Nets Of the Round Table: More Melo, Sleepers, Tears For LeBron

Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Mark, Devin, Evan, Justin, Danny, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.

1) Carmelo Anthony rumors are brewing again and this time, it’s alleged that the New York Knicks have skipped over the New Jersey Nets as the favorites.  They’d give up Danilo Gallinari and/or Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, and trade Wilson Chandler for a first round pick to give to the Nuggets.  How would this affect the Knicks?

Mark: It would certainly bring a lot of attention back to the Garden, and my guess is Chris Paul would soon be pining to play there too, though I don’t know how the Knicks could acquire him with a now bare pantry.  Personally, unless the Nets totally back out, I don’t see ‘Melo going to the Knicks. The Nets could top their best offer and still have assets leftover to try and get one more player.

Devin: It would make them more appealing, definitely. Carmelo is a spotlight kind of guy, and pairing him with Amar’e at the Garden would make James Dolan a lot of money and at least get them from the 7th-seed range where they are now up to the 4th-5th. They’d still need one more piece (like Chris Paul, for instance) to really compete with the biggest and baddest of the NBA, but it would be a step for them – and while losing The Rooster and Wilson Chandler would hurt, Carmelo is a pretty worthwhile prize.

Evan: Over the last 48 hours the Carmelo Anthony rumors have once again heated up, and it now seems as though the likely destination for ‘Melo will be either New York or New Jersey. There is no doubt that he wants to play in this area, and while he initially didn’t seem to want to be in Jersey, he may have changed his mind on the Garden State and the Nets. If this proposed deal between the Nuggets and Knicks went through, the Nets’ biggest rival would immediately become a playoff team.  Raymond Felton, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo would be quite a nucleus and as much as I hate to say it, the Knicks would once again be very relevant. That’s why I think the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes are very important in terms of the pecking order between the Knicks and Nets. Don’t get me wrong, the Nets should not overpay just to get him and need to make a smart deal, but if they were able to get ‘Melo and keep him away from the Knicks, that would greatly help their standing in the tri-state area.

Justin: While I don’t give much weight to the allegations of the Knicks being the new frontrunners, not with the latest reports out at least, let’s live in hypothetical world for a moment and say this trade does indeed go through. First of all, that and/or is a big factor in this deal. If its Gallinari or Randolph, whichever one of those two remains would give the Knicks Stoudemire, Carmelo and either Gallinari or Randolph which to me would be an improvement upon what the Knicks have now and would certainly put them in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. If the trade becomes Gallinari and Randolph, well now you’re losing two of big time talents and the team is going to have to very heavily rely on the talents of Stoudemire and Melo as what would be left on the Knicks roster would be a collection of role players. The big key here in my opinion is Gallinari. I think he’s already a good player and has the potential of being a multi time all-star. If the Knicks can somehow swing a deal for Anthony and still manage to keep Gallinari, they would have a nice roster. As far as the other stuff goes, the draft picks, cap space, even a young asset like Wilson Chandler, to me don’t matter. The Knicks are not a team that is going to attempt to rebuild through the draft anyway. Making this deal would then put them in great position to make a serious run at Chris Paul. Now, before I get sick to my stomach let’s come back out of hypothetical world, and let’s trust the latest reports from David Aldridge and Chris Broussard who both report the Nets are still the front runners for Anthony and not the Knicks.

Danny: While it seems to me that the Nets still have the lead in the Carmelo Anthony deliberations, if the Knicks had to give up Gallinari, Randolph, Chandler, and a first-round pick to get him, it wouldn’t put them any better than fifth in the Eastern Conference. While they would be immensely talented and entertaining at the forward spots with him and Amar’e Stoudemire, and decent at point guard with Raymond Felton, they’d be bare at the pother two positions — save the development of Timofey Mozgov into a legitimate NBA center. Even if everything went great, they’d still finish behind the Heat, Celtics, Magic, and Bulls.

2) Fantasy basketball type of question… who are a few sleepers to watch out for this upcoming season?

Mark: Robin Lopez could be interesting in Phoenix with Amare now out of the picture. If the Nets unload Devin Harris I think Jordan Farmar could be an interesting pickup. Otherwise, I’m not the best person giving fantasy basketball advice.

Devin: I can’t say Michael Beasley fast enough. The guy is in an all-new situation on a team with no real scorers and no one who will chuck shots. He will have every opportunity to score 30 points in a game this season with relatively efficient numbers. He was a great rebounder in college, and while he might not get 10-12 boards a game he’ll be able to help you enough in that department to make it worthwhile. Get him in the late rounds or on the cheap in an auction league and you won’t regret it. Three other guys who I won’t give explanation for are Mike Miller, Yao, and Anthony Morrow.

Evan: Three names to keep an eye on for the 2010-11 season for fantasy basketball: Darren Collison, Ben Gordon and Terrence Williams. Collison had a tremendous rookie season in New Orleans and boasted some very impressive numbers while Chris Paul was out of the lineup. Now the UCLA product has the starting job in Indiana and his numbers will be even better. The Pacers may not be a great team, but with Danny Granger and a developing Roy Hibbert around him, Collison should have a very solid season. Sure the last two picks are kind of homers for me (BG is a former UConn Husky and T-Will is a Net) but I’m writing this so I can pick whatever players I want. Ben Gordon will be prime for a bounce-back season after an injury-riddled 2009-10, and if you’re looking for scoring on your fantasy team, Gordon is a solid mid-draft pickup. It’s been no secret that I love everything about Terrence Williams’ game (except for the high number of turnovers). This guy is the definition of a player that fills up the box score and he will give your fantasy team a great deal of versatility. He won’t score 20 points a night, but I think a lot of fantasy players would sign for around 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists per game from T-Will.

Justin: Russell Westbrook – Obviously him putting up a nice season would be of no shock to anyone, but I feel this year Westbrook can make the jump from good to great and become an all-star. I don’t know if he’ll be drafted like that in fantasy this year, thus the sleeper tag. Terrence Williams – May not be a sleeper to us in the metro area, but to the rest of the country, I believe he is. Has the potential to put up a season of 18, 6 and 5? Javale McGee – big, athletic and will be able to get up and down the court with John Wall. J.J. Hickson could be a potential sleeper this year too.

Danny: Well I have to include Terrence Williams here. He’s just so great across the stat board that he’s a gem in the late rounds of fantasy drafts as long as he can come close to duplicating his production from the end of last season. Other names to consider are Eric Gordon, who’s coming off stellar play with the US National team; Al Jefferson, who doesn’t seem to be getting any credit in Utah; and Antawn Jamison, who’s going to be responsible for the bulk of the offensive production in Cleveland now that LeBron is gone.

3) LeBron James retweeted a few negative tweets he received to his 900,000 followers to show what he has to go through and letting people know that being a superstar isn’t all a bed of roses.  Naturally it’s his right to retweet, but do you think LeBron’s retweeting and reason is a bit whiny or baby-ish?

Mark: Well, on the positive side, at least he’s demonstrating a little less in tone deafness by realizing that he’s not the world’s most beloved athlete anymore. At this point, I think it’s disingenuous for any of us to think that LeBron James is going to wake up one morning and “get it.” He’s been treated like basketball royalty since he was a teenager and he’s surrounded himself with people who continue to indulge him.  So rather than get hot and bothered by it, I’m going to laugh at what a petty little millionaire-twerp he is.

Devin: I don’t think it’s whiny at all. The kind of comments LeBron was receiving are absolutely no joke. It’s good to have a reminder that athletes and celebrities receive these kind of hate-filled messages, and he’s not being a baby by trying to bring it to light. I think it’s possible if he overdoes it that it may lose its impact (even though that seems counter-intuitive), but I think it’s almost a necessary reminder that, hey, there are still really, really awful people in the world.

Evan: Let me put this as bluntly as I can – I have almost no respect left for LeBron James. Four months ago there was nothing more I wanted than to have him sign with the Nets and be the franchise savior. But his actions over the last few months have destroyed his image, and this most recent one is just the tip of the iceberg. Look, none of those people that tweeted should be saying such hateful things about anyone in life, but what did LeBron expect? He turned his back on his hometown, and worse he went about it in such a pompous, arrogant way. LeBron felt he needed to make these tweets public and tell everyone that being a superstar “ isn’t all a bed of roses.” Is this guy for real? Does he think he’s the first athlete in sports history that has ever had hateful things said about him? I could only imagine if Twitter was around in the 1980s what Celtics fans would have tweeted about Magic Johnson, or in the 90s what Knicks fans would say about MJ. The fact of the matter is that LeBron James just can’t deal with people not liking him. He is a very fragile person that has perhaps permanently tarnished his reputation with his actions over the past few months. That is why I hope he never wins in Miami and continues to put his foot in his mouth.

Justin: Of course it is his right to retweet, but I don’t believe he should have, personally. Not sure how much sympathy an athlete who makes millions and millions of dollars is going to get in the first place. Secondly, why give someone who makes ignorant and racist remarks the satisfaction of getting a reaction from LeBron? My suggestion to him would be, internalize all the negative remarks, and let it fuel you.

Danny: Speak of the devil! While most people think LeBron should just shut up and that he’s just digging himself a deeper hole with every appeal to the public, I’m okay with this latest action. This guy has a lot of people who hate him now(and I’m sure he spared us some of the more violent death threats he undoubtedly received), so I think he’s just trying to show that he’s been taking it in stride all along, and once the season starts, he’s going to play with a chip on his shoulder. The only way he can break free of the binds that he has fastened for himself over the last few months is to go out on the court and make things happen. Pointing out certain people’s hatred is a sneak peek at what he’s preparing to do this year with the Heat.