It’s been a wild ride in the NBA this season, from the forming of the new ‘Big Three’ down in Miami to the emergence of the Clippers Blake Griffin, and it has to be said that I don’t think the NBA has been so relevant since Michael Jordan was in his prime. One of the big stories this season has been centered on Carmelo Anthony, who decided that he didn’t want to stay in Denver anymore and that the New York Knicks was his preferred destination of choice.
It’s been a news roller coaster all season since Melo made it definite that he was done with the Nuggets and the fact that he was leaving became a when rather than an if, but that roller coaster finally came to a stop this past Monday night as he was finally traded to the Knicks, completing his dream team of being united with Amare Stoudemire in the stadium he grew up idolizing.
There have been many complaints leveled at Anthony for the way this played out, myself included among those that complained, but if you really stop and think about it, was this the wrong way to go about it? By stating his intentions, in this case that he wanted to leave the Nuggets, before his contract was up, he gave the city a chance to make the best deal possible to replace him.
Unlike LeBron James and Chris Bosh, who left their cities hanging in the wind with their reluctance to give their teams any notice about their intentions, Anthony allowed the Nuggets the chance to recoup good young talent as well as vital draft picks. Both of these, while aren’t the same as having a franchise player, is far better than having nothing in return for losing the caliber of player that Anthony represents.
Now don’t get me wrong, Carmelo isn’t a saint that did this out of the goodness of his heart, he got his for doing it.
By doing it this way, Anthony was able to go to the city of his dreams with a fat 3 year, $60+ million dollar extension. That money is a huge motivating factor when you consider that the next CBA may include a paycut for the players. By getting traded midseason and getting that extension, he saved upwards to $15 million by forcing a trade.
All things being said, losing a franchise player is rough but losing him for nothing is even rougher (I’m a Cavaliers fan, I get it, BELIEVE ME!), so while Denver got the short end of the stick, they have to realize that the stick could have been a LOT shorter.
As for Anthony, well, he got what he wanted in every form of the word so now it’s up to him to prove he’s worth it. Playing in New York is a different entity altogether than playing in Denver, the pressure is higher because the expectations are through the roof, and if he inexplicably flat-lines over the next few seasons, he may find himself wishing for the familiar comforts of Colorado.
The old saying is be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Well, Carmelo, you got it, now go make the most of it.