For a good portion of the weekend, it appeared that Carmelo Anthony was going to become a member of the New Jersey Nets in a blockbuster four-team trade that would have also included Charlotte and Utah. With Denver fretting over the economics of the deal and New Jersey tired of the Nuggets dragging their feet, it appears that the four-team deal is not happening, although trades like this sometimes have a habit of reviving themselves after a cooling-off period.
Other teams that I have heard discussed as possible destinations for Carmelo (from reputable and not-as-reputable sources) include the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. That got me thinking: Which of these teams makes the best sense for Anthony? Does he really want to play for the Warriors? What about the Nets without Derrick Favors or Devin Harris?
6. Golden State Warriors
Even with a coaching change, the Warriors are still at least 2 or 3 years away from legitimately contending. They have a great core of players, led by guard Stephen Curry, but it seems likely that Curry (and possibly other players) would have to be part of a trade in order for Golden State to acquire Carmelo. There’s no chance Carmelo would want to play for the Warriors, especially if they had to give up their best player in order to acquire him.
5. New Jersey Nets
The Nets were awful last season. Almost historically awful. They’ll be better this year, but are they really close enough to competing that Carmelo would want to sign an extension to play in Jersey? Even with an impending move to Brooklyn, I don’t think the Nets would be a great fit for Carmelo. First off, they’d have to trade first round pick Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris. Second, moving to Brooklyn isn’t going to make the Nets a more appealing place to play than better teams like the Bulls or high profile teams like the Knicks.
4. New York Knicks
There’s almost no chance that the Knicks will be able to put together a package to acquire Carmelo, and Anthony should actually be glad about this. Sure, the Knicks are improved from last year and close to where he went to college (Syracuse), but until he sees that Donnie Walsh and the Knicks have fully recovered from the Isiah Thomas era, Carmelo shouldn’t commit to coming to New York.
3. Houston Rockets
I haven’t heard any real ideas of what the Nuggets would want from the Rockets to get Carmelo, although a deal would probably revolve around Kevin Martin. The Rockets suffered a setback last year playing without an injured Yao Ming. It would be interesting to see if Carmelo could fit in with the rest of the Houston players, and the Rockets would become an instant playoff contender adding his high powered offensive attack. Unfortunately, I don’t know if they could get out of the Western Conference during the playoffs without another big-time playmaker.
2. Denver Nuggets
One of the best options, unless a deal can be worked out with the Bulls, would be for Carmelo Anthony to stay with the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets made the Western Conference finals just two seasons ago, and although they took a step backwards as a team last year, they’re still a better team than the Rockets, Knicks, or Nets. Also, if Carmelo stays with the Nuggets and doesn’t sign a contract extension, he can choose to go to whatever team he chooses in the offseason and he doesn’t have to worry that the team gutted itself just to acquire him.
1. Chicago Bulls
Carmelo has expressed his interest in playing for the Bulls. The combination of Carlos Boozer, Derrick Rose, and Carmelo Anthony would be hard to stop, but after those the team would get a little iffy. Chicago would almost certainly have to trade Joakim Noah plus other players and/or draft picks to acquire Anthony. I’m not sure how good the Bulls would be replacing the defense-minded Noah with the all-offense-no-defense Carmelo, but it’s the ideal situation for Carmelo to compete against the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference dominance.
Nets Cool to Carmelo Trade
All stats and standings from espn.com