13 People who turned their backs on the Denver Nuggets

These former Nuggets did not leave on the best terms.
Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala
Denver Nuggets, Andre Iguodala / Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Carmelo Anthony

Melo turned the Nuggets around. They had missed the playoffs eight straight years before he arrived and were coming off a dark period. Denver made a 26-win improvement in Anthony’s first year and started a run of ten consecutive postseason berths. Melo was an elite scorer from the moment he entered the league, but frustrations mounted over the years.

Every top player wants to win championships. The Nuggets were making the playoffs but struggled to get past the first round. They changed coaches and supporting cast members, but the result was five straight round-one exits before finally making the conference finals in 2009. The Nuggets lost to the eventual champion Lakers and made another first-round exit the following year.

Carmelo refused a contract extension with the Nuggets in 2010, which forced the team’s hand. They could not let him reach free agency and potentially walk out the door with zero return. Denver had to trade Melo, and Anthony was happy with the result.

The Nuggets reached the playoffs without him for three straight years, and Carmelo Anthony did not find much postseason success in New York. He was an elite scorer, and Denver wanted to keep their star. Ultimately, it was Anthony who forced his way out of town.