As Carmelo Anthony’s departure from Denver seems eminent, at least in the eyes of New York fans and ESPN, it might be time to start evaluating what the Nuggets could get in return if they are forced to trade him before he signs the extension.
Nuggets fans may see Anthony’s departure as the end of hope, but if the team plays its cards right trading the franchise’s greatest player could be more of an end of era. Denver won’t get a Dwight Howard or even a Derrick Rose in return, but it could get a package similar to what the Minnesota Timberwolves got when they traded Kevin Garnett (Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, future 1st and Theo Ratliff’s expiring contract).
Also, it would bring a different type of squad to Denver, unlike the squad that the Nuggets have now that depends more on their talent than their heart. With the idea Denver may be seeking in return is help with their beat up frontcourt and some depth. Here are five trade scenarios (in alphabetic order) worth looking at:
CHARLOTTE:Carmelo Anthony for Gerald Wallace, Nazr Mohammed, Gerald Henderson and Charlotte’s 2012 first pick (protected).
LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS TRADED: 2008, Denver trades pick (Alexis Ajinca) to Charlotte.
WHY IT WORKS FOR CHARLOTTE: While Anthony would doubtfully sign an extension with the Bobcats, he would give Charlotte fans a reason to watch the team that had the ninth fewest attendance. Also it might be enticing to Michael Jordan to have a superstar like Anthony on his team and the Bobcats would have a team similar to the squad that Larry Brown coached when his Allen Iverson-lead team went to the 2001 NBA Finals.
WHY IT WORKS FOR DENVER: Wallace isn’t a replacement for Anthony, but he had an All-Star like season last year and played his best season, not to mention he led all small forwards in rebounds due to his hustle and heart. He is also one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, which is a reason why it would work well for the Nuggets, a team with plenty of scorers on the team but not enough defenders. Mohammed is a solid veteran with an expiring contract and Gerald Henderson had a terrible opening season but still has potential.
STARTING LINEUP: C-Nene, PF-Al Harrington, SF-Gerald Wallace, SG-Arron Afflalo, PG-Chauncey Billups
BENCH: Nazr Mohammed, Chris Andersen, Gerald Henderson, JR Smith, Ty Lawson
CHICAGO: Carmelo Anthony for Loul Deng, Taj Gibson, James Johnson and two first round picks (Chicago’s and Charlotte’s 2011 picks)
LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS TRADED: Denver acquires JR Smith for Howard Eisley and two second round picks in 2008.
WHY IT WORKS FOR CHICAGO: With Anthony the Bulls would be at or better than the Heat or Magic squad and a lineup of Rose, Anthony, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah would be the best lineup the Bulls have had since the Jordan days.
WHY IT WORKS FOR DENVER: While Deng does have a unfriendly contract ($51.351/4 years), he is a solid addition to a playoff team. He can score, defend and rebound and has a high basketball IQ. Gibson showed a lot of potential after his first year in the NBA and could be a consistent starter in the League. Johnson didn’t show a lot during his first year but has the intelligence to be a solid role player in the NBA. The Bulls also own the Charlotte pick next year and can give the Nuggets a package of picks.
STARTING LINEUP: C-Nene, PF-Taj Gibson, SF-Loul Deng, SG-Arron Afflalo, PG-Chauncey Billups
BENCH: Chris Andersen, Al Harrington, JR Smith, Ty Lawson
DETROIT: Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, JR Smith, Renaldo Balkman for Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerekbo, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe and first round pick.
LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS TRADED: Detroit traded Arron Afflalo and Walter Sharpe for Denver’s second-round pick.
WHY IT WORKS FOR DETROIT: The addition of Anthony, Martin and Smith would make the Pistons competitive and if it doesn’t work out they freed up some cap room by dealing Maxiell and Hamilton.
WHY IT WORKS FOR DENVER: While it is doubtful the Nuggets would go this route, but they would have a deep versatile squad that would still compete with the addition of Hamilton, Prince and Gordon. They also add two young players with potential in Monroe and Jerekbo. However, they also would add Hamilton’s contract ($37.95/3 years), Maxiell’s ($15 million/3 years) and Gordon’s ($48 million/4 years), but the trade would give the Nuggets a group of smart, hard working players that the fans could root for.
STARTING LINEUP: C-Nene, PF-Al Harrington, SF-Tayshaun Prince, SG-Rip Hamilton, PG-Chauncey Billups
BENCH: Chris Andersen, Jason Maxiell, Jonas Jerekbo, Greg Monroe, Arron Afflalo, Ben Gordon, Ty Lawson
HOUSTON: Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith Renaldo Balkman for Kevin Martin, Shane Battier, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Houston’s 2011 first round pick and New York’s 2012 first round pick.
LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS TRADED: Rockets traded James White for the draft rights to Axel Hervelle.
WHY IT WORKS FOR HOUSTON: The Rockets are one of the few teams that Carmelo Anthony is rumored to be willing to play for and he’d give the Rockets a bigger, healthier version of the Tracy McGrady they had in the past. They also can get a younger, cheaper version of Martin in Smith and Anthony gets to play with a legit big man in Yao Ming – if he is healthy.
WHY IT WORKS FOR DENVER: While it isn’t the most promising group that the Nuggets could get, but Patterson, Budinger and Hill all have potential to be good players. Battier is a like a coach on the floor and Martin could come off the bench and give the team a spark similar to Smith.
STARTING LINEUP: C-Nene, PF-Jordan Hill, SF-Shane Battier, SG-Arron Afflalo, PG-Chauncey Billups
BENCH: Chris Andersen, Patrick Patterson, Al Harrington, Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin, Ty Lawson
LA CLIPPERS: Carmelo Anthony for Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman
LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS TRADED: Nuggets traded Cheik Samb to the Clippers for cash.
WHY IT WORKS FOR THE CLIPPER: A team of Baron Davis, Anthony and Blake Griffin could make the Clippers competitive in the Western Conference. It would also open up some playing time for Los Angeles’s promising young big man DeAndre Jordan and Anthony would give fans a reason to come out and watch the other Los Angeles team play (the Clippers had the 11th worst attendance last season).
WHY IT WORKS FOR THE NUGGETS: They get a duo of young players in Gordon and Aminu. Gordon’s favorite player growing up was Billups and he would thrive playing next to his hero. Aminu has potential and Kaman gives the team the center it has been missing since trading Marcus Camby.
STARTING LINEUP: C-Chris Kaman, PF-Nene, SF-Al-Farouq Aminu, SG-Eric Gordon, PG-Chauncey Billups
BENCH: Chris Andersen, Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo, JR Smith, Ty Lawson
ANSWER: Richard Hamilton (Connecticut, 1999; Detroit, 2004), Nazr Mohammed (Kentucky, 1996; San Antonio, 2005)
(Photos by Jonathan Maness)
Topics: Al-Farouq Aminu, Ben Gordon, Carmelo Anthony, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Chris Kaman, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Eric Gordon, Gerald Wallace, Greg Monroe, JR Smith, Kenyon Martin, Kevin Martin, Loul Deng, Patrick Patterson, Renaldo Balkman, Richard Hamilton, Shane Battier, Taj Gibson, Tayshaun Prince