Blog Entry

Post-Ups (UPDATE)

Posted on: November 1, 2010 8:54 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2010 12:45 am
By not completing a trade for Carmelo Anthony before the start of the season, the Nets knew they were faced with a calculated risk. What could’ve been a coup for them – the Nuggets being awful out of the gate and Anthony making the situation untenable for coach George Karl – hasn’t happened. But something else has gone the Nets’ way as they’ve continued to keep the trade talks alive.

Derrick Favors, the centerpiece of a four-team deal sending Melo to New Jersey that fell apart last month, has shaken off a poor preseason and made important strides toward proving that he’s worthy of inclusion in a franchise-shaping transaction like the one Denver is considering. It’s only three games, but the No. 4 overall pick is shooting 58 percent from the field while averaging 10.3 points, 10 rebounds and only one turnover per game. His talent is raw, and his defensive instincts are nonexistent. But at the very least, Favors hasn’t done anything in this ridiculously small sample size to infect the Denver front office with any serious doubts.

One executive who has watched Favors went so far as to say, “His stock as skyrocketed,” which is true any way you look at it. (After the up-and-down preseason Favors had, one way to look at it is this: There was nowhere to go but up.) The Nuggets, according to sources, are still in wait-and-see mode. And they’ll be seeing plenty before the key date in this saga, Dec. 15, when summer free agents become trade-eligible.

One of the aspects of this decision that GM Masai Ujiri is evaluating is how competitive his team will be with Melo on board. The next two weeks will be telling, with five games against teams that made the playoffs in the West last season – Dallas (twice), the Lakers, Suns and Trail Blazers. Rival executives have speculated that in some ways, Ujiri’s job becomes more difficult if the Nuggets get off to a strong start. If that happens, it will be exponentially more difficult to sell an Anthony trade to the paying customers. Given that Anthony left no doubt that he’s leaving Denver one way or another when he told Yahoo! Sports last week, “It’s time for a change,” a catastrophic start to the season would’ve been a far easier environment in which to justify trading him.

Until then, the Nuggets, Nets and Knicks – Anthony’s preferred destination – are in limbo until more tradable assets flood the market in six weeks. Which gives us a chance to flood the market with the rest of this week’s Post-Ups:

• As interesting as it will be to watch the first head-to-head matchup between John Wall and Evan Turner, the top two picks in the 2010 draft, the more intriguing figure in the Wizards’ backcourt hasn’t played a minute yet this season: Gilbert Arenas. The artist formerly known as Agent Zero is likely a no-go against the Sixers Tuesday night as he prepares to undergo further tests on his injured right ankle. He’s already seen foot-and-ankle specialist Mark Myerson in Baltimore. While the Wizards hold out hope of making a Wall-Arenas backcourt work, the scant hope that Arenas and the $80 million he’s owed can be moved before the trade deadline requires Arenas to return to the court, be productive, show signs that his All-Star talent remains intact, and prove that he’s no longer a locker-room risk. None of that can happen until teams see a significant sample size of Arenas on the court.

• A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Denver’s interest in Portland swingman Nicolas Batum in a potential Anthony trade, but those overtures have fallen on deaf ears among the Trail Blazers’ brass. Portland isn’t about to include the talented, versatile Batum in a deal unless they’re getting Melo, which isn’t happening. Having said that, the Blazers have a tremendous asset in Batum if and when they get involved in any trade discussions as the deadline nears. Batum is not only affordable – he’s still on his rookie contract – but his value is much greater to faster-paced teams. With their grind-it-out style, the Blazers understand that they don’t take full advantage of Batum’s open-court abilities.

• Commissioner David Stern went easy on the Knicks over the Isiah Thomas fiasco, allowing Thomas and then the Knicks to announce the death of their failed attempt at a reunion via a blatantly illegal consulting arrangement. Stern could’ve really embarrassed Garden chairman James Dolan on that one, but elected to allow the Knicks and Thomas to clean up the mess themselves and then say there was no need for the league office to take action. Pending the outcome of a league investigation of alleged illegal workouts with draft prospects – some perpetrated under the Thomas regime as team president, according to Yahoo! Sports – the NBA office is not likely to be so kind this time around. While there is no precedent for forfeited draft picks for such violations, those alleged to have been committed by the Knicks in the Yahoo! report would be the most extensive and persistent on record. The league has hired outside counsel to investigate the allegations, and the Knicks plan to cooperate fully. All of this was simply another lesson that re-hiring Thomas in any capacity was a bad idea whether it was against NBA rules or not.

• I am justifiably puzzled by the Heat’s apparent pursuit of a point guard to get Miami’s offense running more smoothly until floor-spacer Mike Miller returns from injury. I could see the usefulness of a Derek Fisher-type in that role, but short of that, the Heat’s offense would run just fine with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James acting as interchangeable wings initiating the offense. Coach Erik Spoelstra could play that way now, if he wanted to, by benching Carlos Arroyo for James Jones – who would fill Miller’s role as the shooter until Miller returns. The problem with Jones is his lack of defense, but the rest of Miami’s defense is so smothering, I’m not sure Jones-for-Arroyo wouldn’t be worth examining. Something tells me the Heat will eventually realize that they don’t need a point guard, simply because they’ve already got two of them: Wade and LeBron. Besides, after signing the top three free agents on the market and turning the NBA upside-down this summer, it strikes me as gluttonous for the Heat to be out on the market pursuing more pieces. Dear Coach Riley: I think you’ve got enough.

UPDATED 12:45 a.m.

• Though most 2007 draft picks were not getting extensions by the midnight Tuesday ET deadline, the Suns agreed to a five-year, $22.5 million deal with Jared Dudley, said his agent, Mark Bartelstein. ESPN the Magazine reported that the Grizzlies signed Mike Conley to a five-year, $45 million deal. With hours to go before the deadline, only Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Dudley and Conley had received extensions amid uncertainty over a new collective bargaining agreement that makes it difficult to assess such players’ value.

• It cannot be overstated that the public truce between the Blazers and Rudy Fernandez is no indication that the Spanish star is happy spending this season – and next, now that his fourth-year option has been picked up – in Portland. While sources say Fernandez is resigned to the fact that he’s a Blazer for the foreseeable future, efforts by Fernandez and his agent, Andy Miller, to tone down the rhetoric will go a long way toward making the situation more fertile for a trade. If nothing else, the fact that Fernandez now has two years left on his contract makes him far less of a flight risk if he’s traded. The Blazers remain steadfastly opposed to giving Fernandez his wish and releasing him from his contract so he can return to Spain. So for now, Fernandez appears content to accept his minutes and role while allowing trade inquiries from other teams to progress naturally.


Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: November 3, 2010 3:08 am

Post-Ups (UPDATE)

Shoulda Coulda wrote:

Still can't figure out why anyone thinks Carmelo would sign an extension with the Nets, has he stated as much? makes what the Nets are offering irrelevent no? Nets not going to trade for him without an agreement on an extension I would think, so first he turns down an extension with Nuggets only to take the same amount of money to go to the Nets, plus gives up his free agency, when he prefers the Knicks and can just sign there next year, a lot less money aside, if money is not is sole motivation for Carmelo that just doesn't make sense to me, yet all I hear from reading these articles is the Nets are frontrunners, I'm confused???

I can't remember where I saw it, but I do recall reading in one of the early reports that Anthony's list of teams was pretty much restricted to the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls intially. Since there are a ton of conflicting reports, it is difficult to know exactly which teams were on that first list. I've even seen reports that the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers were on it. I'm obviously not sure how valid those reports are/were. 

All the reports agree that Chicago and New York were Anthony's first choices. Chicago has refused to part with Joaquim Noah, thus making it unlikely that they would be willing to gut theri team to get Anthony. Any trade with Chicago would almost have to include Luol Deng and Noah for it to work cap-wise. But Chicago doesn't want to lose Noah. And the NUggets are insisting on young talent and draft picks as a condition for trading Anthony. New York might be Anthony's preferred destination, but he Knicks don't really have enough assets to tempt Denver. Their lone star is Stoudamire and they certainly aren't going to trade him, even if the Nuggets wanted him, which they reportedly do not - they are intending to start over. So if New York i to be a serious contender, they must get a third (or fourth) team involved to help with the assets and draft picks the Nuggets want.

New Jersey was apparently not on Anthony's list originally, but he realizes that they will be playing in New York in the very near future and that is where he wants to be. And of all the teams, the Nets have by far the most assets for use in a trade. The downside is that there wouldn't be a lot left around Anthony. But New Jersey could retain more than any other team on Anthony's list. And there is other evidence as well that Anthony was willing to sign an extension in New Jersey. Regarding the four-team trade the Nets almost pulled off back in September, that 

One source close to the talks told on Friday night that the Nets expect to learn by Saturday whether Anthony will sign the extension. The New York Daily News, quoting a "reliable source," reported Friday night that Anthony has already approved the deal.

So it seems that Anthony would accept a trade to the Nets and would apparently sign the extension. Stein and many others reported after the deal fell apart that it was Denver, not Anthony, that caused the deal to fail. Anthony himself was apparently agreeable to the New Jersey trade. Which makes sense. All reports agree that the location is the most important thing for Anthony. he wants to be in a major media market, both for his wife's 'career' and for his own. But he also wants to go to a team that can be a contender in fairly short order - he knows that his time is limited and he doesn't want to go to a team that would need to utterly rebuild after acquiring him. 

Since: Nov 1, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2010 7:39 pm

Post-Ups (UPDATE)

I agree that he would accept a trade to Orlando, Chicago and other obvious types but enough of this Nets garbage, I agree with another poster, he would have been there already, people talk about a Knick bias, I see a Nets bias and I also believe that they do not have the best package, neither do the knicks, just my opinion.

Since: Aug 14, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2010 6:42 pm

Post-Ups (UPDATE)

Typical N.Y. homer... you sound like a damn fool, your Knicks have the most talent??? If the Knicks are including Amare in a trade then yeah the Knicks do have the most talent. Denver wants picks and young talent that they can advertise. No one wants the Knicks garbage and if Melo does end up in N.Y. the NBA is a complete joke cause the Knicks have nothing to offer... BOTTOM LINE. The best team for Carmelo... the Chicago Bulls, they have picks and young talent and if the Nuggets think they will get something better, they are crazy. They need to take Deng as well cause Deng would score big all the time in the western conference. Teams are sleeping on Deng because of his overblown contract but he really is a solid player just not an allstar player.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2010 5:49 pm

Batum's value is more than open court scoring

Portland isn't about to include the talented, versatile Batum in a deal unless they're getting Melo, which isn't happening. Having said that, the Blazers have a tremendous asset in Batum if and when they get involved in any trade discussions as the deadline nears. Batum is not only affordable – he's still on his rookie contract – but his value is much greater to faster-paced teams. With their grind-it-out style, the Blazers understand that they don't take full advantage of Batum's open-court abilities.

The problem with this assessment is the idea that a player's value is only derived from scoring. Nicolas Batum is a premier defender in the league already and destined to be selected to the All-NBA defensive team sooner than later. Nico is still learning to become assertive on offense and is encouraged to develop his offensive skills. However he still is streaky in his shooting and plays on a team vastly more talented than Batum's 2010 French National team. There are a number of players on Portland's roster that would score more on a lesser team. They have sunjegated their individual numbers to winning as a team - as every great team must accomplish. Wilt Chamberlain won his first title (1966-1967) only after he agreed to limit his scoring (from 44/game to 24/game) and work more as a team player (no, I did not compare Batum to Chamberlain in scoring skills).

Portland is already a challenger for the league title and perhaps already a contender. That value far exceeds the individual potential accolades of its parts. Open court opportunities will increase in Portland with the return of Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla from injury later this month or December. Those two domninant rebounders will allow the players like Batum to release earlier to play a more open court fast-break offense. But make no mistake - Nicolas Batum is more valuable to Portland if winning a championship is the goal than any likely traded player received. As we have seen in many years running - it takes defense to win in the playoffs. And Nicolas Batum is Portland's finest perimeter defender.

Since: Dec 15, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:33 pm

Post-Ups (UPDATE)

Are we still talking about a potential Melo deal with the Nets? Well since we are im gonna say Melo would be out of his mind to want Denver to send him to the New Jersey Nets! Not cause they are a bad team, if they were to deal Melo to N.J and lose the decent players they have then who would he be paired up with for a decent run. Which brings me to my next point the Knicks on the other hand have far better talent to offer Denver with Wilson Chandler's emergence and all the other players like Anthony Randolph along with shooters like Walker, Gallinari plus Curry's expiring deal we have a solid combination of players that can be moved and still have enough to make a solid run at the playoffs and beyond.


Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:46 am

If I Owned the Nuggets..................

If I owned the Denver Nuggets, I would announce to the world that Carmelo Anthony will NOT be traded and will finish out the season as a Nugget.  I would then be sure that the General Manager rebuffed ALL trade attempts and kept no one on the back burner, "just in case".  With the impending collective bargaining agreement coming, talk of contraction, lock outs and player salary reductions, I would make Anthony sweat it out.  As each day passed, he would  become more and more worried about how much money he was going to lose.  The media following the story would hear from their sources and report that the Nuggets were not budging, only adding to Anthony's worries.  Eventually, Anthony would either come off of his extremely limiting demands, or wind up taking a multi-million dollar hit by signing under next year's CBA, if there is a next year.  If it doesn't work, then you always could still trade him at the deadline, so there is nothing to lose for Denver to try and bluff him into losening his demands.  Personally, I'd like to see Denver freeze him out, and cost him about $20 million dollars or more by signing next season.

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2010 2:34 am

Post-Ups (UPDATE)

As far as the Carmelo Anthony situation is concerned, this is pretty simple. Anthony does indeed want to be a New York Knick - every report I have read agrees on that. As to why he is not waiting until the end of the season, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is the fact that next year's CBA - as has been pointed out many time already - is an unknown entity. Will the player salaries go down? Almost assuredly. Will the league try for a hard cap? Definitely, though they may or may not get it. So this is what is driving Carmelo. He chose to sign an extension last time around instead of trying the free agent market as Wade and James did. But now he's getting worried - he wants his money. 

The Nuggets understandably want to get as much value as they can. I agree with those who have said that they realize they are not going to get equal value. But all reports agree that they want young talent and draft picks (not necessarily in that order) from any team that wants Carmelo. And of course the entire situation is complicated by Carmelo's short list of teams with whom he would be willing to sign an extension. The Knicks and Nets are his preferred choices. I suspect that if the Lakers had a need for him (or an open roster spot), he would be open to relocating to LA as well, but the Lakers already have a superstar or two and the Clippers ownership is too well-known (and too much reviled) around the League for him to want to take a chance on that franchise. So New York is his choice. 

But he is going to have to wait. The Nets are still the front-runners - they have the best assets to offer. But once the December 15 deadline for trading players signed over the summer passes, things will almost certainly heat up. The Nuggets know they are going to have to trade Anthony. For his part, Carmelo will do his best to avoid going to a team that had to strip its roster to get him - this has been reportedly one of his major concerns. He's not stupid- he doesn't want to be The Man on a team with no one else. If the KNicks can get some other teams involved, they are probably the favorites since they are definitely Carmelo's preferred destination. But I still think that New Jersey has a better chance of putting together a deal that Denver will accept. And while New Jersey is not Anthony's first choice, it is a New York area team. And that is where Carmelo wants to be.

I have to chuckle at the comments about how Anthony has 'handled this the right way'. It is true he has handled it with a lot more class than LeBron James. But that is a fairly low bar. And whether Anthony likes to admit it or not, he is responsible for the entire situation - he didn't have to go public and try to force his way out of Denver. Instead, he could have waited until the end of the season and changed addresses as a free agent. Nothing wrong with that - a lot of other great players have done precisely the same thing. It is entirely understandable why he does not want to wait, although it also shows his greed - does it really make a difference if he earns 14 million or 12 million per season? Carmelo Anthony is trying to have his cake and eat it too, and in that regard, he is equally as selfish and immature as James was over the summer. 

That being said, Denver does bear some of the blame as well. George Karl is currently a lame duck coach - Denver has yet to offer him an extension. And some of Anthony's closest friends in the organization have been forced out, like Tim Grgurich, Rex Chapman and Mark Warkentien. The new front office is devoid of Anthony supporters that I can see and George Karl himself has a lot of uncertainty around his future with the organization. So the Nuggets bear some of the responsibility for creating the situation that made Anthony ask out. However, I think more of the blame probably rests on Anthony's new wife. LaLa Vasquez is a third-rate Kardashian wanna-be, and she desperately wants the spotlight that only New York and Los Angeles can really offer. Anthony is an East Coast kind of guy, but he was happy in Denver for some years. So it is highly likely that his new bride has been pushing him to go to a city that can offer her the kind of lifestyle she wants - a lifestyle that Denver simply cannot offer. 

Ultimately, Anthony will be traded and it will happen almost certainly before this season's trade deadline. Denver knows Anthony wants out and they also know they must get some kind of value for him or lose him in free agency next summer. But they are not without leverage themselves. The uncertainty around the cap is balanced by the growing probability that there will be a lockout. Next season may be lost, whether partially or completely is still unknown. Anthony doesn't want to lose any of his prime years if he can avoid it. So it is in his interests as well to allow a move to happen so he can at least lock up his money now. I expect that once December 15 rolls around, negotiations will start heating up. Until then, unless someone makes Denver an offer they cannot refuse, the Nuggets will probably sit tight. And Anthony will play as well as he can - he does not want a Starbury type reputation dragging down his value. So far he has said all the right things and has certainly put forth the effort on the court. I expect that to continue until Denver can finally trade him.

Since: Nov 1, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2010 12:35 am


I don't understand why most people, except a few cannot understand this simply situation. Melo wants to be a N.Y. Knick. No matter what the N.J./soon to be Brooklyn Nets have to trade or the Nuggets want in return. There is nothing anybody can or will do, its in Melo hands.As for the contract Melo makes millions already, even if he leaves the 3-year $65 million dollar contract on the table cause the Nuggets want to be difficult. In the long-run the Nuggets will get less valve, because Melo will be closer to Free Agency.As for money Melo will make so much money in New York with the Knicks via Marketing, Jerseys/Etc. & even buy stocks in the team before he signs.Melo has never said he's wanted to sign with the Nets, so stop it. It makes no sense. If he really wanted to be a Net it would've been already. He would of signed his extension and done a sign and trade "ALREADY". 
***Carmelo is not Labron. Carmelo has respect for the game. He's doesn't play games with teams or the "DECISION" waste of time. Melo is Loyal to the his team, fans and he tries to even give the Nuggets a head-up in order to get something in return for the team and its fans. Instead of what Labron did playing games with several team including the Cav's and giving up in the playoff for the Cav's *** So Carmelo i respect your decision and thank you for not being like Labron. I respect Labron and think he's a great player, but without the NBA and its fans Labron is nothing.

Since: Nov 1, 2010
Posted on: November 1, 2010 11:16 pm

Favors worthy of Melo?

I think you're seriously underestimating Favors.  To say that he had "nowhere to go but up" overlooks that after 3 games he (1) has the highest rebounding % in the NBA (2) has done more (measured by Win Scores) per minute than Griffin, Wall, Cousins, Turner, or Wes Johnson (3) has played excellent defense ("his defensive instincts are nonexistent"??? who told you that?) (4) while being the youngest player in the league.   As a Nets fan, I hope Denver stays unconvinced of his value--  let Melo go to the Knicks where he can play in the defense-free system he loves. 

Since: Jul 5, 2010
Posted on: November 1, 2010 10:12 pm


It's a good question WouldaShoula.

IMO Melo wants to go to Jersey because next year they're the brooklyn nets.  And no matter what the Brooklyn nets will be a cool team that sell jerseys.

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