby was traded. Playing in the shadow of Blake Griffin, the 28-year-old Kaman is still putting up 10.5 points and seven rebounds a game.
He would provide a big presence down low and could turn into a rebounding machine in the Nuggets high-powered offense.
It looks as if the career of Yao is coming to an end and the Nuggets couldn’t expect anything on the court from him. The team will be in worse shape for the rest of the season but it’s a move for the long-term future.
Yao’s $17M expiring contract would bring an insane amount of cap relief to the Nuggets. Couple that with the expiring deal of Kenyon Martin and the Nuggets could sign two big-name free agents this offseason.
The Rockets have a lot of valuable pieces for Denver and Yao is a big one.
The Rockets have emerged as a contender in the Carmelo sweepstakes and the assets they could give Denver are pretty intriguing.
Martin is a premier scorer in the NBA and would be able to take over the scoring load from Carmelo relatively easily.
The concern is with his defense. Martin doesn’t have the greatest footwork and has been burned by most guards in the league.
He would fit right in Denver’s run-and-gun system, bad defense and all, but if the next player was included in the deal...the combo would do wonders for the Nuggets.
The 32-year-old Battier is getting older, but he is still one of the premier defensive players in the NBA. He is the sort of lock-down defender the Nuggets have to have if they ever want to be a championship contender.
Getting a piece like Battier for Melo would give veterans like Chauncey Billups a reason to still believe in the season.
He could also be a solid piece in the Nuggets rotation for the next two-three years.
Would the Warriors trade for Carmelo and trade Ellis in the process?
The odds are a long shot but the rumor mill has spun this possibility around of late.
The Nuggets already proficient offense with Ellis?
Pretty sure the team would average 120 points a game.
The Nuggets would play at a break-neck pace and bring their disgruntled fan base back to the Pepsi Center.
The Nets may have told the public they are no longer interested in 'Melo, but nobody believes them.
They still desperately want a face for their new franchise in Brooklyn and 'Melo is an obvious choice. If the trade does go through, the Nets would send rookie Derrick Favors to the Nuggets.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft has gotten off to a slow start. His averages of 6.6 points and five rebounds don't pop off the page.
Favors is a project but his potential is tantalizing. The 6'10", 250-pound center can jump with the best of 'em and can be an enforcer around the rim if he bulks up 10-to-15 pounds.
He is a potential franchise player for the Nuggets who can be a star in the next two or three years.
But this year would be thrown out the window and that may not sit well with Billups.
The ultimate head scratcher. That's him in the background and it's a great example of Randolph's tenure in New York.
The Knicks are obsessed with trading for 'Melo and are trying everything to make it happen.
Randolph has been collecting splinters on the Knicks bench as he has only played in 15 games, averaging a mere two points and 2.6 rebounds a contest.
He is the biggest reason the Nuggets don't pull the trigger on a deal.
They don't believe in Randolph.
That's a mistake.
He averaged almost 12 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Warriors last year in only 22 minutes a night.
He is only 21 and is 6'11". He is a terrific free-throw shooter for a big man and could run the floor with the No. 1 offense in the NBA.
Randolph would be a bargain for the Nuggets and would thrive with more minutes and a chance to go through the necessary growing pains.
He could be a key to the Nuggets for the next decade if given the opportunity.