I've gone back and forth a few times about 'Melo, and finally have my thoughts together. Sunday 3 a.m. deadlines can do that to you.
I'd say more than 30 percent of the hype that has come around Carmelo is because now headline writers can make snappy 'MeloDrama' puns.
But now that's out of the way, we can focus on the real thing: Carmelo Anthony has played this thing terribly from day one.
If he knows he wants to leave, he shouldn't be popping up with quotes like "maybe I'll sign an extension in Denver."
That's bullcrap, and we all know it. Stringing along the Denver fans is just as cruel as what LeBron did.
Secondly, if Carmelo goes to the Nets, it would probably work out well for him. He'd get an owner that will spend, an impending move to Brooklyn, and no other superstar to trade possessions with. The Nuggets would also get better value from the Nets, without really gutting their team of Brook Lopez, who would do well with Carmelo there.
Billups provides steady leadership and without knuckleheads like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin around, they could put together a team that probably wouldn't implode, like the Nuggs tend to do around the first round.
But if what we all suspect is true, and Carmelo wants to go to the New York Knicks, then things are going to go very badly for him.
What's the smartest thing for Carmelo to do?
If he was smart, he would play out the rest of the season with the Nuggets and sign with the Knicks in the offseason.
Why? Well, for several reasons.
In a trade for Melo, the Knicks would gut their team. No more Danilo, Wilson Chandler, maybe even Felton and Landry Fields. That leaves the Knicks surrounded by a bunch of stiffs, and two players who've had alpha dog issues in the past—neither of whom is particularly skilled in anything but scoring.
One would have to guess that if the trade is made, Carmelo could finally sign that 3-year $65 million extension, saving himself money in case contracts are lowered with the new CBA.
But this is also bad news for the Knicks.
Carmelo, with his fresh extension, would be making more than $20 mil a year, along with Amare's max contract that would also make him more than $20 million per year.
Sure, those two players get their payday, but what happens if there's a hard cap? What if it's a hard $60 million cap, and two players are taking more than two-thirds of that?
Suddenly the Knicks are trying to play like Miami Heat, filling in other, important positions with role players who A) aren't allowed to shoot and B) must defend, rebound, block and do all the dirty work.
As much as the Miami Heat have put it together this season, they're doing it with LeBron James, who can literally do anything on the basketball court better than 90% of other players, in the lead.
They'd then be locked into that situation for three more seasons. There's even rumors of the exceptions disappearing too, which would further hurt the Knicks.
If Carmelo was smart (and from the way he's handled this, that's no assumption) he would play the season out, and sign with the Knicks as a free agent.
That way he's joining a team that has players like Wilson Chandler, Landry Fields, Danilo Galinari, and most importantly, Ray Felton, who are going to need to feed the ball to two very hungry monsters in Melo and Amare.
Sure, he'll be signing for less money under the new CBA (most likely), but let's be real. As the face of a newly rejuvenated franchise in the mecca of basketball, I think Carmelo can make up some differences with off-the-court endorsements.
So, if Melo goes ahead with this trade before Thursday's deadline, I think we can see clearly that maybe winning isn't as important as having money and being in New York.
That's not something I'm too interested in having in here, if that's the attitude. We've seen how he can sulk through a season while waiting to go to greener pastures (despite being in the thick of the playoff race in the West). So what happens if he and Amare can't share (like Iverson and Anthony couldn't? Like Amare and Shawn Marion couldn't)?
Then you've got some trouble in the big apple that even Isiah Thomas can't fix.
If there's really anyone to blame for this all, it's Melo. He's played it so poorly. It started when he didn't secure an opt out in the summer of 2010 like his fellow Class of 2003ers, and he has prolonged the agony by feeding fake scoops and rumors out, all the while saying he might stay in Denver after all.
As an aside, as a member of media, I can't help but not feel sorry for Melo when he says "I'm so tired of this, I just want all to go away."
Only you can make it go away, Carmelo—and we're going to learn a lot about you when it does go away, hopefully for good.