What if the Nuggets Traded Away Carmelo Anthony Last Summer?

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 12, 2009

DALLAS - MAY 09:  Forward Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball past Antoine Wright #21 of the Dallas Mavericks during the final seconds in Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 9, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As I wrote a year ago, what if the Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony? That type of question can't be answered within one statement but volumes. For one, you must take into account the players returning in the deal, the players going out and the salary cap bonuses or restrictions.

Here was my outlined deal:

Its also likely, the Nuggets wouldn't have been able to afford contracts to key pieces like J.R. Smith and Chris "Birdman" Andersen down the road and without them the current Nuggets are no where near the same team. With Birdman missing, Denver faltered in the 4th Quarter and the Mavericks took Game 4 of their series.

Smith is their best scoring reserve and certainly their most athletic. Without him, points simply aren't being scored off that Denver bench.

Now for the biggest part of the equation: trading Carmelo Anthony.

If the Mark Warkentien pulled the trigger, he would've lost the face of the franchise and questions arise whether Chauncey Billups would've been acquired.

Denver would be without their most consistent scorer; Melo has averaged over 20 points per game in each of his first six seasons as a pro and the best dual threat in the Western Conference north of Kobe Bryant. In addition, Melo is beginning to learn to play defense thanks to the teachings of Team USA, and is developing into the superstar that everyone envisioned of him when he was selected third overall out of Syracuse after leading them to a National Championship as a freshman.

Even with the talent they would have received and lets say the Nuggets tremendously overachieved, there's no way they would finish second in the Western Conference and only a few nights away from advancing to the Conference Finals.

In return though, the Nuggets would have gotten Devin Harris, Anthony Randolph, and Richard Jefferson.

By the way that isn't too bad either.

New Jersey Nets send
Marcus Williams/Devin Harris
Richard Jefferson
10th overall pick
Denver Nuggets send
Carmelo Anthony
Marcus Camby

The Nuggets sent away Marcus Camby later in the summer to the Los Angeles Clippers anyway, but if he would've been traded to the Nets', the ramifications would've been huge.
For starters, Denver wouldn't have flushed away $10 million the way they did by sending him out West for a second round pick. The New Jersey deal would have required Denver to take back over $15 million in salary and in return the Nuggets would have been over the salary cap and in the luxury tax.

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