Posted on: August 17, 2010 4:36 pm
Posted by Royce Young
This Carmelo Anthony stuff is heating up. Heating up as in something might happen sooner than later. Heating up as in refresh Twitter every 15 seconds to make sure you didn't miss anything.
More information begins to find its way out in the 'Melo situation and as Mark Kizla of The Denver Post says , Denver doesn't want to get LeBron'd. The Nuggets want to be the proactive party in this situation, take control and maintain leverage. So where could 'Melo go? Ken Berger reports that the Knicks are a preferred destination but the Magic are another likely candidate. But what are the Nuggets' options? And what would it take to pry him from Denver? We discuss:
Posted on: August 17, 2010 3:37 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2010 8:14 pm
As Ken Berger reports on the latest developments in Carmelo Anthony's exit strategy, a familiar pattern is forming, one that we saw played out over the past year in Cleveland.
Posted by Matt Moore
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger brought news last week that Carmelo Anthony was angling for a move to New York, that the situation was (according to a close source to him), "perfect for him." Now ESPN's Ric Bucher has echoed that report, stating that Carmelo is "likely" to go , and that it is a question of when, not if, Anthony will depart the Nuggets. Denver fans are holding themselves to the same mantra we heard from Raptors fans last summer and Cleveland fans as recently as June, that no reports can be trusted and that their star player can't find a better situation than the one he's in now.
But the situation is gaining steam , not dying down. The Denver Post reports today that the Nuggets are starting to evaluate options in parting ways with Melo and getting some level of return. And it would appear those avenues are starting to open and become more varied as well.
Today KB reports the following to the F&R Blog via email in the evolving Melo-camp discussions:
Anthony's hesitation to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets goes beyond his desire to enjoy the major-market exposure and pressure that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade turned down this summer. Melo would accept other destinations as well, and the Magic are believed to be at the top of his list along with the Knicks, according to a person familiar with his strategy.
The short-and-long? Melo wants out of Denver, and onto a title contender, and wants it now. Not in free agency. Now. And any questions as to whether that's the case don't need to be answered by off-record sources. The evidence and a little deductive logic speaks for itself.
The most prominent response from skeptics as to if this is really Melo's desire is "Why hasn't he just said so?" And the answer is pretty simple. He already has. Just because he hasn't publicly demanded a trade, costing himself fine money and damaging his image, doesn't mean the evidence isn't right there. There's a three-year, $65 million offer from the Nuggets just waiting for him to sign it. The lack of Carmelo's signature on the dotted line isn't in and of itself a declaration that the Nuggets are off the table. But if they were what he wanted, why not just sign it? The money's there. He's been there, has friends there. It's hard to believe the Nuggets are actually holding out in offering Anthony something he wants. Whatever he's looking for, they'll oblige.
So what's he waiting for?
It's the same question I asked myself last year as Cleveland fans repeatedly told me that James had no interest in leaving. That he loved Cleveland and there was no way he would depart, would abandon them. I always walked away from these exchanges with the same question.
"Okay, then, so why hasn't he? What's he waiting for?"
A simple public statement "I look forward to finishing my career in Cleveland." Or, "We'll sit down with Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry and get to work on the deal . It may take some time, but it'll get done." He could have still entered free agency to maintain leverage to make sure he wasn't short-changed in any regard (who's going to short-change LeBron James?). All he had to do was make those kinds of public commitments and the media wouldn't have embarked on the 100-ring circus we set up. Don't put the goat in the exhibit and expect the T-Rex will stay out of sight.
And just as James never provided those kinds of assurances, always dancing around the subject, saying "We're going to go through the process" and "I love the fans in Cleveland," Anthony's embarked upon the same careful footwork. "There is no timeline" is the new "Cleveland has the edge." And the parallels don't stop there. The Cavaliers panicked when it looked like James was unhappy with Cavs management over their ability to build a roster around him, and fired head coach Mike Brown and came to a separation with Danny Ferry. Sound familiar? Denver dropped both Mark Warkentian and Rex Chapman, both of whom were held in high regard in NBA circles.
Oh, and who is Anthony's agent again?
Oh, that's right. Leon Rose. LeBron's agent and representative for CAA, which also employs William Wesley. If we were in the Matrix, the cat would have walked by twice by now and asked for the Nuggets to fly to New York to pitch Anthony using PowerPoint.
I'm not the first to say there's smoke in regards to this here fire. Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post laid out the remaining circumstantial evidence , including Anthony's sale of a Colorado estate and his East Coast upbringing (though Anthony was raised in Baltimore, he was born in New York; you're going to be hearing that fact about seven hundred zillion more times in the foreseeable future). But there's one more factor that seems to tie this whole mess of speculation and prediction together.
The discussion has been hard and heavy that Anthony's torn between the allure of a new team in free agency and wanting the financial security provided under this (presumably more player-favorable) CBA agreement. The idea was simple. Anthony wants the money, first and foremost, and for that he needs to stay in Denver. But that's only if he enters free agency. If Anthony were to be traded to a new team, that team could then extend him under the current CBA. And that feeds into the last connection between Anthony and the Miami Triad. The allure of getting everything you want, how you want it. With a trade, Anthony can find himself in a new location in title contention, and get the extension he wants. It's the best of all worlds.
The age of players having to simply accept their respective situations may be ending. If Carmelo Anthony can find a way to escape to a major market, joining a top team to contend and get the financial security of the current CBA, we'll have seen the latest manifest of the players' power in the modern NBA.
It's Denver's move. And how the next six months play out could speak volumes as to the fate of their franchise. It will also reaffirm the impact of what went on this summer in free agency, and how the landscape has changed.
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Posted on: August 16, 2010 7:04 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 7:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Earlier, it was just all signs pointing to Carmelo Anthony leaving. And now, word is he actually, truly, really will leave Denver.
Ken Berger reported over a week ago that Anthony desperately wants to play in New York. Today, ESPN's Ric Bucher reports that 'Melo is almost a lock to leave Denver.
Nuggets' blog Denver Stiffs lays out Denver's options with Anthony. And pretty much all of them have the best case scenario being a trade or a sign-and-trade. They see 'Melo as good as gone and are doing the proper thing and laying out scenarios in which Denver can survive losing its star.
A quality point from Andrew Feinstein, who wrote the post on Denver Stiffs:
That's an interesting point. If Anthony wants to play in New York, the reality is the Knicks are a team that doesn't have the assets or pieces necessary to make such a trade. So if 'Melo wants to be in the Big Apple, he'll have to play a lame duck season in Denver and wait for free agency. Or somehow convince Nugget management to take peanuts in exchange for him.
Denver's obviously in a difficult spot. Right now, the Nuggs don't even have a general manager. But there are definitely options. Though they might not include Carmelo Anthony in power blue anymore. If Anthony was completely sold on the Nuggets, he'd have signed the three-year deal by now. He's looking at his "options" and doing "what's best for him and his family." To translate: Peace out Denver, it was fun while it lasted.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:45 am
Posted by Royce Young
The Knicks had their eye on the summer of 2010 for a few years. It was their chance to return to glory by shelling out big money to big name free agents. In the end, only one signed and New York was left waiting for the next shot at a star.
Well, signs might be pointing to a certain Denver Nuggets stud leaning towards New York. Besides Ken Berger's report that Carmelo Anthony wants to play in the Big Apple, Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post says there are some serious smoke signals that 'Melo prefers New York.
These are some of the dots: He's selling his Littleton estate; the constant reports of Anthony telling friends that he wants to play for the New York Knicks; his New York wedding; his East Coast upbringing; summer trade talk that has cropped up twice in his time in Denver, which hasn't always made him feel wanted; oh, and not signing a contract that averages around $21.6 million per year for the next three years, a sizable amount of money that he may not be able to earn with a new collective bargaining agreement.It's definitely to the point for Anthony that it's not just wild speculation. The interest appears to be real and even with a $65 million extension on the table from Denver, Anthony has said he's taking his time and also envoked the "do what's best for me and my family" clause.
On the other hand, Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups is hopeful Anthony will stay in the Rockies. "I'm 100 percent hopeful," Billups told the New York Post . "It's between me and my guy. If y'all have a close personal friend and they're going through something and the media asks, you're not going to expose that. Y'all find out when he wants y'all to know."
No doubt Carmelo Anthony's free agency will likely be the major drama of next offseason. And much like New York's courtship of LeBron, there's some serious flirtation going on from both sides. But just The King's decision, we'll likely just have to wait until next year to get the final answer.
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:19 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
That's the question NBA blogger Matt Moore (what, even the Panthers quarterback needs a hobby) and I set out to answer in a series of emails Thursday night when Brandon Marshall announced he was heading to the NBA if the NFL lockout actually occurs. These are those emails.
Brinson : So, Brandon Marshall wants to play in the NBA when/if the NFL gets locked out. Unfortunately, there's not enough roster spots to go around for my NFL peeps to just make the jump (not to mention 75% of them couldn't make it in the L), but it kind of brings up an interesting question: which guys from the NFL could ball it up in the NBA?
I think at some point we've discussed crossing over the other way (Bron would be an epic tight end and Allen Iverson's high school tapes still make me drool) but who the hell is your first pick from the NFL pool if you're creating a basketball team? Or, alternately, could Marshall make it? At 6'4", 230 he at least has the body, if not the game.
Moore: As I said in my post (SYNERGY, BABY), he's got a combo-guard's body, but a small forward's skillset. Maybe with his soft hands and awareness, his handle would actually be pretty good. Wait, why does it sound like I'm building his Match.com profile? Anyway, his athleticism would transfer, and that's really the big determining factor. Athleticism is at a premium in the NBA. Work ethic and focus are much more important in the NFL, and that's why guys like Wes Welker likely wouldn't translate well. But Marshall is kind of an ideal candidate.
I'd be interested to see some of the taller, slimmer defensive ends at power forward and center. But even then, most would be too small. Julius Peppers is 6-7 and 283. That's small forward height with power forward weight. As a comparison, Josh Smith is 6-9 and 234. That weight differential is what would probably make the most awkward translation. Then again, most NBA players would likely be destroyed by the sheer physical nature of these guys.
Brinson: I love that you thought of Wes Welker, who's barely taller than me . (Although, hey, Earl Watson, Muggsy and Spud made it ...) But you're right -- Marshall would be a good candidate to shift leagues.
As would Peppers, who, I'm sure you know, played ball at Carolina. So he's got a pedigree, not to mention being a freakish athlete. Size would be an issue, though: you almost never see NFL players even sniff the high end of six feet.
Also, think about guys like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates (who also played basketball). Gates is 6'4", 260 and fast, which makes him an unbelievable tight end prospect. But in the NBA? He'd be a fat shooting guard. (Or, so Gates doesn't beat me up next time I see him, how about "stocky"?)
Moore: I mean, that's really the issue. It's not a matter of the NBA guys being more athletic, it's that they're athletic at the things which make them good at basketball. How's that for some obvious analysis? Essentially, all those high flying catches you see in the NFL? That's an average NBA jump. That's "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter" in the NBA.
Now, the explosiveness would probably translate. The way tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers, running backs, and receivers come out of their breaks? That would work well on the perimeter, provided they could dribble. Of course, they'd have to be able to finish at the rim, but then you'd think the hyper aggression might get them there.
Hey here's an idea. Ray Lewis versus Kevin Garnett. I know they're both past their primes, but think of the insanity on the floor.
Brinson: Yeah, I'm pretty confident that Gates can dunk without any real issue, but he's not going to be going against six-foot-tall DBs when he's attacking the hoop or boxing out people on the block. Or as you put it "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter," a.k.a. a "Vince Carter Rebound."
Here's the other problem -- how many shots is Gates going to get off with J-Smoove guarding him? Like 10 out of every 20 with a lot fadeaways mixed in?
How about instead, we just bring Tractor Traylor out of retirement and have he and Andre Smith go NBA Jam style with Garnett and Ray-Ray? Fat AND crazy -- that's something I can get behind.
Moore: Bringing it back home, if Marshall can shoot, then I think he could conceivably make a roster. I mean, how many guys at the end of a bench are there only for their athleticism? I think that the size differential between NFL (shorter and more muscle) and NBA (longer and lankier) means it's going to be difficult for anyone, but Marshall's receiver-to-combo-guard may be the model.
You know, if we can't get Tractor Traylor back.
Do you think Marshall could ball in the NBA? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @cbssportsnfl and @cbssportsnba .
Posted on: August 12, 2010 7:19 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 8:52 pm
NFL star receiver will try out for Nuggets or Heat if NFL suffers lockout in 2011.
Posted by Matt Moore
NFL star receiver Brandon Marshall is a terrific athlete and has an enormous ego that helped jettison him from Denver to Miami. Which means he'd be a perfect fit for the NBA. Which makes it convenient that Marshall says if the NFL is under lockout in 2011, he'll try out for the NBA, and predictably, he thinks he'll make it.
Marshall told reporters today at Dolphins training camp he planned on auditioning for either the Nuggets or Heat if the NFL locks out the players next year. Of course, what Marshall's probably unaware of is that the NBA is headed for a lockout of its own. Details, details!
How would Marshall, a high school basketball player, fare at the NBA? Well, he's definitely got the athleticism you look for. Killer speed and leaping ability. Unfortunately, he's 6-4, putting him squarely in the point-guard to combo-guard category. And that means he'd need an exceptional handle in order to have any impact. But hey, if he's killing time, playing in the NBA isn't a bad way to go about it.
Of course, you have to wonder what the Dolphins would say about this. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
Posted on: August 4, 2010 1:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
One thing can be certain about whoever is hired as Mark Warkentien's replacement in Denver: Carmelo Anthony better like him.
Anthony is reportedly planning on testing free agency waters next summer and will leave a three-year extension on the table. So while Denver looks for a new general manager, whoever that person is, has a tall task in front of him.
Right now, one name has popped up in two places. Both Doug Smith of the Toronto Star and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! mentioned Masai Ujiri of the Raptors, who has ties with the Nuggets from a few years ago. Smith says, "there is legitimate interest both ways" and feels like Ujiri is almost assured at least an interview.
Another name is Wizards' executive Tommy Sheppard, also a former employee of the Nuggets. As Spears says, Nugget owner Stan Kroenke loves both Ujiri and Sheppard. Finally, Spears also mentioned former Suns GM David Griffin and described him as a "strong candidate."
Of course there are still guys like Kevin Pritchard and Danny Ferry on the market who are proven and well respected GMs. But it appears, at least in the early going, that Denver is interested in someone formerly connected to the franchise.
Whoever gets the job has a strong centerpiece for next season. But the real job is convincing 'Melo to stay and then finding the pieces to satisfy him if he does. Evidently Warkentien, one of the best GMs in the league, didn't fit in well with Kroenke and the organization. So maybe the job is a tall task altogther and not just because of 'Melo's extension.
Posted on: August 4, 2010 11:00 am
Edited on: August 4, 2010 11:02 am
Posted by Royce Young
Late Tuesday, the Nuggets let go two of their top executives - Mark Warkentien and Rex Chapman. The reasoning was simply because as a press release said, "We decided that it would be best for all parties to go their separate ways."
It was somewhat shocking just in a sense of Warkentien's success (named 2008-09 Executive of the Year), but as Ken Berger noted, expected to come for months. But Warkentien is considered a star in the NBA front office world, so like Kevin Pritchard, he'll be a hot commodity.
And Marc Berman of the New York Post says , the Knicks might be a prime landing spot for Warkentien if Donnie Walsh decides to make a hire to pass along some responsibility. Berman also notes, "The Post reported recently the well-respected Warkentien, a friend of Walsh's, had a preliminary interview with the Knicks last summer after being given permission by the Nuggets owner."
Teams are turning over front offices left and right it seems, so a proven builder and winner like Warkentien will likely be at the top of most wishlists. Warkentien constructed a roster in Denver that played at a high pace, so teaming him with Mike D'Antoni's offensive system could be a nice fit. And by all accounts, Warkentien had a good relationship with Carmelo Anthony, so maybe hiring him would be a step in winning over 'Melo next summer.