There are a number of plausible scenarios for why Carmelo Anthony could leave Denver. #1 on the list might be his wife.
When...ok, IF...Carmelo Anthony leaves Denver for New York or another mega market elsewhere, there will be plenty of blame to go around. Some will blame management for failing to build a championship-caliber team around the greatest Nugget since Alex English. Some will blame Melo's representation of Leon Rose and "Worldwide Wes" for manipulating the free agent system for Melo as they did this summer for LeBron James. Some will blame Melo himself for having delusions of grandeur about where he belongs in the NBA's star system...a belief that might lead him to the biggest market possible.
And others will blame Melo's wife and longtime companion, "television personality" LaLa Vazquez, for breaking up the Nuggets akin to the way Yoko Ono (allegedly) led to John Lennon's departure from the Beatles 40 years ago.
When...ok, IF...Melo leaves, all will be fair game for criticism. But don't for a second underestimate LaLa's role in a possible Melo departure.
LaLa's insatiable appetite for attention never seems to abate, evident most recently by having VH1 film and eventually broadcast a series based on her and Melo's summer nuptials in New York. She also has her own Twitter account (ok, who doesn't these days?) and allegedly caused quite a stir with Mavericks fans during the playoffs two years ago in another alleged attempt to get herself into the news.
Given all this, it's fair to question if Denver ever can satisfy LaLa's desire for attention on a national scale. In New York or Los Angeles (where she and Melo recently purchased a new $2 million home), LaLa can hang out with her friends in the entertainment industry, including Kim Kardashian and Ciara, and regain some relevance in those markets' TMZ-driven news cycle. In Denver she's a nobody. I suspect the average Nuggets fan doesn't even know who she is when she saddles up courtside center for games at Pepsi Center.
Having recently turned 31 (making her five years Melo's senior and almost cougar-worthy) and having not worked consistently for about two years, I get the feeling that LaLa wants to regain her somewhat lost fame one more time. And simply put, it ain't happening in Denver.
Like many Nuggets fans, I've heard rumors for years that the Brookyln-born LaLa doesn't like Denver and is counting down the days until she and the Brooklyn-born Melo can live in New York. But while I have no way to substantiate such rumors, it certainly doesn't give Nuggets fans comfort to see LaLa and Melo's Littleton house on the market during the same summer that they bought a house in Los Angeles, got married in New York and Melo is spending a great deal of time in LA or New York (where he was Thursday for the players union's negotiation with NBA owners followed by Nike's World Basketball Festival alongside LeBron, Chris Paul and Amar'e Stoudemire). Nevermind the continued dribble of sourced stories proclaiming Melo's own desire to jettison Denver for New York that many Nuggets fans are foolishly ignoring as heresy.
If LaLa proves to be complicit in breaking up the best Nuggets team in two decades, she won't be the first famous sports wife to have done so. Most famously, Janet Gretzky, nee Jones, was influential in getting her husband Wayne out of Edmonton and to Los Angeles in 1988 so she could continue her fledgling acting career (of course, I only remember her from Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach). And other famous NBA wives have exerted their influence on their more famous husbands, ranging from Shaquille O'Neal's Shaunie (who has her own TV show, Basketball Wives, on VH1) to Doug Christie's Jackie. As a general rule, if you know your favorite player's wife's name, trouble is afoot (see Bryant, Kobe and Wade, Dwyane).
As if you haven't yet noticed, I don't share the confidence of many Denver Stiffs readers who still believe that Melo will sign the contract extension offered to him to stay in Denver. Regardless of your opinion on the issue, in the days and weeks to come we as fans must watch all the indicators closely to gauge how Melo is leaning before we get LeBron'd in the Mile High City. (Of course, it would be helpful if Melo himself actually said something on record regarding his future in Denver.)
And if you're looking for signs one way or the other - is he staying or is he going? - there's no clearer sign in favor of the "he's going!" outcome then that of LaLa Vazquez's desire to live in a bigger pond sooner than later.
She just might be Denver's version of Yoko Ono.