The Denver Nuggets have a young, inexperienced and unsure front office now, and they’ll likely make an immense mistake by trading Carmelo Anthony(notes) before the start of the season.
What’s the rush to make yourself a garbage team? Why cave to agents Worldwide Wes and Leon Rose so quickly?
Carmelo Anthony is trying to force the Nuggets into trading him soon.
“If they do, it’s a self-imposed panic,” one rival executive said. “Right now, I don’t know if there’s anyone strong enough there to stand up.”
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Said an NBA executive whose team has talked with the Nuggets about a deal for Anthony: “I don’t know if they really know what they want yet.”
Too much can change before the February trade deadline, and what’s the benefit for Denver to do a deal now? Avoid ‘Melo becoming a distraction? Here’s a bigger distraction: a lousy team that Chauncey Billups(notes), Kenyon Martin(notes) and J.R. Smith(notes) don’t want to play on. That’s worse.
As NBA teams return to training camp next week, there are questions hovering everywhere. There are several pressing and intriguing ones, but maybe none with as much hinging on a franchise’s future as how the Nuggets handle Anthony’s exit.
Anthony promises he won’t re-sign and, well, what else is he going to say to get the trade now? Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has been working the phones on three-way trade scenarios which would land Anthony with one of the two preferred destinations – New York or Chicago – as reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears on Sept. 8. No one has benefited more from the Nuggets’ inexperience and perceived impatience than the Knicks, who are the most desperate to acquire Anthony.
The New Jersey Nets want Anthony, but they aren’t desperate for him. Nets head coach Avery Johnson wasn’t the most sold member of the organization on Derrick Favors(notes) on draft night, but he’s grown increasingly fond of the rookie forward in preseason workouts and believes Favors is going to be terrific someday. The Nets have time to rebuild now, whereas the Knicks are under incredible pressure to cash in all their salary space for a superstar. No one wants to hear about the Knicks landing Deron Williams(notes) and Chris Paul(notes) in the class of 2012.
Nevertheless, Anthony’s reps are trying to manipulate two young, inexperienced executives in Ujiri and 30-year-old owner Josh Kroenke. This is the most important decision this management team will ever make, and mishandling the matter could set the franchise back for years. Stars such as Anthony don’t come along often, and the Nuggets need to get together on a plan that spares the franchise what undoubtedly will be a painful process of trying to rebuild without him.