We scheduled this Carmelo to come out on Friday this past weekend, and our timing could be any better. While most fans were hoping that Carmelo would be available to try and trade for, that possibility just got more real this past Tuesday when Alex Kennedy tweeted that sources close to the situation said Carmelo won’t extend his contract with the Nuggets. If the Nuggets are convinced that Carmelo will walk away from the team, they could trade him for young assets to try and rebuild their roster. Out of all the teams with cap space to make a deal for Carmelo (and eat his salary), I think the Nets are the most attractive option. Not only do they have young players to deal, they have plenty of draft picks and cash they can include (the best the Knicks can do is Eddy Curry’s expiring contract!).
So who would the Nets deal to get Carmelo? Well, they can send Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, and a few draft picks to the Nuggets. Why would the Nuggets make this move? They get Terrence Williams (who is proving to be a hot commodity that other teams are interested in), a starting point guard in Devin Harris (which sets them up to trade Chauncey Billups’ large contract), and picks to gain some young talent. Is it equal value for Carmelo? Of course not, but deals like this are never really “even.” The reason the Nuggets would trade Carmelo is that they would rather get something back then letting him leave for nothing.
So what does Carmelo do to the Nets roster? Well, it gives them potentially one of the best front courts in the NBA, with Brook Lopez playing center, Derrick Favors playing power forward, and Carmelo playing small forward. Sure, they will be spread a little thin in the backcourt (and might even have to sign another PG – or call one up from the D-League), but they have enough talent there to be competitive. Jordan Farmar is a capable player, and many argue that he has the talent to be a starter in this league. At the 2 spot, you have Courtney Lee and Anthony Morrow there to split minutes.
So do Carmelo’s talents fit into this new roster? In my opinion they do. As Tom Haberstroh (who does great stuff) points out in an ESPN insider article, Carmelo likes to shoot in bulk. On this team he would have to (besides the times he dumps it into Brook), and that would be alright with me. On the defensive end, Carmelo has the potential to be a good defender, he just has never showed the commitment on that end of the court consistently. In my opinion playing for a coach like Avery Johnson would turn him into at least a decent defender.
The final issue of this is whether or not Carmelo Anthony would want to come to New Jersey. Why is this so important? Well, anyone trading for Carmelo would only be doing so after signing him to an extension. This means Carmelo can refuse to sign an extension and pretty much blow up any deal he doesn’t like. While the Nets don’t have a 2 big time players to pair up with Carmelo, I still think he would be interested in playing for the Nets. They are a team with young talent where he can be the leader (if he wants to be), and they are going to be moving to Brooklyn soon, and he has a chance to be the guy who ushers in that era (yeah, I know…this was my same argument for LeBron)