Carmelo Anthony: Should The Denver Nuggets Trade Him To The Los Angeles Lakers?

Buckus ToothnailContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2011

DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets drives past Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

By now, NBA fans the world over are sick of "The Decision - Part Deux" concerning Denver Nuggets star, Carmelo Anthony.

Will he sign a contract extension with Denver or won't he? 

Will the New Jersey Nets agree to the demands of the Nuggets or won't they?  

Will Melo meet with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov or won't he? 

Will the Knicks give up part of their young roster to trade for him so Melo can get the max money or will they wait until he's a free agent to sign him risking that he is willing to lose millions under the new CBA?

Will the Nuggets trade him to the highest bidder before the Feb. 24th trade deadline so they can get something for him or will they risk being left with nothing like the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James left in free agency?

All the while, the season of the Nuggets have been spiraling down, with no one expecting them to get past the first round of the playoffs, just two years removed from playing in the Western Conference Finals.

The latest in the Melo saga is said to involve a three-way trade involving the Nuggets, the Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Under this proposed deal, the Knicks would send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to the T-Wolves, who would send Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to the Nuggets, who will send Anthony to the Knicks while also getting Wilson Chandler in return.

The problem with this deal is why on earth would the T-Wolves agree to it?

With them currently being in last place in the Western Conference, why would they give up their valuable, high lottery draft pick just to get Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry's expiring contract?

In fact, a T-Wolves source has already told ESPN that the team would not accept such a deal if that is all they would be getting.

This may effectively be the end of the discussion, as the Knicks have very few pieces left they can move without destroying their promising young nucleus that currently has the team in the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, after a long sabbatical from playoff contention.

The fact that this deal is even being discussed shows how increasingly desperate the Nuggets have become.

When compared with what they would have received in their deal with the Nets, including a rash of young talent and numerous future draft picks, the proposed deal with the Knicks is most definitely a downgrade.

As for Carmelo, as much as he wants to play for the Knicks, he needs to accept that he may not be able to do so without sacrificing tens of millions guaranteed by a contract extension this season when the new CBA is hashed out this summer.

All this points to one simple solution: Fugetabout the Knicks and agree to a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Now let's first revisit all the reasons why Melo has said in so many words he wants to leave the Nuggets and play for the Knicks.

First off, he says it's because he's from Brooklyn, and playing for the Knicks would be "me going back home."

However, if this was really such a motivation, he would have at least agreed to consider the trade to the Nets who will be moving to Brooklyn in a couple of seasons. 

The fact that he made very vocal statements to the press about not taking any meetings with the Nets, despite his denials later, shows that just "going back home" wasn't really as big of a reason as he made it out to be.

Melo has also talked about wanting to play for a championship contender.

NEWSFLASH Melo, the Knicks, however improved they are, are not a title contender, even if he joins the team.

While the Knicks have Amar'e Stoudemire and a nice group of young players, their major problem is coach Mike D'Antoni's style of play simply do not win championships.

Yes, it's an exciting style to watch and it can win regular season games, but come the playoffs, it's defense that will always prevail.

And that is one thing that the Knicks don't have and will have even less if Anthony joins the team.

No, what the Knicks need are big men that can play defense and grab double-digit rebounds, neither of which Melo can do well.

Just adding Anthony to the team will just accentuate their current strengths and their weaknesses, and no way a team like that can beat the Celtics, the Heat, the Bulls or the Magic, just to get out of the East.

Now, it's been rumored that the real reason Melo wants out of small media market Denver so badly is because his wife, former MTV host LaLa Vasquez, wants to move back to New York where her former career blossomed so that she can get back into the entertainment industry.

As great as New York might be for the entertainment industry, there's only one place where folks really make it as superstars in the showbiz world and that's Hollywood baby.

Which brings us back to why Melo should forget the Knicks and join the Lakers.

Los Angeles and the Lakers franchise have everything that Melo and LaLa want, save for being "home," though they can always move to Manhattan Beach.

And really, with Melo having grown up in the Red Hook Housing Projects of Brooklyn, is he really going to complain about Bel-Air, Malibu or San Marino?

As for LaLa's entertainment career, despite what Frank sings in "New York, New York," if she hasn't made it in Hollywood, she hasn't made it anywhere.

So L.A. is where she needs to go, as if that wasn't already obvious given her name.

As for winning championships, does that even need to be explained? The last time the Knicks won the title was almost 40 years ago.

The last time the Lakers won? Hmmm...last season?

Now you may be wondering what pieces the Lakers could move to make this trade happen. 

The answer is surprisingly simple.

The Lakers have been dying to get rid of Ron Artest this season.

Despite being an unexpected hero in last year's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Artest has been mostly a liability to the Lakers since been traded to them by the Houston Rockets last season, with surprisingly poor play in the playoffs prior to the Finals.

This season, he is posting up averages of 8.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists, all career lows. He simply does not belong in the triangle offense.

And given his rocky relationship with Lakers coach Phil Jackson and his vocal discontent with his role on the team this season, now is the time for the Lakers to trade him as they focus on winning the final leg of their three-peat.

So what does Denver get? 

For one, being a former Defensive Player of the Year, Artest can still be a lock-down defender and the Nuggets will need all the defense they can get, given that with Melo gone they will have virtually no offense.

And Artest, despite averaging the lowest points of his career with the Lakers, might still be a factor on the offensive end. 

His troubles stem mostly from not fitting in with Jackson's triangle offense, but he may well blossom in Nuggets coach George Karl's more traditional offensive system, having averaged 17.1 points in Houston the year before he joined the Lakers.

Now given the disparity between Melo and Artest's salaries, a straight one-for-one trade wouldn't do. To fill in the gap, the Lakers need to throw in a $8-$10 million player and the only person that fits this bill on their roster is Lamar Odom.

While the Lakers might be hesitant to include Odom, who has been a consistent player for the team this season, a nice turnaround that might earn him NBA Most Improved Player Award consideration, the prospect of getting Melo in return might just be enough.

After all, Melo is a certifiable superstar player in this league and someone that many consider to be the most gifted offensive player in the NBA.

At just 26 years old, he is six years younger than Kobe Bryant and someone that can take up the Lakers franchise mantle after Bryant and Pau Gasol have retired.

If there has been one criticism of the Lakers this season, it's that they are getting old and Melo would alleviate that somewhat.

They would also be getting a league Top 10 scorer, a huge improvement over Artest. While the Lakers would miss Odom's energy off the bench, Melo actually averages more points than Artest and Odom combined

The biggest hit that the Lakers would take in this trade would be in defense; Anthony simply isn't much of a defender. 

But given Artest's slipping defensive prowess this season due to his frustration on the team and with Matt Barnes being able to step-in defensively when needed, Melo's added offense might just more than make up for his lack of defensive abilities.

As for why the Nuggets would agree to this trade, what choice do they have?

If they don't trade him by the Feb. 24 deadline, they lose him forever with nothing in return.

Their other option is getting Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer and a first round draft pick, a deal that will most likely fall through anyway, but really, would they rather have those guys or Ron Artest and Lamar Odom?

The Lakers are also a perfect trade partner for the Nuggets because they have no hesitation in blowing up the salary cap if it means getting quality players. 

The Lakers currently have the highest payroll in the NBA, well deep in luxury tax territory, and given that the new CBA may place a hard salary cap for teams, trading for Melo now may be the Lakers' last chance in spending toward their advantage.

With all the Melo-drama that has engulfed the NBA this season, the solution has been so simple all along. 

Go West, young man, go West!

.*     *     *

Without a major shake-up before the trade deadline, "Laker Disappointment: Is It Inevitable?"

With Melo's fellow 2003 Draft Class buddies LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all playing on the Miami Heat, "Is Mike Miller the Ringo Starr of the Heatles?"

When considering trading Melo for Ron Artest and Lamar Odom, "Do the L.A. Lakers Deserve Three Players in the NBA All-Star Game?"

Joining Melo will be "Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol As Starting 2011 NBA All-Stars? Thank Yao Ming."


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