With Carmelo Anthony’s latest struggles on the court and his bouts with the flu and now with a knee inflammation, one has to wonder if it is time for the Denver Nuggets to seriously start exploring the idea of trading their superstar.
Melo has missed two of the previous six games, left another early due to sickness and was ejected in another. And when he played he has shot only .315 from the field and scored under 20 points in two of the four games he played in. By far his worst stretch of games since coming into the NBA.
Is it, as his representatives threatened before the season, him punishing the Nuggets and showing his displeasure he is still here or is he really sick and injured? Only one person knows the answer and that is Anthony and Denver’s front office shouldn’t gamble the future of the franchise to figure out.
Right or wrong, Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri refuses to consider the idea of trading Anthony (at least for right now) and he has stated that the franchise has no plans of rebuilding. And recent talks makes it sound like Ujiri really believes that.
The team is in talks with offering a contract extension to coach George Karl, despite the recent concerns of his health and without knowing which direction the Nuggets are going to go. And Ujiri has also talked about resigning talented but erratic sixth man JR Smith.
However, if Anthony leaves (which most likely he will) – it might be of the teams interest to part ways with Smith and Karl, as well as other key figures on the team (Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups?). Karl isn’t a good coach for a rebuilding team and Smith’s attitude could be a cancer for a fragile team. And veterans like Martin and Billups each want to play for a competitive team instead of a rebuilding squad.
While some fans believe that when the time comes to trade Anthony the only option is to trade him to New York – because there is a guarantee he’d play there. New Jersey was also an option, but with the Nets early struggles and with recent reports it seems unlike that Anthony wants to play for New Jersey and the Nets aren’t willing to offer their rookie big man Derrick Favors without a guarantee that Anthony will sign the extension.
However, numerous teams have made it apparent that they would trade for Anthony without him signing an extension. Teams like Dallas, Houston, Charlotte and Philadelphia each would make a trade without a guarantee he would play past the end of the year.
The Bobcats and 76ers are among the worst teams in the NBA and also have one of the lowest attendance in the NBA and arguably the biggest thing that Anthony brings (outside of scoring) a winning attitude and attracts fans.
Also as the trade deadline nears also keep an eye on the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls, each have draft picks and key assets that the Nuggets find attractive. They also could be ideal destinations for Anthony with two of more exciting young players, Blake Griffin with the Clippers and Derrick Rose with the Bulls.
While it is unlikely that the Clippers would add Eric Gordon and the Chicago Bulls would offer Joakim Noah, they both have the advantage of rights to potentially high draft picks (Clippers own a Timberwolves pick which is unprotected after next season and the Bulls own a Bobcats pick that is lottery-protected through 2012) and they also have assets that could be valuable in a three-team trade (Chris Kaman and Loul Deng) that might help the Nuggets land a second-tier player like Andre Igoudala or Gerald Wallace.
Tags: Andre Igoudala Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Chicago Bulls Denver Nuggets Eric Gordon George Karl Gerald Wallace Joakim Noah JR Smith Los Angeles Clippers Loul Deng Masai Ujiri New Jersey Nets New York Knicks Philadelphia 76ers