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Shooting Down the Nets

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Because of my pathetically slow pace so far this offseason I have yet to reveal my position on what the Nuggets should do with Carmelo Anthony this offseason.  I will go into more detail in the future, but I honestly think they would be crazy not to float his name around and see what they could get for him.

 

As far as the rumors that are out there regarding a potential trade with New Jersey I think they would be crazy to listen any further.  I have read a couple different iterations of the potential deal and have yet to see one that makes any sense for Denver.

 

The most recent report I have seen would send Carmelo and Marcus Camby to New Jersey in exchange for Richard Jefferson, Marcus Williams, Sean Williams, Keith Van Horn’s contract, (which I believe is not guaranteed) and the 10th pick in the draft.  Any time you are making a deal and the two best players in the deal are going to the other team it is probably not a deal you want to make.

 

I can see the temptation to replace Melo with Richard Jefferson, but I will not fall prey to it.  Yes Jefferson is a 20 plus point scorer, he is a more committed defender than Melo he is cheaper than Melo and as a missionary kid does not have the rap sheet that Melo does.  However, on the court, he is far from the player that Melo is.  Jefferson cannot create his own shot, he does not command double teams in the post and he is nowhere near the rebounder or passer that Melo is.

 

Looking at the rest of the deal in order to pull the trigger you would have to believe that Sean Williams is a quality replacement for Camby.  Williams has shown some nice flashes of shot blocking and rebounding ability, but he has a shady past having been kicked off the team at Boston College and I would think the chances of him being out of the league in four or five years is just as good as the chances of him being a legitimate starting center in the NBA.  That is pretty speculative.

 

Marcus Williams has shown very little during his somewhat limited playing time apart from his inability to consistently make good decisions and a propensity to get injured.  Given the chance to take the starting point guard job after the Jason Kidd trade he only lasted a couple of games before Devin Harris sent him to the bench with his far superior play.  Again, if you are looking to improve the Nuggets collective character do not forget that Marcus Williams was in some trouble for stealing some lap tops in college.

 

Keith Van Horn’s non guaranteed deal would be a nice cherry on top of a more equal transaction and would give the Nuggets a chance at immediately dropping some salary without giving anything up, which is not always easy to do.  If you trade for an expiring contract you have to wait a year for that money to come off the books.  A non guaranteed contract can come off the books as quickly as you can say, “Bye-bye Keith.”

 

The draft pick is somewhat intriguing, but are there any players that will be sitting there at number ten that you think, wow, he would be great for the Nuggets?  No one really leaps out at me.  Do not get me wrong, there are some intriguing names, but no one who makes me want to make this trade.

 

At this point you may be asking yourself why is this deal even being discussed?  If the Nuggets do end up making a trade, or something like it, it will be for two reasons.  One is money and two would be that they have, or more accurately George Karl has, given up on Carmelo becoming the player and person he can be anytime in the near future.

 

Financially this deal would save the Nuggets about $6 million in salaries this season, but the total savings would be $12 million when you factor in the luxury tax.  That is some serious cash and would free up money to resign J.R. Smith and either Eduardo Najera or another free agent through their midlevel exception.  From a financial standpoint I can see why the Nuggets have bandied this offer about.    

 

However, as I pointed out above, this deal makes little basketball sense.  If they are just looking to save some money then let’s start cooking up some deals for AI’s expiring deal too.  They could cook up some instant savings of around $10 million in salary and tax payments by dealing him.

 

If Denver could remove Melo and Richard Jefferson from the trade, then you would have my interest, but I seriously doubt New Jersey would consider that side of the deal.  If this is the best offer Denver receives for Melo, then he better be in a Nuggets uniform to start next season.