Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Cowbell Tolls for Thee: ARCO Arena, Kings’ Days grow Numbered

From clanging cowbells to cricket chirps

We have seen it all before, Emperor Stern lures an unsuspecting city into his clutches with promises of support and security only to betray them and everything they love. That is the way of the Dark Side. We reported in August about the Pacers’ sticky situation and now it looks as though another team has fallen prey to the commissioner and his bag of tricks. It seems that in today’s NBA the only parity that the league champions it that of the arenas and not the teams themselves. After all, the money is made in the arena and the team is just the attraction. Where there is money is where the greatest interest lies.

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that Kings and ARCO Arena are in trouble. David Stern, himself, promised that he would be at the forefront of brokering an arrangement to help the Kings find the funding for a new arena. That brings us to today, four years later, where the league and the commissioner have essentially washed their hands of the entire situation because they are not happy with the decisions of certain parties involved in the proposal. It cannot be that the league would ever jump ship so suddenly, when they do not get their way, on one of its franchises, right? (See: Seattle Supersonics)

The plan that the league had backed would have moved the California State Fair to the location of ARCO Arena from its present location at Cal Expo. Then Cal Expo would have been sold to help leverage the costs of the State Fair at Arco and the building of a new arena in the downtown Sacramento area near their rail yards. However, the Cal Expo board found that the existing Arco Arena site and the surrounding area would not be large enough to suit the needs of the State Fair. This is where the impasse occurred. From there, however, the proposed plan for the State Fair on the Arco grounds morphed into the idea of an all year entertainment venue. Anyone who lives in a city that hosts a state fair should be familiar with this concept as it is thrown around at least once a year. This proposal, too, was rejected by the Cal Expo board on the grounds that it was too speculative.

Sacramento’s mayor, former NBA All Star and point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, Kevin Johnson, stepped into the fray to try and convince the NBA to continue to support any attempt in the city to build a new arena for the Kings. Johnson called Stern to discuss matters only to discover that the emperor…err, commissioner was “not enthused” about Cal Expo’s decision. Obviously, Stern does not like to be rebuffed especially by the tax payers who choose whether to attend NBA games or not. Despite all this, Stern told Johnson that the NBA “loves [Sacramento’s] market.” A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.

What about making improvements to ARCO Arena? Surely, that would fix the perceived problem that the league has created. (See: KeyArena, Seattle Supersonics) “Refurbishing the current ARCO Arena is not an option,” Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations Matina Kolokotronis wrote. “We need a new facility that can compete within the NBA. Our facility is one of the oldest in the league. We will continue to look at alternative arena solutions in Sacramento.” This has an all too familiar ring to it.

What about Joe and Gavin Maloof, the billionaire owners of the Kings? Certainly the two of them can help foot the bill for a new arena for the Kings. Why would they though? Yes, it is their team but the idea of any owner anteing up the money to help build a building for their team to play in is not a common one. Jerry Jones covered the cost overruns of the new Cowboys Stadium himself, but this is quite a rare thing for an owner to do. The Kings probably will not get their own “Death Star” with the Maloof’s fronting much of the bill. No, the bill is the burden of the taxpayers and if they will not pay then the Kings likely will not play in Sacramento for much longer. Most of the Maloof’s business interests lie in Las Vegas where they own and operate the Palms hotel and casino. It has been well publicized that Las Vegas is in the market to acquire an NBA franchise and it appears that the Maloof’s have one handy. Chris Milam, CEO of International Development Management LLC, the group who looks to bring a team to Las Vegas, has said that they have “an NBA team under contract” to move to the city. Could this team be the Kings? IDM LLC is actively trying to work out a funding deal that would build the Silver State Arena on the Las Vegas Strip. A glitzy new arena in Las Vegas would surely suit the Kings better than aging ARCO, which opened in 1988.

Stern won't shed a tear if the Kings depart Sacramento

For now, though, the NBA wants nothing to do with Sacramento and its plans for an arena. “The NBA has ceased its activities on the Sacramento arena front,” league representative John Moag said in an e-mail to The Sacramento Bee. “However, we will continue to monitor and respond to the activities and options of others that might reasonably ensure the competitiveness and viability of the Kings’ franchise.” The league will pay attention to the Kings like a lion does to a straggling gazelle. They are simply waiting to pounce. It is not right that the burden of a city having a sports franchise be completely levied on the taxpayers. However, as unfortunate as it is, that is the way it goes. Taxpayers have the right to vote down any proposal before them. Yet what they strike down may be part of the essence of their city. Stern knows this. It is his Force choke (that mind choke thing that Darth Vader does). If the city cannot find a way to resolve their arena issues then the Kings will be relocated plain and simple. Do not think for one second that Stern will lose sleep over it either. (See: Seattle Supersonics) October 26, 2010 has been set as the date which the City Council of Sacramento will decide whether they want to move forward with any of the proposed arena plans. All Sacramento can do until then is wait.

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Bynum’s knee puts the Lakers in need

What's new?

You might as well cover your ears every time news of Andrew Bynum rolls around.  NBA fans should get used to hearing about the ailing knees of the 23-year-old with what seems to be a 30-year-old body.

Bynum made an appearance at the Lakers’ media day wearing the new, lighter uniform but it will be the last time LA fans see him sporting the look for another two months.  Only a day after revealing that the young center would miss the first few games, head coach Phil Jackson broke some more bad news when he announced that Bynum would be out until the end of November.

Drafted tenth overall by the Lakers in the 2005, I doubt they had planned for Bynum to only play in a total of 274 games in his five years in the league.  He was limited to 35 games in the 2007-08 season after partially dislocating his knee.  He only played 50 games in 2008-09 due to a torn ligament in his right knee.

Now, he is being told not to put any serious weight on the knee and is being forced to workout on a stationary bicycle, upper-body weights and light walking.  His injury record is just building and building as he has only played one complete season in his entire career (2006-07).

Last season, Bynum started and played in 65 games and his stats rose significantly.  His minutes per game rose as well to over 30 and the Lakers won the finals.  However, after looking closely, the big man was inconsistent in the playoffs as LA matched up against faster opponents in Oklahoma City and Phoenix.  When the team faced the slower, more methodical Celtics in the Finals, he contributed even less.

It’s a story of an overhyped center that has never really paid off at all for LA.  He is a prime example of why the league no longer drafts players out of high school alongside Sebastian Telfair and Shaun Livingston.  He joins the ranks of high-drafted centers that just fell short with such company as Greg Oden.  It has not been pretty at all.

The Lakers gambled when they drafted him and it really looks like they came up snake eyes.  There is an obvious lack of depth at the five in LA as the team is looking to start 37-year-old Theo Ratliff.  Drew Naymick will be the backup for the defending champions.

We have seem them fight hard before without Bynum by utilizing Pau Gasol as a defender in the lane but his abilities  there are lacking.  The Lakers do have good defenders in Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and Matt Barnes but they will not be able to defend the league’s bigger players.

It could actually turn out to be a big deal for the Lakers as they start the season off against some good frontcourts.  Sacramento has DeMarcus Cousins, Portland has Marcus Camby, Milwaukee has Andrew Bogut, Indiana has Danny Granger and Chicago has Joakim Noah.   Lamar Odom, Artest and Bryant will have their hands full and these teams will prove challenging to a team so shallow with its big guys.

In addition, just because he is set to come back at the end of November does not mean that he will be fully healthy or that he will not re-injure his knee.  He is a fragile player and Jackson has to know it too.  The franchise needs to reexamine having Bynum on the team if it wants to take itself seriously against some big names in the East and compete for another title.

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NBA Media Day and More ‘Melo, More Problems

Nugget for now

Ah, yes, media day across the NBA is upon us once again. The hardwood is polished, player edition sneaker boxes line the locker room, our Twitter feed is chalk full of goodies, Ira Winderman is as giddy as a schoolboy despite the fact that Brian Windhorst will cover the Miami Heat for ESPN, and the smell of freshly cut grass and hot dogs wafts through the air. Wait, scratch that last part. After a long and tumultuous summer, all 30 teams are fully assembled yet again as they prepare for their first practices which begin Tuesday. New faces are introduced to the media as well as the new numbers and jerseys that the players will don this year. The new adidas jerseys seem to carry a promise similar to that of PF Flyers. Yes, all is right with the league, faces are smiling, players are sounding allegiance to their teams, and every team garners some hope for the coming season. Well, not exactly. The Timberwolves have all but ruled out a championship run. Other teams are likely to follow suit in due time.

Since the two man staff here at the beef is not yet of the press ilk that are invited to events such as media day we will do our best to keep you informed of all the happening around the league. Here is what is transpiring across the NBA on the first day of the new season. Let the games…err, practices begin.

As of today the most pressing issue that has faced the league is where Carmelo Anthony will end up. Today, he reported to the Nuggets media day, spoke to the press, and will attend practices tomorrow. So much for the nonsensical rumor that he might not show up to camp. Who would honestly believe that anyway? The only possible scenario that would involve him not appearing at camp with the Nuggets would have been if he had been traded. They still pay him after all. The least he can do is show up. Anthony’s entire stance during the “Melo Drama,” as it is being universally called now, has been one of silence. He even went so far as to say that he never publically requested a trade. Adding further that, “I’m leaving my options open.” Really, ‘Melo? You are leaving your options open? Who could have guessed?

Anthony is likely leaving his options open because of the faltering four team deal that would end up sending him to New Jersey. Why is deal faltering? Anthony does not want to be sent to a Nets squad that will be forced to give up former All Star point guard Devin Harris, who is not too thrilled about his role as trade bait of late, to the Charlotte Bobcats which would leave the reigns of the offense in the hands of Jordan Farmar. If you ever watched Farmar quarterback in Los Angeles you too would have second thoughts about this arrangement. Naturally, Chris Paul entered the conversation because of his insistence that the New Orleans Hornets trade him after he ‘witnessed’ the scorched earth tactics of some of his fellow Beijingers. Yet, Paul could not be acquired by the Nets either later this season or in 2012 due to the teams issues with cap room if they did trade for Anthony and have him sign an extension with them.

Further complicating the proposed deal is the statement that the Utah Jazz made today concerning their role in the trade. In the original package, the Jazz were to send Andrei Kirilenko to the Nuggets. Now they are saying that they have no intention of moving the Russian box score stuffer. This is the second time a team has had misgivings about this deal. Charlotte did not want to move D.J. Augustin. Despite that, however, the deal appeared to be moving forward, albeit at the speed of molasses. As the four way trade began to catch snags other teams stepped up with offers of their own.

The Philadelphia 76ers were said to have been using the likes of Andre Iguodala to lure Denver into a trade for Antony. Then, the Golden State Warriors hoped into the fray with a half-hearted offer including Stephen Curry. Hell, even the Minnesota Timberwolves got involved. Everyone wants a piece of Carmelo Anthony. It was joked that any Minnesota deal for Anthony would require a point guard to be sent to the Timberwolves. Each of these potential deals was quickly shot down be one of the sides involved. Now that media day has drawn to an end, however, and Anthony has still not been traded, the goal of the Nuggets is to get him thinking about remaining in Denver. They might not get him to sign the extension they offered him but they could convince him to stick around a bit longer. At least that is their end goal even though it may appear futile at this point.

Hey now, you're an (potential) All Star

Jazz fans can rest easier tonight knowing that the team does not plan on moving Kirilenko and that Kyrylo Fesenko did not turn up in Houston for media day. Fesenko, after a long holdout, decided to resign with Utah. When asked why he did not take the Rockets’ offer he simply said that he did not want to move. The Jazz now have two viable options at center, the other being Francisco Elson, while Mehmet Okur is out. At present there is no set time table for Okur’s return. Even better news for the jazz is that Deron Williams has his eyes set on making new teammate, Al Jefferson, an All Star this year. That should not be that hard given Jefferson’s skill sets but his health will always be the one thing holding him back.

Unlike Fesenko, Erick Dampier still has yet to find a team to call home. However, the list he made is down to four potential suitors but only one will receive a rose from Dampier. Those teams are the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trailblazers, and the Toronto Raptors. If Dampier hopes to attend the playoffs this year in uniform rather than in the stands, he really has just three choices.

Another player who has been involved in the trade buzz over the summer is Rudy Fernandez. For quite some time it was rumored that the Chicago Bulls had interest in the Blazers’ spark off the bench. Well, that was then and this is now. Today, Fernandez tweeted (yes, we use Twitter as a valid source of information) that he “prefers the European style” and “I don’t feel good in NBA.” Wow, talk about a buzz kill. No one will touch him with a 10 pole now let alone want to trade for him. Can anyone explain why these Spaniards dislike the NBA so much? Pau and Marc Gasol seem to like it just fine. What is it about Spain? Is it their three hour lunches followed by a siesta every day? Is it the Iberian weather? Is the work ethic in the NBA too much for them? Seriously, throw us a bone. We have no clue what their deal is.

At least one European expressed his interest to remain in the NBA today and with the same team nonetheless. Tony Parker, after having been connected to joining Amar’e Stoudemire in New York to play for the Knicks at the start of the summer, reaffirmed his commitment to the San Antonio Spurs. “I hope Spurs fans know I want to stay here … I’m going to take Manu’s example from last year,” Parker said. The only example that we can think of that Manu Ginobili has ever set is flopping 101. Essentially, Parker will continue to end up on the floor 87 percent of the time he drives the lane for the Spurs for years to come.

Gilbert Arenas is back. Gone are the days of treating the locker room like it was the OK Corral. This is a new Agent Zero. Wait, he changed his number. He now wears the number nine. So what are the fans and media supposed to call him now? That is presently up for debate on Twitter with some of the better ones being “Cloud 9,” “The Ninth Wonder,” and “District 9.” Seeing as how he plays for the team located in the District of Columbia, “District 9” seems to be the most apropos. Hopefully that one will stick.

“I’ve gotten better.” Those simple three words are how Kevin Durant described his game today. He still does not think that he is on the same level of LeBron James, however. Durant is a modest player. Obviously, Durant is not on the same level as James. No, he surpassed that level this summer. He surpassed him in Turkey, he surpassed him in scoring last year, and he will surpass him in MVP votes this year. It is a good thing that Durant has such a good head on his shoulders. It would be a shame if he became “one of them” and did it all for the celebrity of it.

Curry should lay off the curry while he recovers from his latest injury

In some lighter news, Eddy Curry, the much maligned and hamburger loving center for the Knicks, injured his hamstring to day during running drills in which he was lapped several times. Mike D’Antoni must have been running them hard today. It must be noted that he was lapped before he pulled his hamstring. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. Curry, looked to be the third string center going into this season despite being paid around $11 million. The Knicks are going play some of their preseason games in Europe but Curry will not travel with the team because of his injury. The whole of Knicks fandom should jointly look up to the sky, shake their fists and yell, “ISIAH!!!” Go ahead, do it. You will feel better.

The Sacramento Kings probably will not make any playoff ripples this season, but that is not stopping one of their players from wanting to make as big an impact as he can. DeMarcus Cosins wants to be the Rookie of the Year. “When I’m on the court, I’m trying to show you … especially the people that doubted my basketball skills,” Cousins said. “I want to be the Rookie of the Year. I didn’t get a chance to be the Player of the Year in college. I need my own individual award. I want mine.” That should keep the cowbells ringing at Arco. At least half of the staff at the Beef gives him a legitimate shot at taking the honor home with him this year.

Down the 101 in Los Angeles, new Clippers head coach, Vinny Del Negro, is already complaining that Baron Davis is fat. Guess he has been hiding a second chin under that beard for all these years. This story has dominated all Clippers coverage so far. Blake Griffin seems to be a complete after thought…just like the Clippers themselves. It really is too bad that Eric Gordon is relegated to play for that organization. He needs to demand a trade.

Four-tet

As people who follow the Dallas Mavericks have come to expect over recent years, the Mavs began their season touting their roster depth at media day. It is beginning to sound like a record skipping. (Do kids even know what records are anymore?) The Mavericks are easily one of the most consistently deep teams put together every year. This season, however, they have one glaring omission. There is not a traditional power forward to back up Dirk Nowitzki. Time at the backup four spot will likely be given to Shawn Marion but that makes for a small lineup. Playing the four is nothing new to Marion but a more serviceable big might be needed down the stretch. Depth at the guard will also be an issue with Rodrigue Beaubois being out with a foot injury to start the season. The Mavericks had hoped to start the young and explosive guard alongside Jason Kidd this season in an effort to ease him into a replacement role down the road. Those plans will have to be put on hold for the moment.

These are just some of the stories facing the teams as the season gets underway. Soon the squeak of rubber on wood floors will be heard in 30 different places as players either try to make the cut or work on finding their rhythm after a long summer. What media day brings everyone is a great sigh of relief. Now all the filler stories and rumors can stop being written and everyone can get back to the business of basketball. What the upcoming season may hold no one knows. What is certain after media day, however, is that everyone still hates the Miami Heat.

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Melo Drama

Time may be running out for a Carmelo Anthony trade

This summer’s free agency was so thunderous that it found its way to affect contracts set to end next July.  A key one being Carmelo Anthony’s deal with the Denver Nuggets.  Entering his eighth season in the league, the three-time All-Star has opted to take his talents elsewhere by not agreeing to an extension with the Denver.  After what we have seen so far this summer, is anyone really surprised?

The Nuggets are another team that has built a team around a 2003 rookie and done nothing but fallen short.  Anthony only took the team past the first round once but was eliminated in the conference finals by the LA Lakers on his birthday.  Tough luck.

Now, it looks as though a four-team deal is brewing with the Nets set to acquire Anthony.  However, it has become apparent that he is not looking to go alone.  He is no idiot and knows that it is going to take a little more than just his talent to turn around a team that flirted with having the worst record in NBA history last season.  In addition, we have seen Avery Johnson take a team to the finals but that Mavericks team was already built.  We have never seen the young coach build a squad from the ground up which is essentially what he is being faced with in New Jersey.  Chris Paul has even entered the conversation but when they moved Darren Collison to Indiana, it became fairly obvious whom the Hornets want as their point guard.  He isn’t going anywhere.

Rumors have spread that he may be heading to Charlotte instead.  The talent level is a little higher for the young Bobcats but they too are not without flaws.  The point guard situation there is flaky.  Sharon Collins and D.J. Augustin are very young and the team has yet to even win a playoff game.

Denver has even been talking to other teams including Cleveland and Indiana about a potential trade.  The delay is just further frustrating the Nets’ general manager Billy King who wants to finish the deal by Monday.  The delay also puts the other two teams in the trade, Utah and Charlotte, in a bind that may force them to pull out of the deal.  A looming deal could affect the training camps of all four teams as players on the block try and figure out where they will be playing next season.

It’s the nature of the business though and Denver has a lot to weigh out.  The deal would send them rookie Derrick Favors, Andrei Kirilenko and two first-round draft picks.  It would essentially send the Nuggets into a rebuilding phase that would set them back years.  The careers of J.R. Smith, Chauncey Billups, Kenyon Martin and Al Harrington wont last forever.

However, Denver does have a bit to build with.  Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson are good building blocks that will be better when those draft picks are made in 2011 and 2012.  It’s a hard decision to make and the Nuggets don’t have much time.

Running an NBA team is like running a business.  The right decisions will bring about the best results and Denver really has to weight out their options.  It’s a matter of time before a deal is made but the Nuggets and Carmelo need to make sure it’s one that will benefit them both the best.

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Don Nelson Resigns as Warriors’ Head Coach

All good/bad/controversial/unorthodox things must come to an end

Turn out the lights, Nellie’s party is over. Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber, the new owners of the Warriors have had their wishes come true. The NBA’s all time winningest coach, Don Nelson, has resigned as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, a position he has held since 2006. Both Lacob and Gruber have wanted to oust Nelson since acquiring the franchise in mid July despite the fact that the sale of the team to the both of them by Chris Cohan has not been ratified by the league as of yet. Nelson will be replaced by assistant coach, Keith Smart.

The move is not expected to be finalized until later this week, but Nelson is definitely on the way out even though he has one year left on his contract worth approximately $6 million dollars. Nelson will receive the money he is entitled to under his current contract. Smart is expected to be announced as the Warriors new head coach in time for the team’s media day which takes place on Monday, just before the start of training camp which begins Tuesday. Nelson was actually a proponent of the new ownership hiring Smart as the new head coach. Smart is expected to sign a multiyear contract.

With Nelson’s resignation, one can only hope that there could be the off occasion of a wild small ball lineup in Golden State next season. Newly acquired players such as David Lee will never find themselves a part of the mad genius schemes that Nelson was apt at cooking up. For some this will be a blessing. Actually, many will cheer this change after the Warriors dismal previous two seasons. Yet, it leaves us to wonder how he might have schemed with Golden State’s present roster. Who would not want to see on the floor concurrently the likes of Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Jeremy Lin, Ekpe Udoh, and Lee? Well, Golden State fans for one. As for the rest of us, we will have to take such a lineup to the court on either NBA Elite or 2K11.

Nelson’s style of coaching has been much maligned wherever he has been a head coach. The lineups he employed were frequently unorthodox by NBA standards but have helped to shape the present state of the game. His small ball approach to the sport has now become prevalent across the league as many teams are discarding the traditional center in place of a more mobile big man with the ability to both run the floor and knock down a perimeter shot. This year’s incarnation of Team USA, which won gold at the FIBA World Championships, can give a lot of credit to Nelson’s style of offense as they were truly undersized with Lamar Odom as their starting center. If that is not derived from Nellie’s style of ball then what is?

Yet, his style also burned bridges. In both Golden State, the first time around, and Dallas, his stints as coach and subsequent departure from those organizations left a bad taste in the mouth of ownership and resulted in law suits over money that Nelson claimed that he was still owed by the teams. Certainly, not the best parting gifts. For Dallas, his departure was even bitterer as he led his eight seed Warriors past the one seed Mavericks, the season following his release as head coach, in the first round of the playoffs.

After recently returning from vacation in Hawaii, Nelson had remained optimistic about coming back for the 2010-11 season but knew the writing was on the wall and chose to resign rather than be let go. It has become widely believed that Nelson was given the option to save face and retire as the team was going to fire him in favor of hiring Smart no matter what. Last season, Nelson surpassed Lenny Wilkens for the most wins by a coach in NBA history on April 7, 2010. His accumulated wins total stands at 1,335 to go along with 1,063 losses in 31 seasons as a head coach in the league. He coached the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, and Warriors twice during those 31 years.

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Sources: Scalabrine signs with Bulls!!!

Teammates?

For months we have waited to hear the news.  Well, the wait is over and we now know where Brian Scalabrine will be playing next season.

Yahoo Sports has reported that the big man has agreed to a non-guaranteed contract with the Chicago Bulls.  Scalabrine, who spent his last five seasons with the Celtics, averaged 1.5 points and .9 rebounds a game in Boston last season.

For some strange reason, head coach Tom Thibodeau made a strong case for bringing in the center-forward.  Thibodeau was  part of the coaching staff under Doc Rivers that both won and lost titles against the LA Lakers in the last few years.  Obviously general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson agreed with bringing in the Red-Headed Menace, sources said.

Scalabrine isn’t being brought in for his play but rather his presence.  The veteran will provide leadership to a relatively young team.  Otherwise, he is a terrible basketball player.  He joins Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson in what has proven to be a very busy summer for Chicago.

It’s a simple move to provide a recognizable face on the bench for a new coach.  Thibodeau is being thrown into the gauntlet with a team that is vying for power in an increasingly talented Eastern Conference.  No, Scalabrine will not win them games on the court but rather ease the mind of a coach with a big task ahead.

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‘Melo on the Move?

Looking elsewhere

Here at the Beef, we have tried to avoid all the rumors and speculation that have surrounded Carmelo Anthony this off season. We treated it as mere gossip used to fill the sports pages and blogs in what was a news-starved latter part of the summer for the NBA. However, it looks as though we can no longer ignore this story. According to FanHouse, a front-office source has said that the Denver Nuggets are finally looking into moving their All Star small forward.

It seems the Nuggets are approaching the idea of parting with Anthony in a manner that would benefit them the most rather than being forced into a corner by another team and Anthony’s people. They are accepting all proposals for him but are not explicitly shopping Anthony and will only consider those which will be beneficial to the future of the organization. What they are looking for, in return for trading their star, are younger, talented players with a large degree of upside and relatively manageable contracts. Manageable contracts would help to alleviate Denver’s salary cap and luxury tax issues. Their roster expenditures for the coming season are estimated at $83 million which is well beyond the NBA’s salary cap of $58,044,000 million. Any deal would likely include first round draft picks as well.

Simply trading Anthony is not as cut and dry as it may seem on the surface. Anthony becomes a free agent next July. Any team that makes a move to acquire him would likely seek a guarantee that he would sign an extension with them before they pulled the trigger on any deal. As of now, not one particular team has emerged as the front-runner for Anthony but rumors have arisen that the New Jersey Nets have been making a hard push for him. The Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers have also been lumped into the fray for good measure. However, it is widely assumed that Anthony’s desired destination is New York. The Baltimore native would then be closer to his alma mater, Syracuse.

Despite being the subject of the most intense trade rumor speculation since Chris Paul demanded a trade earlier this summer, Anthony has remained mum on the subject. Everyone else has done the talking for him from his agent, to his ‘people,’ various league sources and his wife, Lala. Anthony sure knows how to say a lot without saying anything at all. However, on an recent appearance on the George Lopez Show, Anthony said that he is a Nugget. Mixed signals?

For the Nuggets, they know that Anthony is speaking volumes without even opening his mouth. They certainly do not want to become the newest victim of the scorched earth policy that dominated the way star players left their former teams this summer. Who can blame them? The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors are shells of their former selves that really burnt bridges when their respective stars left.

Whether or not the rumors that have swirled around Anthony this summer have any weight to them is of little consequence. The Nuggets seem to have accepted their fate and are dealing with it in turn. They understand that they must begin preparing for a post Anthony future. As it is currently made up, the Nuggets are not built to be contenders for several years to come with aging talent and an often injured frontcourt. Moving Anthony would be the first step in the direction towards rebuilding. Chauncey Billups would be the next likeliest candidate to go as he is 34 years old and has a partially guaranteed contract for the 2011-12 season.

It is only a matter of time before Anthony joins the fashionable trend of the 2003 draft class and finds new lodging. The Nuggets know this. A deal looks to be somewhere on the horizon and all anyone has to do is ask themselves “when” rather than “if” Carmelo Anthony will be traded. The NBA trade deadline is in February but it is likely that he will be moved before then. Where he will go remains the question.

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