Could this really be the end to the MeloDrama? And the obvious answer be of course not, this is a just another story in many months of drama.
When it came out that New Jersey Nets owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov was on his way to America from Russia, the rumors started. He was coming to the U.S. to meet with Carmelo Anthony, it was to seal the deal with the Denver Nuggets and make Melo the face of the Nets franchise. But the Russian threw a curveball to the media that has thrived throughout the MeloDrama – Melo trade is off.
Prokhorov told the media before the Nets hosted the Utah Jazz Wednesday night that:
“I’m not happy with the way … this deal has gone until now. It has taken too long. It has been played out in public and it certainly has taken a toll on the players and I believe that it has cost us several games. I think management did a great job, but there comes a time when the price is simply too expensive. I’m instructing our team to walk away from the deal.”
While it could be a curveball in order to stop the rumor mill and let the trade dry up before picking it up again closer to the trade deadline (Feb. 24). But if what Prokhorov said is true it means the Nuggets need to come up with a backup plan with Anthony. Whether it is to hold on to him for the rest of the season or trade him to the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls or Los Angeles Clippers.
- OPTION #1: The Nuggets hold on to Anthony, let the team play out the rest of the season and gamble with the chances he signs the extension this offseason.
While the Nuggets front office obviously don’t want to lose Melo for nothing, they also don’t want to lose revenue at the Pepsi Center the rest of the season if they trade him. If this is the direction they decide to go, they could have nearly $30 million (if Anthony decides to sign with another team – aka the Knicks) to spend this offseason.
They also could get some help with the CBA, not only because Anthony could lose $20 million and be forced to sign the extension, but also if the League’s decides to add a Franchise Tag (which is what the owners want, and the players obviously don’t) similar to what the NFL has. If this is the case, the Nuggets could just slap the Franchise Tag on Anthony and call it good.
- OPTION #2: Denver finds a deal with another team that wants to rent Melo the rest of the season.
While the list isn’t long, but there is a list. Both Dallas and Houston would both be willing to make an offer, which is far less than what the Nets were offering. But the Nuggets could land some young players (Aaron Brooks, Patrick Patterson, Rodrigue Beaubois or Chase Budinger). While it isn’t ideally what the front office wanted, at least they have some players they can build with. It also frees up money so they can add a player like Jeff Green or Marc Gasol.
- OPTION #3: The Clippers.
Since Day 1 of the MeloDrama the Clippers have been a Wild Card and if Melo is telling the truth about going somewhere where he has the best chance to win, Los Angeles’ other team is it.
Putting Anthony next to Rookie/All-Star Blake Griffin could be the best duo in the League.
Of course it all depends on what Denver wants back in return. The three most valuable chips the Clippers have is the rights to Minnesota’s first round draft pick (top-10 protected in 2011 and unprotected in 2012), Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu.
While Gordon is most likely not to be dealt, Aminu and the draft pick could be a nice backup plan for the Nuggets. But in order to get Gordon, the Nuggets would more than likely have to add much improved Arron Afflalo into the mix.
- OPTION #5: Make a trade with the Knicks, putting an end to all of the drama. While it is not what the team wants to do, but it becomes the most apparent direction.
Donnie Walsh is trying to land draft picks to throw in a trade for Melo (Minnesota does own the rights to Memphis’s pick – which is protected-top-14 in 2011, top-12 in 2012, top-10 2013…) but it might come down to the Knicks giving up picks to go along with Landry Fields, Anthony Randolph, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler to get Melo and it might be too steep of a price to get the superstar forward.
Obviously for any deal to be completed a third, and possibly fourth team would have to be involved. And one team to look at is the Cleveland Cavaliers and their 13 game losing streak. One player that they were opposed to trade earlier this season, Anderson Varajeo, is out for the rest of the season and is also a player the Nuggets really like.
But again, by no means is this the end of the MeloDrama.