As the slow moving train wreck comes to its sad conclusion, thoughts go back to “just when did the final nail hit the coffin, what was the point where the Nuggets formally lost Melo as a member of the organization?
Talking heads, original-opinion-challenged net-philes and NBA websites run by “pimply faced kids who think they know basketball” (my compliments to Fox Sports Ohio who published the article that this classic quote by an anonymous NBA scout came from) may point towards the LeBron Self Love Fest last summer as the cause for the break. Yet for those who choose to ignore the propaganda and come to their own opinions based on the evidence weighed, whether right or wrong, the date the marriage ended was February 18, 2010. The date of last year’s trading deadline.
Prior to last year’s trade deadline, in good weather or bad, sickness nor health, for good, for bad, Melo’s public statements consistently were always “us” or “we” or “me and the Nuggets” based. After the trade deadline the quotes changed; now Melo’s quotes separated himself from the team. Why the change? The suggestion is Melo got tired of supporting a team that was not going to support him and commit through action rather than word to building a championship contender.
After years of throwing away draft picks so they wouldn’t have to pay them, seldom if never improving their roster through trade deadline moves or free agent signings outside of bargain basement specials, of dumping salary at the very same time they try to sell their latest blockbuster trade as proof to their commitment to winning, of letting multiple valuable very large dollar trade exceptions expire unused, Melo frankly may have got tired of watching the beloved Nuggets front office and ownership do nothing except sit around and play with their Big Bertha. The bully fest last summer where Nuggets leadership tried to force Melo to sign an extension without any demonstration of improving the team I think was just frosting on the cake nobody wants to eat.
Let’s also not forget the part about the owner behind the curtain refusing to take responsibility for poor decisions and chooses instead to dump on the fans and make pissing contest noises about trying to put in a Franchise tag in the next CBA… Hmmm it seems the San Antonio Spurs, with just 1 franchise player like the Nuggets… like the Nuggets, seem to scrape by without the franchise hammer. An example of Brains over Bawl maybe?
Check the history, not the rhetoric… as great as it was getting Billups, the trade was as much, or more, a salary dump; get rid of Iverson, buy out McDyess. The trade to get Iverson in the first place was a desperation move to not lose the fan’s money (err I mean the fans) during Melo’s suspension after the Maul at Madison Square Garden.
So, the Nuggets are going to burn the village (players and fans alike) in order to make the trade to the New Jersey Nyets for a rookie, 2 draft picks and a handful of nobodies. The team’s commitment to re-build will officially start… again. This being a team with no demonstrative history of a skilled scouting program, draft success or commitment to winning. Melo goes, Billups with him; up next Kmart (which actually is a good thing), JR (ditto), Nene and so on.
In a pro-Nuggets PR campaign move the Nuggets discuss giving George Karl a contract extension; but for who’s benefit? Karl’s return to better health is a wonderful story. The sad reality is the Nuggets are going down for quite awhile and George Karl has never demonstrated success building a team from the ground up. He’s demonstrated great skill as a coach; great arrogance as a coach; taking good teams and making them very good and getting fired. Other than giving Karl a retirement gig and the Nuggets leadership pretend they’re trying, who is this move really helping in either the short or long term?
Lastly, a couple of good reads published by a Denver columnist who is intelligent, skilled and actually has a opinion based on personal observation rather than the nameless, faceless bloggers, NBA websites run by “pimply faced kids parrot squawking Pete-n-Repeats who do nothing more than repeat the same rumor made up by another squawking-head and then pat themselves on the back laying claim to an original thought…
and this one
Which included this very poignant observation about Stan and Dreamers failed management during the Melo era…
“He's not LeBron and he's not Kobe. But having one of the two or three best scorers on the planet should still be a huge asset. You complement him with pieces that compensate for his weaknesses. Melo gave the organization eight years to make it happen. In his defense, it never did.
Instead, it built a cast with the highest diva quotient in the association. And now that it's every man for himself, watch out.”
Block the message; but The Word lives on forever