Carmelo Anthony Trade Makes Little Sense for Any Team, Nets Included
Russian billionaire and owner of the New Jersey Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov, said on Wednesday night that the Nets are no longer pursuing a trade that would bring Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey. Whether or not that was a negotiating ploy to scare Denver into making a deal remains to be seen, but we’re advising against New Jersey making a deal unless they’re assured he will sign a contract extension. The Nets and Nuggets had been in discussions for months, reportedly nearly reaching a deal that would have included the Detroit Pistons and up to 17 players.
Anthony has made it known that he only wants to play for the Knicks. The Nuggets reportedly don’t like what the Knicks have to offer, though recently Knicks GM Donnie Walsh said he believes he can acquire multiple first-round picks from other teams to send to Denver. The Nuggets presumably would also get Landry Fields, Bill Walker, Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler, and the expiring contract of Eddy Curry as part of deal. But this presents a problem; the team would be significantly weakened just to bring him in, making them less of a contender, and therefore less appealing.
Any team other than the Knicks would be giving up a lot to get a rental for half a season (Melo’s contract expires after the season, but he does have an option for next year). The Rockets have been mentioned as a potential suitor, but they’re not close to contending for anything, so giving up young talent for a few months of Anthony doesn’t make sense. The Thunder has also come out as a possibility. They have a young, talented team that Anthony could probably put over the top as far as contending, but it’s hard to imagine the Brooklyn-born, Baltimore-raised Anthony choosing to stay in Oklahoma City when New York City is waiting.
I know the CBA situation makes things a little more complicated — Anthony could potentially be leaving a lot of money on the table by not signing an extension before the season ends — but if he does wait it out, the Knicks will remain basically intact, minus possibly Chandler. The team could still make a trade to acquire a first-round pick for Anthony Randolph as they would have done in the trade for Anthony. That’s really the only scenario that puts Anthony where he wants to be while also giving him and the team a chance to win. Anything else is going to cost more than it’s worth.