I have been purposely trying to avoid talking about Carmelo Anthony as these rumors have been developing over the past couple of weeks. Not because I am getting tired of the talk and the rumors (though as we move into the second week of being “front runners” it is starting to get tiresome), just because I don’t know what side of the argument I fall on. With details of the Nets’ offer now in the media, I decided to put down my thoughts on a deal that I am still unsure about (I was going to do a post on how Troy Murphy will be used in the Nets’ offense, but we might be jumping the gun there…).
When you ask Nets’ fans about the proposed Carmelo trade you are going to get one of two answers. Either they are going to say “Carmelo is a superstar, get the deal done!” or “That’s way too much for Carmelo.” I fall square in the middle. I personally can see why the Nets would do the deal, but I can also understand that they don’t want to do the deal. There are a few questions in my mind when thinking about the deal that makes it hard for me to figure out a clear opinion on it.
Is Carmelo A Superstar?
You ask some people, and they are going to say yes. They look at his scoring percentage and his fantastic moves on the offensive end and give him that superstar status. Others are going to say Carmelo isn’t a superstar. They say that Carmelo is far from efficient on the offensive end (ESPN-Insider only), he shoots too much, he doesn’t play defense, and he isn’t always motivated.
In my opinion, Carmelo is a very good player, but not a superstar. Offensively, Carmelo is a fantastic player. Some of the moves he makes at his size are incredible, plus he is very good in the post (in my opinion best non C/PF post up player in the league. But you have look at his efficiency. Carmelo isn’t even close to being efficient on the offensive end, as it takes him a lot of shots to get him his points.
Could Carmelo’s inefficiency be due to the style of play in Denver? Maybe. A lot of people in support of the Carmelo deal point to the fact that Carmelo would be playing with Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, and Terrence Williams. Can we honestly say that those three are better than Nene, Chauncey Billups, and J.R. Smith (who is basically Terrence Williams and Anthony Morrow mixed with a whole lot of crazy juice)? I don’t think so. I also don’t think that sending Carmelo to New Jersey would change him offensively.
Will Derrick Favors Develop?
This is probably the second most important question to ask. If you think that Favors is going to develop into a superstar, you don’t do the deal. If you think he is going to be an average player, you include him, no questions asked. While New Jersey has been impressed with him and his development so far, it is hard to say what role he is going to have in the league. This isn’t a knock on Derrick Favors or anything like that, but it is really hard to project how athleticism translates in the NBA. Favors can turn into a Kevin Garnett, but there are also guys like Sean Williams who have shown great athleticism, but never made it in the league.
The final thing that we need to look at is the Nets’ cap space. Rod Thorn did a great job turning the contracts of Richard Jefferson, Vince Carter, and Devin Harris into a lot of picks, young assets (with small salaries), and cap space. By signing Carmelo to a big extension (the only way the Nets do a deal is if they can get Carmelo to extend with them) you are basically eating all of that cap space up. That hurts, but the question I ask is why are we saving all this cap space anyway? To sign a superstar piece like Carmelo. Granted if you sign him in free agency, you don’t have to trade talent and picks, but it almost seems like a moot point to argue that Carmelo is going to eat up all the Nets’ cap space, because they were creating this space to sign a guy like him.
Right now, I am leaning towards not wanting to see the Nets trade for Carmelo. My biggest worry is that Favors is going to turn into a superstar for years to come and that would really come back to haunt the Nets. In addition, I don’t know how the relationship between Carmelo and Avery Johnson will work. Yes, Avery could hold Carmelo responsible and he will finally buy in on the defensive end. What if that doesn’t happen? We immediately create dysfunction between the team’s biggest start and the new head coach that is supposed to turn everything around. I have seen enough player-coaches disputes after last season, I can do without it this year. That being said, if the deal gets done later today or sometime soon, I am not going to throw a fit. So yeah, I am basically still sitting on the fence here.