Carmelo Anthony’s Trade Possibilities

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! News reported on Thursday (8/26) that Carmelo Anthony has requested a trade from the Denver Nuggets.

The team offered Anthony a $65 million extension on his current contract, which he can opt out of at the end of this season. Given what happened with LeBron in Cleveland, the Nuggets were determined not to let Anthony do the same to them, and walk away leaving them with nothing.

When Anthony still had not inked the new contract after several months, the Nuggets parted ways with the duo of general managers Rex Chapman and Mark Warkentien, and hired up-and-coming Masai Ujiri to replace them.

Fans and management alike thought his first true test would be convincing Anthony to stay with a team that has failed to make it to the NBA Finals; they advanced as far as the conference finals once in his seven year career and exited in the first round at every other opportunity.

Ujiri seems confident he can convince Anthony to stay. However, a meeting between Anthony and new team owner Josh Kroenke–a former Missouri Tiger basketball player—became heated and culminated with Anthony’s purported desire to depart.

Creative Arts Agencies, Anthony’s representatives, gave management a list of five teams for which the player would consent to a trade. He essentially gets to choose his location because whichever team gives up several young players and draft picks will want him under contract beyond this season.

So the Nuggets cannot trade him to, say, the Timberwolves for the slew of young talent on that perennial bottom feeder because Melo would simply do to the new team what he would do to Denver anyway—opt out of the final year of his contract and become LeBron 2.0.

The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Bobcats, Houston Rockets, and New Jersey Nets are the lucky five.

Possible trade scenarios:

1. Golden State Warriors:

The Warriors have arguably the most young talent to bargain with the Nuggets, and most would argue the teams only glaring weakness is at small forward, Anthony’s natural position. Contender? Check. With one of the NBA’s best 1-2 scoring guard duos in Monta Ellis and Steph Curry, his presence would make them an immediate threat.

Golden State would not have to sacrifice any of their core nucleus of players to make a deal work, either.  With a package of Reggie Williams–the first year surprise story who elevated himself from D leaguer to legitimate scoring threat with start-now capability– a draft pick with tremendous upside by the name of Ekpe Udoh, and rookie free agent Jeremy Lin, the Nuggets would have a host of good young players to include in the imminent rebuilding process.

The Warriors also have their own 2011 first round draft pick and two second round picks from New Jersey and Chicago. Incidentally they have the best new jerseys in the NBA

2. Los Angeles Clippers:

So we all know if Carmelo plays for LA, he will blow out his knee by the third game and his career will end. That’s just what happens in LA. Superstitions aside, though, Carmelo alongside ball-heavy scorers Baron Davis and Eric Gordon may cause a bit of a logjam, but most fantasy owners would take a lineup with Baron at point, Davis at the 2, Melo at 3, and Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman down low. Dominant, perhaps not, but intriguing never the less.

A package of Al-Farouq Aminu, who averaged 16 points and 11 boards at Wake Forrest and could conceivably start now, one-two guard combo Randy Foye, and perhaps even the young point guard Eric Bledsoe to develop behind Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson as he works through the maturity issues so many one-and-done players have in the NBA, might get a deal done. Throw in young center DeAndre Jordan for good measure and see what the unproven bunch can do.

The Clippers also have Minnesota’s 2011 first round draft pick with which to barter.

3. Charlotte Bobcats:

The boys from North Carolina certainly stand as the dark horse in these trade scenarios. Aside from a connection with team owner Michael Jordan and Carmelo’s Jordan shoe deal, definitely a stretch, it’s hard to picture a reason for this marriage to work.

The Bobcats have the least young, potential talent to offer the Nuggets of any of these teams.

The Nuggets really liked fourth year PF Tyrus Thomas and had some interest in acquiring him last year from the Bulls but could not get the deal done.  Perhaps Charlotte could offer a combination of Thomas, former Kansas guard Sherron Collins, and first year guard Gerald Henderson, who can get to the hole with a fair amount of success. Gerald Wallace, the nine year almost star would look great in baby blue, but management might consider him a bit too far along in his career at this point.

Charlotte has their own 2011 first and second round draft picks, and a 2012 first round draft pick.

4. Houston Rockets:

The Rockets, like the Clippers, play in the same conference as the Nuggets. Due perhaps in part to the fragility of Yao Ming, the Rockets have a deeper team than most people give them credit for and the trade possibilities with this near-powerhouse are almost endless. Here’s the package I would love to see.

With F Chase Budinger, a sharpshooter out of Arizona who finished his rookie year with 9 ppg, has tremendous upside and a lot of room to grow. If the Nuggets threw in Kenyon Martin, maybe, just maybe they could pry a combination of Budinger and Luis Scola. Maybe with the combustible scoring threat JR Smith in the mix, the Rockets could throw in promising F/C Jordan Hill and rookie forward Patrick Patterson out of Kentucky. That’s a lot of value for both sides, but the Nuggets would have a tough time getting this deal done because both Martin and Smith have contracts set to expire and all of those Rockets players are as close to can’t-miss, solid ballers  of any of the trade partners outlined before them.

The Rockets have a slew of draft picks: their own 2011 first rounder as well as New York’s 2011 and 2012 first round picks, and three 2011 second round picks.

5.  New Jersey Nets:

The Nets have my favorite young player in rookie Derek Favors, but the kid remains raw and unproven. Had the Nets drafted DeMarcus Cousins out of Kentucky, I would even go so far as to hope Denver and New Jersey traded those two for each other straight up. I truly believe Cousins will be a force to be reckoned with in this league immediately, and if Summer League proves anything (debatable) then many would agree–character issues notwithstanding.

Instead the front office drafted Favors with Cousins still on the board. New Jersey has very promising Guard/Forward Terrence Williams. He had mixed success playing the three in New Jersey and would be a more lethal matchup at SG, a spot already occupied in Denver by Aaron Afflalo. T-Will may have the talent to topple AA, but that would leave a glaring hole at the three. Enter Travis Outlaw. Unfortunately New Jersey overpaid significantly for the services of a streaky small forward, a contract the Nuggets may not be willing to shoulder after the K-Mart debacle. A package of Carmelo, JR Smith, and Kenyon Martin for defensive board machine and dangerous outside shooting PF Troy Murphy, Williams, Favors and Outlaw would work well for both teams, but the Nuggets would certainly be on the losing side.

New Jersey has their own first round draft pick for 2011 and traded away their second rounder to Golden State.

Regardless of which team scores ‘Melo, the Nuggets are not likely to receive equal value in return. It should be noted that the New York Knicks were Anthony’s privately professed team of choice, but they lack the pieces and the draft picks to even dream of a deal with the Nuggets. They are also a good two to three years away from title contention. Personally, I would love to see Carmelo in New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets threads.

I may have been a little ambitious with what the Nuggets could get in exchange for All-Star Carmelo Anthony given the diminishment of his trade value intrinsic to a request for a trade. When JR Smith and Kenyon Martin enter the mix, however, it provides a championship caliber combination for any of these teams.

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