With Carmelo Anthony reportedly opting out of his contract with the Knicks and a second LeBron James "decision" still to come, the fates of many NBA teams over the next few years hang in the balance with the decisions of two of the NBA's biggest stars. Rumblings seem to suggest that the most ardent suitors for 'Melo so far have been the Houston Rockets - who could feature a lineup of Patrick Beverly, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard - or the Chicago Bulls, who seem to be having visions of championships with a healthy Derrick Rose paired alongside with the NBA's most talented scorer.
Despite Knicks owner James Dolan's recent coup to bring Phil Jackson's talents to the Knicks front office, it will be a hard sell for the Knicks to keep 'Melo in New York. 'Melo is looking at a team with a head coach greener than the grass in Rio and a Frankenstein's monster of a roster featuring a decrepit Amar'e Stoudemire, hopeless Andrea Bargnani, crazy J.R. Smith, insane Metta World Peace and worse. Melo's frustration throughout the season with his inability to drag what was, allegedly, a great team on paper to the paper-thin eastern conference playoffs was obvious. The defense was nonexistant, the ball movement stagnant, and the blame to go around never-ending. While I'd rather gloat over success as the eternal San Antonio Spurs do, schadenfreude will do in a pinch.
I personally believe that if the Knicks cannot retain Melo, Phil Jackson is going to blow it up and start firesaling the roster to begin what will likely be a painful rebuilding process over the next 2-3 years.
Enter your Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets currently hold the rights to swap first round picks with the Knicks in the 2016 season. In that year, the only player the Knicks even could have under contract - pending any free agency acquisitions and draft picks (haha) - is the dynamic Tim Hardaway Jr. While the Nuggets are in a similarly deficient scenario, holding rights only to Ty Lawson and Evan Fournier, they'll likely have a great shot at a high lottery pick from either their own rebuilding, or the Knicks. If Tim Connelly can find a way to not bungle his way into too many bad contracts, the Nuggets should have a large amount of cap space to play with just as James and Melo's talents begin their inevitable decline.
Of course, should the Knicks find a way to unite 'Melo and James in New York, this entire calculus changes, but I'll choose to assume for the time being that 'Melo's potential departure from The Big Apple can only be a good thing for our Denver Nuggets.
As long as we don't do something stupid like trade Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler for a rental of Kevin Love.
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