Now that we all know where Carmelo Anthony will be playing, it’s time to thank a certain team that really helped this trade happen. However, it’s neither the Knicks nor the Nuggets.
Yes, thank the Cleveland Cavaliers for helping make this transaction happen even though they have absolutely nothing to benefit from Melo switching teams other than increasing how badly they will get beaten at MSG.
We all remember last summer and ‘The Decision’ that went down that landed LeBron James in Miami. Cleveland made no attempts to trade him and essentially let The King decide his own fate in free agency.
Instead, they saw what owner Dan Gilbert would later refer to as a LeBron who was ready to move on. They were knocked out of the second round of the playoffs in six games after losing the last three of the series to Boston.
The Cavs were the best teams in the East and went into last season’s All-Star Break with a 40-11 record. They are starting this year’s second half of the season 10-46, a complete 180˚.
Cleveland set the record for longest regular season losing streak with 26 earlier this month. They only lost 21 last year.
Cleveland got nothing out of LeBron leaving but a bruised ego. The Nuggets’ GM, Masai Ujiri, had to have seen that losing a superstar to free agency can leave quite a big crater.
Denver knew that Melo did not want to stick around playing at the Pepsi Center. They too could be accused of not surrounding him with championship-caliber talent. Al Harrington, Allen Iverson and even an aging Chauncey Billups weren’t going to bring a trophy to Colorado basketball especially with a star like Anthony who only made it past the first round of the playoffs once in his career in Denver.
New York is Melo’s home and he wanted to return. Even the Nets caught the hint after a while. He was born in Brooklyn and won the National Title at Syracuse. He wanted to play at the Basketball Mecca, Madison Square Garden.
It wasn’t a question of if but rather when. Denver knew this.
Now, the Nuggets are walking away with Wilson Chandler who will give them depth up front alongside Kenyon Martin and Danilo Gallinari, who they also acquired in the trade. Additionally, Raymond Felton is coming to town in the midst of a season that is qualifying him for most improved player. George Karl has stated that he wont be starting over Ty Lawson but we have already seen him employ a two-guard set with Billups that worked. The first round pick and two second round picks they are getting will help as well.
Again, the Cavs got nothing.
You can also see what emerged once LeBron left. Several players are seeing more minutes including J.J. Hickson who has gone from scoring eight points a game last season to just over 12 this year. We have yet to see who will step up in Denver but someone will have to.
As of now, the Nuggets have a 32-25 record and are seventh in the West. Utah is right behind them at 31-26 but have yet to win without Jerry Sloan. Memphis will be without their star player Rudy Gay for several more weeks and Phoenix just isn’t the same without Amar’e Stoudemire whom Carmelo will be scoring with in New York. They still have a chance to make the playoffs and shouldn’t be worried.
It’s obvious that Denver will miss Carmelo but thanks to the mistakes of Gilbert and the Cavs, they saw how not to lose a superstar.