Melo gets his longtime wish...and drags Chauncey along with him.
Even though Carmelo Anthony becoming a Knick was a forgone conclusion the day after LeBron James stabbed the entire state of Ohio in the back to join the Miami Heat, many Nuggets fans didn't want to believe it. And seeing him wearing a Knicks jersey, after seven and a half great seasons as one of our Denver Nuggets, is going to take some getting used to.
Melo had a typical Melo game in the Knicks' 114-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks: he shot very inefficiently (10-25), barely passed the ball (one assist), committed some stupid fouls (four total), didn't get to the free throw line enough (four trips for seven attempts)...and his team won the game. That's Carmelo Anthony basketball. Say what you want about Melo's obvious deficiencies as a player, but with Melo on the floor you're going to win more than you're going to lose. It's that simple.
The build up to Melo's debut featured a press conference with Melo and Chauncey Billups addressing the New York media (for some reason, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman weren't invited to speak), and Melo had about as much to say regarding his time in Denver with head coach George Karl as Karl had to say about Melo on his way out of Denver. That would be nothing. However, Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears tweated that Melo will take out an ad in the Denver Post to thank the Denver fans, a classy move for sure. Unfortunately, no one reads the print edition of newspapers anymore.
Still trying to look like the good guy in all this, during the press conference Melo couldn't help himself and insultingly said: "...this team is headed in the right direction, and I felt I wanted to be a part of a team that had some upside and knew what the future was holding." (Right, because the Nuggets had no upside were Melo to stay and the Knicks' future with Isiah Thomas loitering around seems so secure.) Next, Melo cemented what many of us suspected from Day One of the Melodrama by adding: "It's a dream come true for me." Point being, short of acquiring Dwight Howard, the Nuggets were going to lose Melo to New York no matter what. It was the worst-kept secret in the NBA.
Adding insult to injury, after (barely) beating the lowly Bucks Melo said: "I'm never going to forget this moment. I'm home."
And here I thought "home" for Melo was Baltimore.
Seeing Melo in that Knicks jersey on Wednesday combined with seeing Billups in the wrong shade of blue combined with the news that Melo's wife LaLa just happened to bag a new reality show on VH1 combined with Utah giving up on Deron Williams (the NBA's best point guard) and shipping him to New Jersey for fear of being Melo'd themselves, made me sick to my stomach. All of my conspiracy theories and biggest fears about how the NBA really works - the manipulation by agents, the under-the-table deals, the continued screw job by the big markets at the expense of smaller ones - were confirmed in one day's worth of NBA news.
And yet league executives will openly wonder why I don't want to pay $300 for a pair of tickets anymore.
I've written ad nauseum about how the NBA needs to completely redo its revenue sharing system and collective bargaining system with its players. Many have criticized me for spending too much time on the business of basketball rather than on the basketball itself. But if this week's rotten episode in Nuggets and NBA history has taught us anything, it's that the NBA is badly broken and in dire need of a big fix.
I know Chauncey Billups agrees with me.
Nate Timmons on WCWP Sports
Nate makes his New York radio debut on WCWP Sports and talks in detail about Melo and Chauncey winning their first game in New York. Way to go, Nate!
Andrew Feinstein on Elephants in the Room
I joined Mile High Sports Radio's Renaud Notaro and Karl Hungus to discuss the aftermath of the Melo trade and why, despite loving what Josh Kroenke and Masai Ujiri pulled off, I won't be renewing my season tickets.
Masai Ujiri with Scott Hastings and Mike Evans
Ujiri talks about the Melo trade in great detail with Mike and Scott of FM104.3 The Fan.
Carmelo Tends to Garden of Good and Evil -- FanHouse
Lisa Olson chronicles the impact that this trade will have on Chauncey Billups. The following passage is just heartbreaking...
While Anthony was scheming his way out of the Rockies, Billups -- born and raised in Denver, as Coloradoan as John Denver -- was already home, living his own dream. He figured he'd retire a Nugget, move into Denver's front office, the perfect scenario for a Rocky Mountain boy who loved playing full-time dad to his three girls. He moved his family to his hometown on the range in 2008, told them it would be the last time they'd have to deal with new schools, new friends, new lives. We rip professional athletes all the time when they're disinterested fathers or wandering husbands. Billups' tears are a fresh reminder that not all fit into the box reserved for scoundrels.
"Oh it was hard, hardest thing I've ever had to do," Billups said quietly, once the mad scene at the Garden had settled. "I had to tell my girls that daddy was traded, that he was leaving to play across the country. I told them it wasn't my choice, that nothing could be done about it. I had to go. It wasn't a happy scene."
Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, La La Vazquez get reality show on VH1
While Melo was introduced to the New York media, VH1 just happened to announce that Melo's wife - LaLa "Yoko" Vazquez - would be getting her own reality show titled "LaLa's Full Court Life" to be aired in August. Could I possibly think that the Knicks concocted this TV deal themselves to help entice Melo to force his way to New York? Absolutely.
NBA no longer fan-tastic as Carmelo Anthony is traded to Knicks - ESPN
Rick Reilly points out that with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teaming up in Miami and Carmelo Anthony joining Amare Stoudemire in New York, the NBA is no longer fan-tastic. I couldn't agree more.
Krieger: Gallo could erase curse of the Big Euro - The Denver Post
Dave Krieger discusses why Danilo Gallinari could possibly make us all forget Nikoloz Tskitishvili...oh forget it, we'll never forget Skita!
At Knicks’ Party, Dolan Speaks Mind - NYTimes.com
As New York welcomed Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, the owner turned testy and lectured the news media. And the countdown to Isiah Thomas' return has begun.
Sports Radio Interviews " Mike D’Antoni: "If you want to win a title and New York wants to be great you’ve got to get (superstars)"
Mike D'Antoni talks about what having Melo and Amar'e Stoudemire together in New York will mean for the Knicks, and he speaks highly of Chauncey Billups, too.
New Knick Anthony says he's ready for expectations - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
Carmelo Anthony was en route to the airport, headed for that unwanted return to Denver, when the call he waited for all season finally came. The one that makes him a brighter star, and maybe the Knicks a bigger threat come playoff time. "I think New York needed a moment like this," Anthony said.
Chauncey Billups appreciation/discussion post - Posting and Toasting
Our colleagues at Posting and Toasting (the Knicks blog for SB Nation) use data to showcase just how good Billups is.
Chris Sheridan: Carmelo Anthony's debut gave New York Knicks a night to remember - ESPN New York
Sheridan gets his wish: another superstar in New York.
From the Archives...
Confident about Melo re-signing? Not me... - Denver Stiffs
On July 19th, I wrote the following...
I get that there's no loyalty left in sports, either from organizations or from players. But if Melo waffles on signing the extension and more and more signs add up that he's heading elsewhere, the Nuggets may have to do one more right thing and trade Melo while they can.
Otherwise, we're going to get LeBron'd in Denver.
Could LaLa be the Nuggets' Yoko?... - Denver Stiffs
And on August 13th, I wrote this...
...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.
Oh, and in case you're asking the answer is: yes, I told you so.