New York Knicks forward, and possible trade chip, Wilson Chandler let go long-time agent Chris Luchey. Alan Hahn is reporting that Luchey had been “looking for money similar to the five-year, $60 million deal Danny Granger signed … ” That’s a lot of dough, especially for the likely cost-cutting Denver Nuggets front office.


I don’t know what trade partners will show up in the coming weeks for the Nuggets and Carmelo Anthony, but Chandler has been discussed quite a bit and the Nuggets like Chandler’s game. The problem … if Melo is traded how far down the rebuilding road will the Nuggets’ front office go?

Well, we got our first indications that the front office might be looking to gut the roster a bit and not re-tool without Melo when rumors flew that Chauncey Billups and Al Harrington might be thrown into a New Jersey deal. I sort of thought with the Big Al signing that the Nuggets had the stop-gap player they needed if/when Melo did leave as Harrington is a better fit at small forward than he is at power forward.

Heck, according to Chris Tomasson, Billups was thinking perhaps the same thing:

“Chauncey Billups said he didn’t know Nuggets were going to rebuild heading into season. Said trade rumor involving him first indication.” -Tomasson’s Twitter

It’s crazy to me that if Melo’s did or does not finish the season with the team that management thinks they need to gut the roster and start all over. But it could definitely be in the cards and it might give the Nuggets a better long-term plan to go ahead and get value for guys like Billups and shed Harrington’s contract if they can.
I realize the sample size for a roster without Melo is small and I also know that when Melo was out, the Nuggets had some issues closing out close games and finding dependable scoring. But the team also shares the ball extrememly well without Melo and they look capable of winning more than they lose. Plug in the right pieces with a trade of Melo and Denver could still be a playoff team. Could they be a championship team? Not without the right pieces and probably not without somebody stepping up in a major way.
The decisions ahead for the front office are not easy ones. As we’ve seen the past couple days, even when nothing happens but a press conference things go nuts with the fans, with the media and even with the players (Melo not talking to the media … Kobe Bryant coming to Melo’s defense).
Back to Chandler … would the rebuilding Nuggets want to sink $40 million, $50 million or $60 million into him for four or five seasons? The five-year $60 million deal would pay Chandler about the same money that Nene makes. I’ve been very impressed with Chandler this season and everything you read about him suggests he’s an Arron Afflalo type worker and he cares about being a well-rounded player. He’s the kind of guy you want on your team and he’s the kind of guy that championship teams have to have. I personally think the Knicks would be nuts to trade Chandler, but in order to secure a trade for Melo they might have to part with him in the deal or see him sign some place else in the offseason with the kind of money he will command. I also think the Nuggets must get Chandler in any deal involving the Knicks.
Next season the Knicks are on the hook to Amar’e Stoudemire for $18 million and to Raymond Felton for just $7.5 million. And if they add Melo that’s another $18.5 million (if they trade for Melo and he inks the extension thus kicking in his player option for next season). So, that’d be $44 million for three guys … could they squeeze Chandler in for $9 million to $11 million per year and still find minutes for him? Tough task … especially since the rest of the roster would be filled with veteran minimum contracts after they try to trade away the guys already on the books. (And I’m not evening bringing up the other contracts that are on the books for next season).
Too many balls in the air and just when you think the puzzle is starting to come together a bit, like Melo now definitely going to the Knicks, we have to be on the lookout for something unexpected. Perhaps the Chicago Bulls jumping into the picture, the Houston Rockets, or others …
Just one month from now we’ll be three-days away from the trade deadline and maybe that much closer to resolving the Melodrama. Or not …
From the vault:
The upcoming “Melo” dollar question … – Nate Timmons, Denver Stiffs. May 5, 2010
Yes, I’m plugging my own article here. Very interesting to read the comment section and my thoughts about Melo not signing the extension because the Nuggets had a lot to prove in order to keep Melo around.
Nuggets related:
Chandler fires agent; impact on Carmelo deal? – Alan Hahn,
Chandler is apparently looking at hiring Melo’s agent Leon Rose. How does Rose pitch Chandler here? Does he convince him that Denver is one player away from a ring and by swapping him for Melo they can win it all? Haha … oh Leon, maybe you can get Chandler to Brooklyn by way of New Jersey.
Kennedy: What’s Next for the New Jersey Nets? – Alex Kennedy, Hoopsworld
Since Prokhorov has apparently moved on from Melo, who will the Nets target now? If you can’t get Melo I guess AK-47 or Zach Randolph are nice options right?!?!
The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2010 – Murphy, The Beast
Well, Melo didn’t make this list, but a couple familiar sports names did. Can you guess who? And maybe with the booing that has been following Melo he has a shot at the 2011 list? A nice lighthearted article here.
Midseason Progress Report – Charlie, Roundball Mining Company
Our friend Charlie aka runningdonut has his midseason report out … an interesting choice for “Worst Loss.”
Early NBA title favorite? Nuggets’ Karl says Spurs – Chris Dempsey, Denver Post
Why did Karl pick the Spurs? Is it because his Nuggets are 0-3 against them this season? Go read and found out. Plus some CSU and CU notes in the article and some Billups quotes on the Buffs. Both college teams are enjoying very fine seasons. Go to some games if you get a chance … good college ball in Colorado doesn’t happen a lot!!
In Prokhorov, NBA finds its Boss – Ian Thomsen,
Recently, it seems that NBA players are the ones running the show. The owners are just cutting checks and getting railroaded by what the players want. Maybe Prokhorov’s hard stance on Melo (if it is a hard stance) will be the beginning of a new era for NBA owners? Great story.
Kobe Bryant on Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets fans and NBA free agency – Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
Makes me sick to my stomach to agree with things that Bryant says. Kobe is a great player and yada yada if he was a Nugget for life I’m sure we’d all love him too, but blah! Kobe does raise some solids points though …
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