So, really no surprise that after the Knicks game the Melo Drama suddenly found new life. It's been eating up off-topic threads left and right for the past few days and as this situation continues to heat up I figured why not make one big Melo-Drama thread where we can discuss all of our thoughts, and emotions without making other threads and posts purely Melo related. Below is a synopsis I've pieced together from all different threads regarding where the Nuggets stand in terms of the Melo Drama, what lies ahead, and a brief look back and what could have possibly been done better.
Shortly after Sunday's loss against he Knicks in which Carmelo was met with a standing ovation from N.Y. fans (including Denver Stiffs punching bag Spike Lee), ESPN journalist Chris Sheridan released this detailed report suggesting that Carmelo Anthony "has told the Denver Nuggets he will not sign the nearly $65 million contract extension he has been offered unless he is traded to the New York Knicks."
So, after months of speculation from Denver fans, as well as Masai Ujiri, about whether or not Melo would be willing to sign the extension in Denver, it appears we finally got our answer: no.
Though some claim to have seen this coming from miles away (ahem...), others (and this includes Ujiri) simply weren't ready to accept the fact that at some point in the near future we would have to trade our franchise player, so they held out hope that Carmelo Anthony's days here in Denver were not numbered, but still just beginning.
Sadly, at this point in time, that hope needs to be abandoned.
With the reports stating Melo's intentions are to no longer stay in Denver, it's pointless for the Nuggets to prolong a frustrating situation that we all recognize must end. This notion is only confirmed by the fact that the Nuggets are now playing better as a team when Carmelo Anthony is not on the floor, thus making his presence as a Nugget completely futile. As the old saying goes, "what should be done eventually, must be done immediately."
Now it's important for our beloved franchise to move on, and focus on the best possible deal it can get out of any trade centered around Carmelo Anthony.
If New York it is, then the players Denver would receive likely will include some combination of Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields, Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph and of course - the rotting decay known formerly as Eddy Curry - or should I say the rotting decay's final paycheck it will likely ever get in the NBA.
All of these players are young and under contract for two more years, with the exception of Chandler, who has a qualifying offer after this year. In my opinion any combination of those guys would be decent, but Gallo, Fields and Randolph should be our primary focus as Chandler has been very vocal in his desires to continue his career in NY; so if we traded for him, there’s a really good chance he goes right back to N.Y. at the end of this season leaving us with just a few month rental of his services, and nothing more.
For those worried about leverage on the Nuggets side of things, well, you probably should be. As stated above, Melo will only sign the extension, or any sort of long term deal for that matter if he’s traded to N.Y. Being that the Nuggets have been firm in their stance that they will trade Melo rather than let him walk via free agency, this basically means Melo's going to N.Y. ... no matter what. This then begs the question: If the Knicks know for a fact that Melo is going to play in N.Y. why would they give up a lot to get him, or for that matter, why would they even trade for him instead of just acquiring him through free agency?
According to Sheridan (and I'm paraphrasing here), the Knicks are not willing to risk the possibility of Melo testing free agency when they can be guaranteed him via trade, even if it means losing a few young players or draft picks in the process. When you consider how dreadful N.Y. has been for the last decade and how badly it missed out on this past year's Free Agent Sweepstakes (you know, where Lebron announced he wouldn't be going to the Big Apple in the infamous "Decision"), this makes total sense. But unfortunately for those hoping to hit a home-run with a Melo deal, we will likely have to settle for a ground-rule double instead.
What should start happening between now and the time the Melo deal is finally struck, is N.Y. will send low-ball offers to the Nuggets, who will then reject them until they finally get a package sent their way that they feel is satisfactory. If the Nuggets choose to avoid this situation all together it would be in their best interest to: A) bring a third party into the equation, and B) try to package any other Nuggets players the franchise feels have no future with the team - but have value at the moment - in the deal to increase the appearance of N.Y.'s side of the dea; basically milking Melo for all he’s possibly worth.
By bringing a third party into the equation you then create the possibility of aquiring players from the other team that you may regard higher than those the Knicks possess; Andre Iguodala, Gerald Wallace or perhaps even Derrick Favors are some examples. Naturally this also opens the door to acquiring more first round draft picks or additional cap relief if that's truly what the Nuggets are interested in.
If a third party cannot be enticed and draft picks still remain a top priority for Denver, N.Y. has made it clear they would be able to obtain one if necessary. They are said to have recently been in discussions with Houston about acquiring back the first round draft pick they traded to them in the Jared Jeffries deal earlier this year in exchange for Anthony Randolph. But if Randolph is traded to Houston that then eliminates the possibility of Denver obtaining him, thus the question becomes: What would you rather have, Anthony Randolph or a first rounder?
From just my personal standpoint, I’m guessing that Gallinari will for sure be a Nugget, Curry’s contract will come back our way and that we’ll get at least one first rounder when it’s all said and done. Other than that it’s hard to tell. As stated above, the Knicks sadly have quite a bit of leverage going forward, as does Carmelo Anthony. There will be a point where the Nuggets are going to have to settle for a deal they probably won't be as satisfied with because N.Y. simply won't budge any further knowing the Nuggets can't afford to lose Anthony for nothing.
Now that it's clear where Melo will land and what type of deal we're looking at, one can't help but ask: Shouldn't we have pulled the trigger on the N.J. deal Bret Bearup constructed when we had the chance?
For those who may have forgotten, that deal would have landed us Andrei Kirilenko (who can actually play – Curry can’t), as well as Favors (who’s better than anybody we’re getting from the Knicks) and two first round picks that would have likely been lottery picks, instead of just the supposed one the Knicks have to offer which likely won’t be a lottery pick.
If I remember right, that deal was extremely close to being completed, with all sides ready to pull the trigger, but Ujiri ultimately decided against it, opting instead to hold onto the idea that Carmelo could change his mind and sign the extension with Denver. It was then Bearup, the architect of that deal, that was promptly "pushed out of basketball operations by new vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri" by what most perceive to be a move in order to please Melo.
Yet, here we stand in the end: Bearup is gone, as is the deal that appears to be much better than any we will receive from N.Y., and Melo is finally set to leave Denver once and for all. You can't really blame Ujiri for holding out hope that Melo would re-sign in Denver, you really can't. His concept of preaching patience was most likely the best route to take at the time; but unfortunately for him, he's not in the business of hope and patience. Men like Ujiri are judged by their decisions, and it's often times those who read the tea leaves that stay one step ahead.
But the past is the past. Though it's fun to speculate on what things might have been, we also must realize how easy it is to do that in hindsight. We'll all have to wait and see how Ujiri deals with the Knicks, but one thing is for sure: the Carmelo Anthony trade will forever be the staple of his tenure here in Denver. Let's all hope he justifies his stance that holding on to Melo for as long as he has will pay off. But if I were to give Ujiri a tip it would have to be - ah, screw it, I'll just let this guy explain...