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Carmelo Anthony trade: Chauncey Billups likely to stay, Nugs will probably get squat for Melo

Categories: Sports

Thumbnail image for carmelo anthony on espn january 2011.JPG
Carmelo.
It finally happened: New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov tired of the drawn-out talks over Carmelo Anthony's services and publicly withdrew from negotiations yesterday.

So where's that leave Nuggets management? In a position to keep Chauncey Billups (which is great), but receive far less than market value for their departing superstar. And it's their own damn fault.

For evidence of this last contention, look no further than our January 11 post "Carmelo Anthony trade: Are Nuggets stalling trade because they want Nets to keep losing?" The item referenced a piece by the New York Post's Stefan Bondy, who quoted an NBA general manager as saying "the Nuggets don't feel the need to pull the trigger until closer to the February 24 trade deadline."

Why not? Here's Bondy's interpretation:

Part of that philosophy is based on the assumption that the Nets (10-27) will continue losing without Anthony, and therefore the 2011 first-round pick the Nuggets receive in the trade will have greater value the longer they wait.

And here's my take:

Makes sense to some degree -- but there's a great deal of risk involved in this game outside the game. Given the complications involved in a multi-team transaction, one or more parties could get cold feet during the next six weeks or so, because of injuries to key trade components or many other factors. Moreover, the Nets would likely keep sucking for quite a while after Melo's arrival due to the difficulty he'll likely experience in finding a rhythm with his new teammates. (Example: The Miami Heat early in the season.) And given the NBA's use of a draft lottery, as opposed to a simple worst-picks-first approach, the Nets' pick would fall within a range of slots no matter their final win-loss record.

With that in mind, the Nuggets should make the trade earlier rather than later. It won't be pretty, but it's time to step toward the future rather than continuing to linger in limbo.

Because the Nuggets chose instead to keep rolling the dice, only to crap out, the squad finds itself in the Land of Diminished Expectations. Now the only franchises likely to enter the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes are the New York Knicks, his preferred destination, or teams interested in renting him for a playoff run. As such, the amount of compensation will shrink in a serious way, with the Nuggets unlikely to receive any players or picks capable of truly setting them on the path to the future.

The upside of this catastrophe involves Billups, who had become a component of the now-aborted Nets deal. Chauncey didn't want to leave Denver, his hometown, and fans wanted him to stay as well. After yesterday's events, they'll probably get their wish -- and while his skills are not what they were during his athletic prime, he'll be invaluable in the unpleasant next stage of the Nuggets' history: rebuilding.

More from our Sports archive: "Carmelo Anthony trade: Did Amare Stoudemire, NY Knicks kill 4-way deal featuring NJ Nets?"


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PJ Hernando
PJ Hernando

Need I remind you all the Nuggets put up an impressive 17 wins the year before he got here? quit giving these whining, ungrateful bitches the comment of the day. the nuggets sucked basketballs before Melo got here, show a little appreciation because he came to Denver and made the Nuggets relevant. Jesus, give it a rest with this redundant Melo bashing and booing. Damn people are acting like he's a bad guy for wanting to weigh his options and live his life. Did you cry and get your panties in a bunch when Dikembe left town? Oh no! He doesn't want to be here! Get over it. Carmelo has done a lot for this team and this city. You all need a new story and a new life.

Shadillac
Shadillac

I don't think anybody's pinning him as the bad guy, everybody just realizes that we need to deal him because all of this distraction is putting a huge burden on our team. And Melo obviously wants out, you can see it in his body language and the way he acts out on the floor. We need to get what we can for him, and move on. I'm not bitter at him for all this (although I do think he's an idiot for wanting out of a team that's on the rise) but we're not earning a damn thing by keeping him here against his will and lowering the value of what we'll get in return for him by the day.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Shadillac, excellent take. Thanks for reading and posting.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

PJ Hernando, you're 100 percent right: Carmelo transformed the Nuggets from a terrible team into a legitimate contender -- which is why I'd love it if he stayed. Unfortunately, though, that's no longer in the cards. I just wish he'd found a way to move on without putting fans through a season-long ordeal. Thanks for posting.

Rigpa44
Rigpa44

It's a mess no doubt. We have Martin hobbled, Bird wounded, Harrrington underperforming, Billups aging, and Melo wanting out. Let's get who we can get, cut the crap and rebuild. Nobody wants greedy, narcissistic players who are always looking for the next big paycheck. We need passionate players who want to be a Nugget, and play the game for its own sake, putting money and fame in a very secondary position. Fans want entertaining, competitive passionate players, not money-grubbing, fame-seeking blinger's.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Rigpa44, I'm sure you speak for many fans. We're going to make this an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats, and thanks for reading and posting.

Druid0621
Druid0621

"Melo" is as overrated as it gets. I'm glad Billups can stay here. If "Melo" is too greedy, he can pack his bags now and join the Lebron James club. I could live just fine on $65 million for doing virtually nothing.

amanda
amanda

well ur comment about chauncey not being as good as he used to be, thats just nonsense, he's the best damn pg out there, got madd skillz and talents hits 3's when it counts passes the ball like an allstar, oh wait 6 time all star,any team that gets chauncey just gets that much better, miss him in detroit but he's doing his thang and we michganders are proud:)

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Amanda, I think Chauncey is actually holding up pretty well -- and he still makes his teammates better, which is what a great point guard is supposed to do. I understand why Pistons fans miss him. Thanks for reading and posting.

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