Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Sebastian, Mark, Devin, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.
I'm sitting out this week, but my NAS colleagues kicked major derriere on the questions below. - DV
1) List in order the teams (New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and Houston Rockets) that have the best shot of acquiring Carmelo Anthony and what the winning bid (players traded to the Denver Nuggets) would be.
Sebastian: I am going to have to say the Rockets. They have a combination of what you need to trade for a star player. They have a lot of young talent at the Small Forward position (Chase Budinger and Shane Battier - who is expiring), and they have a ton of trade exceptions. Plus Daryl Morey seems to be a guy who can pull this thing off.
The Nets simply don't have enough to make the contracts match up. The only tradable contract that they have is Devin Harris, and the Nuggets don't really need a point guard.
Mark: Based purely on possible assets to trade I would say Nets, Rockets and Knicks. The Nets are obviously loaded with young, affordable talent on the NBA level and first and second round draft picks. If a guy like Terrence Williams continues to evolve into the player he was at the end of last season, perhaps Denver can be enticed with a package centered around him, Golden State's first rounder we acquired for Marcus Williams and Troy Murphy's expiring, though I'm guessing Denver will want at least Derrick Favors and/or Devin Harris (I'm sure they'll also ask for Brook Lopez, but that's not happening). With that being said, the whole point of importing a player like Anthony is to improve your core of players and become a title contender and if the Nets have to trade Harris or Favors to do that, I don't know if there's enough depth on this roster to reach that point. And consider if Anthony wants to leave Denver because he doesn't see them as a long-term title contender, why would he come to New Jersey to be a perennial 5th seed in the Eastern Conference? And obviously the Nets don't do any deals if Melo doesn't sign an extension. As per my quota let me just throw in that if the Knicks think a deal around Eddy Curry and the Rooster is going to get Denver interested, they're nuts.
Devin: I'm not going to keep falling for the New York media circus. They've just been wrong too many times about who's lining up to play at "The Mecca." (I've been to both venues many times. The Prudential Center is better.) Since the Rockets are an inexplicable choice to me (seriously, Houston? How random is that? Did their fans even think about the possibility of getting Melo? Did Morey? Who knew?), I'm going to have to go with the order they were given - Nets first, Knicks second, Rockets third. As for a straight-up Denver-NJ trade, the only thing that makes sense for the Nets to give up is Harris+T-Will+Hump+3mil+picks - but the Nuggets already have Billups & Lawson, which makes a trade for Harris's long-term deal unlikely.
2) How well will Anthony fit with that team?
Sebastian: Pretty well. Carmelo ends up playing with a good slashing point guard in Aaron Brooks and a great passing big man in Brad Miller. Also, you have sharpshooter Kevin Martin there to prevent any double teams. Oh, and then eventually Yao Ming will come back.
Mark: I like Anthony a lot and while I know people will say he hasn't won squat in Denver, I think he could make the Nets a force in the Eastern Conference. He slots in perfectly at SF and if the Nets can keep Harris, Lopez and a matured Favors around him, that's a pretty nice team. Not Miami thrice good, but good enough to contend.
Devin: Good question. His detractors will focus on his LeBron-like usage rate without LeBron-like production, but you'd be hard-pressed to find too many players with his offensive game that can be had at an affordable price, and if there's any coach that can harness that ability effectively it's Avery Johnson. It would require the Nets to pursue another point guard - Ben Uzoh as the second-string isn't going to cut it - but there are a few guys still on the market (like Earl Watson) who could fill in nicely, and I'd be very intrigued at the possibility of putting out a Farmar+Morrow+Melo+Murphy+ Lopez front 5 with Favors and Outlaw leading the second unit. That's a potential top-4 team in the East if the chips fall into place.
3) DV wants to know your thoughts on LeBron James speaking in the third person in his GQ feature and saying that he didn't think Dan Gilbert ever really cared about LeBron James. Also, how about Chris Bosh admitting he lied to fans of the Toronto Raptors regarding his intentions for which team he'll be playing for the upcoming season. Are these statements enough to make you more annoyed about the Super Friends in Miami? Or does it not affect you either way? DV thanks you for caring.
Sebastian: Meh, it doesn't really bother me, none of it did really. Players have the right to go where they want if they are free agents and they were. None of them demanded a trade or anything like that. The reason I bring this up is because I think that is the only reason people seemed to be bothered by the third person thing. They are just looking for things to rip him about right now. The only thing that bothers me in this whole thing is LeBron's decision, very poorly handled.
As for Chris Bosh. How many athletes say they are going to do one thing and then do the other? Again, it is people just looking for reasons to be annoyed by the Super Friends.
Mark: Are we still taking about Superfriends? That should tell you how I feel about all this right there. I know this is super bad karma, but I would be more intrigued to watch Miami games this season if LeBron and Bosh injure themselves in the preseason and Wade has to carry that team all by himself after all.
Devin: Devin is caring less and less by the day about what LeBron James, Chris Bosh, or Dan Gilbert cares about. This was fun for a couple of weeks - the buildup to the decision, the drama, the intrigue, the fallout over LeBron's character, and (seriously) the way it made me re-evaluate my own relationship with basketball fandom - but now it's playing out like an over-the-top reality show that should have been cancelled weeks ago. We'll find out next week that LeBron has his own gym-tanning-laundry ritual. That being said, this newest episode don't really change my feelings about the Dyna3, which can be boiled down to "it's creepy, but I get it."