With the news that the Nuggets’ latest meeting with Carmelo and his camp didn’t go that well, it’s time to start looking at Anthony’s short list of teams to see what they can offer in the way of trade.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets are looking for “young players and draft picks,” so we’ll keep that in mind as we discuss the various trade scenarios.
That Wojnarowski piece also listed five teams as potential landing spots for Anthony: New Jersey, L.A. (Clippers), Houston, Golden State and Charlotte (due to Anthony’s shoe deal with Brand Jordan). Let’s fire up the Trade Machine and go team-by-team to see what they can offer. Keep in mind that it’s virtually impossible to get equal value for a disgruntled star, so most of these trades are going to look better from the point of view of the team receiving Anthony. That’s just the way it is.
New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets
New Jersey has four young(ish) players that might appeal to the Nuggets: Brook Lopez, Derrick Favors, Terrence Williams and Devin Harris. I don’t see the Nuggets getting Lopez out of this deal, but one idea is a simple swap of Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors for Anthony, with one or two first round draft picks to sweeten the deal if necessary. This would leave the Nets very thin at power forward, but they’d get a Top 15 player to build around while retaining Harris, Williams and Lopez. The Nuggets would get a power forward with a ton of potential to form a nice one-two punch with their best young piece, Ty Lawson.
If the Nuggets aren’t sold on Lawson for some reason, they could ask for Harris, Williams and Kris Humphries (to even out the salaries). Harris, Favors and Humphries is another possibility. So is Harris, Favors and Williams, which looks like the best of the bunch. The Nuggets could hold onto Favors and Williams, and if they’re set with Lawson at point guard, move Harris in another trade.
Would the Nets give up Harris, Favors and Williams? They should. It’s not often that a player of Carmelo’s stature comes on the market while in his prime. Teams should do whatever they can to get him, and worry about fixing the roster later.
Los Angeles Clippers
Hmm. Maybe the Clips will get their star after all. If they do, they have Anthony’s wife, LaLa Vasquez, and her burgeoning ‘entertainment career’ to thank.
To make the numbers work, it appears that Chris Kaman would need to be involved in any trade for Anthony, unless the Nuggets were willing to take on Baron Davis (but he doesn’t exactly fit the ‘young player’ criteria). So how about Kaman, Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu? I’d be shocked if the Nuggets were able to wrest Blake Griffin away from the Clippers, so this may be the best they can do. L.A. could throw in a first round draft pick or two to get the Nuggets to bite. Denver could even throw in Chris Andersen if it wanted to dump more salary and give the Clips a center back in the deal.
The Rockets can offer a plethora of different proposals, and they are particularly attractive because they can include the Knicks’ first round draft picks over the next two seasons.
If Denver is in the market for a good young shooting guard, how about Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger (to clear out the logjam at small forward in Houston)? Throw in a first round pick or two and this is a pretty attractive offer. If the Nuggets prefer Patrick Patterson to Hill, he could be included along with Mike Harris to make a similar deal work. Before Nuggets fans scoff at this offer, it should be noted that Martin is just 27 and has scored 20+ points in each of the last four seasons.
Don’t want Martin? How about Budinger, Hill, Patterson, Jared Jeffries’ expiring deal and Aaron Brooks? There are four young players in that deal and the Rockets could add a draft pick or two to aid Denver in its rebuilding effort.
Golden State Warriors
I’m not sure what the Nuggets would want from the Warriors, but they’re not going to get Stephen Curry, so Denver fans should put that pipe dream to rest. Talent-wise, the best deal I can come up with is Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins for Anthony and Chris Andersen. Ellis and Biedrins each still have four years on their deals, but they are 25 and 24 respectively, so they fit the Nuggets’ criteria. Salary-wise, this isn’t going to help Denver’s cap situation at all.
Other than maybe Ekpe Udoh and Brandan Wright, the only other trade assets the Warriors have are the expiring contracts of Dan Gazuric and Vladimir Radmonovic. Either of these guys could be packaged with Ellis or Biedrins if the Nuggets wanted to go that route.
It’s strange to see Charlotte on this list, but apparently Carmelo’s shoe deal with Brand Jordan makes it possible. If I’m the Nuggets, I would require that Gerald Wallace be a part of any deal, so maybe an offer of Wallace, Gerald Henderson and D.J. Augustin might get it done. Again, a draft pick or two could be included.
Under this scenario, the Nuggets would get an All-Star (and a first team All-Defensive player) in return, though at 28, he might be a bit long in the tooth for Denver’s rebuilding project. Still, of all the trades described in this post, he is arguably the best player of the bunch.
Tyrus Thomas isn’t eligible to be traded until mid-December and it doesn’t look like the Nuggets are going to wait that long, so there isn’t much else on the Bobcats’ offer that would be of interest.
It’s not clear which of these deals are best for the Nuggets, as we’re not privy to their priorities. Is it important that they trade Carmelo out of the conference? When they say ‘young players’ are they referring to established up-and-comers (Aaron Brooks) or 19- or 20-year old draftees (Derrick Favors)? Are they sold on Lawson as their point guard of the future?
And what about the Knicks? I still think a trade that would send Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry’s expiring contract to Denver for Carmelo would be a pretty good deal for both sides.