Having just watched the Nets game I am now convinced that the Nuggets aren't going to get a whole lot for Melo. Favors is not a potential superstar hence why NJ is so willing to give him up. I believe the Nuggets need to be looking for bigger fish, the problem is that there are sacrifices that must be made and risks that must be taken. There is very little short term hope anyway. The one thing that is not acceptable to me is to be consistently mediocre. GS, Toronto, Milwaukee are all examples of teams that try to rebuild on the fly and we'll see how well Cleveland does. Exceptional teams become champions and they have exceptional players. We have to get a exception player back somehow in Melo trade to have hope.
Premise - Scoring forwards and scoring guards are going to be able to be found by a good GM. The NBA is littered with quality guards who where not highly valued initially. Even quality PF's can be found in the second round. In fact, as Andew points out every year, there is alwasy a quality PF at the top of the second round. It is the quality centers who are very rare, who only come along every once in a while. Even the mediocre centers are vvalued Haywood, etc.
Trade Melo straight up for Andrew Bynum (and whatever is needed as filler). At 23 years old Bynum has a solid 10 years left on his career. If he returns injury free he starts with Harrington, Billups and others. JR, Nene and Lawson provide scoring for the backup unit. Melo obviously does this to go to LA and maybe Lakers are convinced that Melo and Gasol can provide a scoring duo as Kobe fades. Right now Lakers blink first on this one and probably won't do it. This is the one trade that allows the Nuggets to rebuild while still being playoff contenders. If Bynum goes down with more injuriesplaying for the Nuggets, we bite the bullet and rebuild for real.
We trade Melo and Nene for Greg Oden and filler.
Reasons - Oden is a game changer a la Howard, Shaq and Wilt Chamberlain. His power and size come along once every ten years. There is no one like him when healthy and there won't be anyone like him in a while. When healthy he's better than Howard and will dominate every team come the playoffs.
Caveat - Nuggets only do this if some exceptional doctors tell us that there is a better than 75% chance Oden returns to full health and athletic ability. Even playing at 85 - 90 percent Oden is better than everyone except Howard.
Portland might do this because they have so much talent right now that they have a shot to win it all. With Melo and Nene they keep their window open for a couple years and keep playing high quality ball. They make themselves Western conference finalists, IMHO, for the next 3 to 4 years and with a little luck, a championship team. Right now Portland probably won't do this because of the Roy injury and Oden's incedibly high ceiling.
Unfortunately if the Nuggets do this they have to rebuild. Lawson and maybe JR are the only ones who would really be off limits, get what is possible for everyone else.
If Portland balks on Oden we go back to LA. If they won't do Bynum for Melo straight up, add more incentive. Melo is going anyway, pay whatever price they want for Bynum, ie Harrington (after trade deadline), maybe even Nene. Bynum could be very good with only Yao and Howard currently playing better. Make it worth their while and walk away with a top 3 - 4 center. In this second scenario Nuggets would have to give up playoff pretense but it would be worth-while.
We have to get big to win. Make the sacrifice and do it.