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Carmelo Anthony doesn't have to be careful what he wishes for

Aug 28, 2010, 10:58 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Anthony_game.jpgAs the rumor mill starts to churn more heavily about the eventual destination of Carmelo Anthony now that it’s accepted he wants out of Denver, there will be conflicting reports. Some will say that the Nuggets don’t care a lick about what Carmelo wants and will trade him to whomever they please. These reports will be sourced out of the Nuggets camp or those close to them. Others will say that the Knicks are still in play or that one of his preferred teams is likely. Those, as you can guess, will come from Melo’s camp. 

It’s a cute game, but has little to do with what will actually occur. What’s interesting is how this will play out and determining who exactly has leverage in this situation. And that’s where the latest tweet from the reliable Sam Amico comes in. 
Amico reports the following concerning prospective partners for the Nuggets:

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Early word around NBA is Nuggets will try to trade Carmelo to 1 of 3 teams: Wolves, Kings, Nets. In other words, careful what you wish for.less than a minute ago via webSam Amico

It’s very likely that Amico’s on the money here. These are the types of teams that the Nuggets will be targeting as trade partners. They’re loaded with young talent, draft picks, and a handful of expiring contracts. The Nuggets will get what they want for Melo. Who cares what Melo or CAA has to say about it?

Well, for one, the teams that will be trying to trade for him.
The problem with this tactic lies with the original source of this whole shebang, Melo’s extension. As a free agent next summer, the Nuggets were trying to lock down a max extension for Melo.  His reticence to sign that extension was the first sign that maybe Anthony wasn’t quite as happy as he let on.
It’s also that extension that maintains Anthony’s leverage. Because those teams do have what the Nuggets want. And the Nuggets certainly have what those teams want… to a degree. They have access to Carmelo Anthony… for a single season. It’s Anthony’s own control over the subsequent season that will prevent the Nuggets from trading him to whomever they please. 
Any team looking to acquire Anthony will want him in an extend-and-trade that locks him up for further seasons. After all, these teams have already established a core of young players, they’ve done their cap cleaning and draft building. They won’t be giving up players with upside and future picks for a one-year rental of Anthony. Which means the Nuggets need him to sign the extension. And Anthony’s only likely to do that if he assents to where he’s being traded. 
Anthony’s extension and trade flexibility are inter-connected. The Nuggets don’t just have to find a trade partner looking to acquire Melo enough to surrender the pieces they’re looking to get back, they have to find a partner attractive enough to Anthony to convince him to commit to the future. 
We have three actors in this little play. Anthony and his people wants his extension under the current CBA, and to relocate to a new team that fits the lifestyle which he wants to become accustomed (fame, fortune, and championships), as well as maintain their leverage in negotiations not just for Anthony but future clients. His current team needs to get the pieces they want back for Anthony and maintain their leverage in negotiations with players to not be held hostage by their demands. And his new team wants Carmelo Anthony to make them into a contender, for the next three years and beyond. 
The Nets are a prospective partner, because they are relocating to Brooklyn, a market he likely finds attractive. The Kings have two definite stars, but the market isn’t really there for him. The Wolves? Um… Darko’s fun to hang out with? 
But any of these teams have to be able to convince Anthony they have the combination of elements he desires or else they’ll only be renting him.
The Nuggets have leverage, that much is clear from the events of the past week. The best scenario is convincing him to stay in Denver, sign the extension and move forward. But that bridge may have already been crossed, then lit on fire. But to act like Carmelo is subject to the whims of the Nuggets ignores not only the realities created by his extension situation, but the new reality of the empowered player that have shifted the NBA so greatly in the past three months.
  1. P Rich - Aug 29, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    If Anthony’s camp is saying he want’s to play for the Knicks, Why do writers insist on dismissing that? If he wants to play for them he will. Sure the Nuggs can trade him wherever, but they’re gonna have to find a team that will part with their young talent for a 1yr player.

  2. T Benton - Aug 29, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    The talk of the town was that melo and his camp wanted to join the knicks system, now as everything come to a head the knicks are out of the equation!! The knicks In my opinion has a great shot and trade bait… Example ( curry expiring contract, gallo,wilson chandler and a first round draft pick is more the enough!!!!! So as quite as it’s kept it can happen alot of people don’t want it too but I hope it all plays out and the knicks favor it’s time for the east to make a come back!!!!

  3. tilldothatbulls - Aug 29, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    hey bud. where r u , looking for u,…that thing u told me about, is it new. and what else u find lately?

  4. greg linscomb - Aug 30, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    His preferred destination is the Houston Rockets!!!! He likes the economy in Houston, the coach, the owner, the general manager, Yao. The Rockets have the Knicks 2 first round picks, young talented players, trade exception, willingness to sign a long term max deal. Duh!!!!!! East coast bias, ya think. the Knicks got boogers to pick from. You’d gut the whole team just to sign him. Then there’s Amare and Melo only and no support cast. Yea, I’d pick them too. Am I the only adult here. He’s got a family and Houston is the preferred off-season home about 20% nba players. NO STATE INCOME TAX.

  5. ron - Aug 30, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    the nets will have the best trade deal …the nets have the most draft picks out of all the teams in the nba….favor’s t-will….Devin Harris if the nuggest want him ..and he is an allstar

  6. Matt - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    The Nets will get Carmelo. Just because he wants to go to the Knicks means nothing. The Nuggets are going to rebuild and want draft picks, the Knicks have no picks to give up, (Rockets don’t have enough to trade for Melo either). He won’t sign with the Kings or Wolves basically taking them out of contention. The clear two choices are the Nets and Clippers. They have the best young players to trade and the Nets have a huge surplus of picks. The Nets are the next best thing to playing in Manhattan since they will be playing in Brooklyn in a few years. The Clippers management is in shambles while the Nets have a billionaire new owner not afraid to spend money.

  7. Matt - Aug 31, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    He wants to play in NY not in Texas. Besides, the Rockets can’t put together a good enough package of young players and picks that will be better than what the Nets can offer. The Nets can offer Derrick Favors, Twill, Harris, or the expiring contract of Troy Murphy. I think the odds are better that he goes to the Clippers over the Rockets, atleast he would be in LA.

  8. nba guru - Sep 1, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    The nets can give denver whatever it wants it can give one or two first round draft picks. The nuggets have zero leverage in this situation. Carmello wants to play for jersey and he wont let denver undress them before he comes aboard. people forget that he wants to play for a contender and that means that the team that gets him will not be allowed to give away any of its core to get him. if that were the case he would just stay in denver. give up on the troy murphy, favors, harris, or twill. They might give up outlaw and harris but expect to get another point guard in return. any deal for denver will hurt bad and that’s the way it is with free agency.

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