The Latest on Carmelo Anthony: Honors, Tough Love, Doubts
A lot's happened to Carmelo Anthony since the launch of our June 23 blog about his reaction to persistent trade rumors. As expected, he was named an official member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team. He also delivered his first public remarks about the prospect of a trade, telling the Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman that he feels "insulted when people say, 'He took a step back'" during the 2007-2008 campaign. And the Nuggets announced that Anthony would sit out the first two games of next season as punishment for his DUI arrest in April -- the one that's prompting a scheduled June 24 court appearance.
The Nuggets' suspension decision went public right after word of Anthony's Olympian achievement hit cyberspace and the airwaves. This timing will likely fuel conversations like the one that took place during the June 23 edition of the ESPN gab program Pardon the Interruption, during which guest host Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe argued that Anthony might well be shipped out of Denver despite reassurances to the contrary.
Ryan's logic was pretty persuasive. In his view, Allen Iverson's contract makes moving him cost-prohibitive this season -- and indeed, the Nuggets have already stated that A.I. will be back in powder blues for at least one more year. As for Marcus Camby, Ryan said that while his defensive prowess makes him attractive to any number of teams, his departure would leave a mammoth hole in the center of the squad. (He scoffed at the suggestion that the gap could be filled by either Linas Kleiza or Nene, whose name should be spelled "Nay-Nay," he said.) That meant Anthony represented the only means by which the Nuggets could make significant upgrades -- and regular host Michael Wilbon agreed with Ryan that major changes were necessary. Wilbon declared that "they need to be overhauled," particularly in light of their recent postseason sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Given that the Nuggets still haven't publicly declared that Anthony will remain a Nugget for the long haul, speculation about his future won't stop just because his agent says execs have denied that he's being shopped in private conversations with him. Moreover, the way the team harshed his Olympics buzz with the suspension notice is likely to leave Melo feeling more than a little resentment. It's still more likely than not that Anthony will stay. But whether he'll be happy sticking around is a very different issue. -- Michael Roberts