Carmelo Anthony trade: If he's dealt (to Knicks? Nets?), will Chauncey Billups soon follow?
Rumors about a Carmelo Anthony trade continue to swirl -- and it's becoming increasingly clear that if such a deal is made, Melo won't be the only one impacted.
Indeed, there's a good chance that a number of dominoes could fall, with one of them being hometown hero Chauncey Billups.
That's the message of a new USA Today piece featuring a chat with Billups' agent, Andy Miller. Billups would love to stay in D-town, but as NBA insider columnists J. Michael Falgoust and Rachel Shuster note: "By trading Billups, 34, the Nuggets could unload the bulk of the Denver native's $14 million salary this season."
That's a significant amount of money, particularly if the Nugs head into rebuilding mode -- and few observers believe that can totally avoid entrenching if Anthony moves on. Moreover, the continuing development of Ty Lawson, who played well in a recent win over the Golden State Warriors during which Billups sat out due to an injured wrist, could make Chauncey seem expendable. So far this season, he hasn't been at his best, with speculation about the reason ranging from his busy off-season fronting the triumphant USA Basketball squad to his advancing years.
Of course, Billups brings a lot more to the table than just his still-considerable skills on the court. He's a role model on every level, as well as the type of person who'd be great to make a part of the organization after his playing days are over. Miller says Billups hopes to one day serve in the Nuggets' front office, and given his keen basketball mind, you can bet he'd be great at prospect evaluation and other behind-the-scenes duties. Bet he'd be a helluva coach, too.
Then again, Billups is on his second go-round with the Nuggets, and he understands the business well enough that a trade might not prejudice him against a return to the franchise once he hangs up his sneakers. So if Carmelo does head elsewhere, as almost everyone expects, don't be surprised to see Billups follow him out the Pepsi Center doors.
More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony vs. Kobe Bryant: Nuggets win over Lakers shows what might -- but won't -- be."