As far as rumors go where there is smoke there is usually fire. Unless there is some serious posturing going on the Lakers are trying to find a way to spice up their season and bring Carmelo Anthony into the fold. Currently the discussion about what to do with Carmelo Anthony has to be causing many sleepless nights in Denver's front office. This month will finally bring some resolution to the Carmelo saga. The running storyline of the season. If Anthony does make it to L.A. you can officially pencil the Lakers into the Conference Finals, and that is being conservative. But there are still many questions about what this trade would do to the Lakers, Nuggets, Anthony etc.
It is understandable that big men can take a long time to develop. Perhaps Andrew Bynum will be an even later bloomer than normal. Perhaps he needs a change of scenery to become the focal point of an offense. But if Bynum does go to the Nuggets with a First round pick and a mid-range salary like Steve Blake, will he finally blossom? Or will the intensity of living and training in the high altitude be the last straw for the oft-injured big man?
Ron Artest can be the glue piece to a championship contender, or he can put up 20+ a game for an also-ran lottery-bound franchise. At his age though 18 a night is more likely in that scenario. While it has been debated as to whether or not Ron-Ron asked to be traded one thing is for certain trading Carmelo to the Lakers presents a line-up issue for the team as both Anthony and Artest are best fits at the small forward position. If Artest truly was upset about his role on the team, coming off the bench as a defensive specialist will surely send him up a wall. Based on salaries alone including Bynum and Artest for Anthony straight would take care of long-term and short term salary implications. This brings me to my next question.
Everyone in the NBA knows aside from the aura of playing in Madison Square there is nothing quite like the sizzle and spark of a hot Lakers team sweeping through the playoffs. If Anthony does make it to L.A. and they make it deep in the playoffs, perhaps even winning a championship how could he possibly walk away? He would have the big market he's looking for, a talented team in its Prime, and his wife could surely find a gig or two in the bustling entertainment world that is Los Angeles. The only question that comes into play is would the Lakers do what it takes to accommodate his salary demands?
Many times throughout his career we have seen Bryant dictate to the team his terms. We have also seen Bryant play well with elite talent, even carving out a role that best suits the team in its ultimate goal. So is this trade being pushed for by Bryant? Is he willing to revert to the Olympic games Kobe Bryant in order to get his next championship ring? Or will we see another fantastic team with chemistry issues? How these two would play together is the ultimate factor in the long-term implications this trade would have.
At this point in time it is highly unlikely that Carmelo would stay in Denver without signing an extension, which is also highly unlikely. So this trade situation begs the question of who will lose their job if Melo walks this summer in exchange for a clean locker and an available number #15 jersey that the Nuggets can assign to any player they want?
The potential of this trade going through has got to be keeping Donnie Walsh and Mike D'antoni up as well. After all, when the Nets trade fell through they had the market cornered for Anthony's services. But with this being a very real possibility they have to be thinking "We've got to get him by the deadline!" The last question for Carmelo has to be, do I want to play for Phil or Mike?
These questions all have to be answered in some fashion by the trade deadline. However there are possibly many more that will be answered in the weeks to come. This move could have historic implications if it goes through. Aside from ripping the foundation out of the Nuggets franchise, possibly sending them back to the pre-McDyess days, it could vault Kobe & Co. to a three-peat, while setting them up for more potential glory. It also alters the assumed balance of power between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, as now the West will keep one of its brightest stars. Yet with all these questions one thing is for certain answers will not come easily. It looks almost for certain that Carmelo will be wearing a new uniform coming very soon, which one will that be is the only question that really matters.