[Note: Originally Posted 09-21-2010 at 11:42 AM by DenButsu]
Melo, Melo, Melo. What’s gonna happen with Melo?
These days, Carmelo Anthony leisurely soaks up the drama he’s created by not signing the Denver Nuggets’ 3-year, $65 million extension offer, to the frustration of Nuggets fans and the Mr. Burns palm rubbing of opposing teams and their fans hoping he lands in their corner.
I’m not going to make any predictions. Everything is too fluid at this point to have a solid idea of where things will actually end up.
But what are the dynamics of the situation?
Here’s what I believe:
1. Melo intends to leave the Nuggs one way or another, but to do so gently. If he didn’t intend to leave, he’d have pulled a Durant instead of a Melo. But as Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company argues, and I agree, he’s also likely afraid of taking the kind of PR hit that LeBron took this summer. Especially given his past. So, he probably intends to see this process through to completion in a way that’s not overtly confrontational or antagonistic to the fans in Denver, or the Nuggets organization, or to the sensibilities of NBA fans in general. More simply put, he wants to emerge from this with as little **** stuck to him as possible.
2. Lala matters. She has a say in the decision making process. Or in other words, the destination will be either a huge media market, or very marketable They’re in this one together. So matter what Melo decides will be directly beneficial to her in some way. Most likely, that means ending up in L.A. or the N.Y. area. Although it could mean them just getting filthy rich through marketing Melo in China (which is to say, Houston).
3. Money matters. Melo, out of greed, won’t hold out and expire. He’ll be traded by the deadline for sure, but I’d say 85-90% it happens before the regular season, with offers at a fever pitch, with Melo still high on the hype he’s getting and the drama (he wants to emulate) surrounding this summer’s free agency, and with the Nuggets most likely to jump on a good offer if it comes their way. Why hasn’t Melo just come out and demanded a trade? Or committed to Denver? He said it himself last year: “I wasn’t going to leave no money on the table. We don’t do that where I come from.” He stands to lose at least 20 or 30 million dollars if they drop the max salary in the next CBA. Not. Gonna. Doit.
4. The combination of 1, 2 and 3 above give the Nuggets a measure of leverage that will result in them getting a pretty good deal. They won’t get equal value. And the deal will probably be aimed at a rebuild (which means they’ll have a lot more contract moving work to do quickly). But not only will demand from other teams be high, the combination of things that (I am presuming) Melo wants will mean that his short list isn’t too short (because to get that max extension he’ll be forced to work with the Nuggets and not against them), and if he wants to have his cake and eat it too (which I believe he does), he’ll have to be reasonably flexible.
5. I find New Jersey as frontrunner wholly believable. It puts Melo and Lala in New York. It puts him on a team with a fairly bright future, especially once he joins it. And it meets all three requirements of what the Nuggets are reportedly looking for (young talent, 1sts, cap relief). It’s probably the most mutually beneficial arrangement possible for both parties in this negotiation. And that’s the kind of arrangement where negotiations most often tend to end up.