Trader’s Market: Melo Pt. 2 – Southern Hospitality
Is Melo Jordan-bound or pulling a Houdini on us?
Dang. Well, so much for Miami Heat swingman LeBron James causing a stir that was relative to his own former team’s demise — he’s been responsible for not only Chris Paul’s vacillations about leaving the New Orleans Hornets, but his Three Musketeers move has now gotten Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony into the act and now, he’s sent word that he’s looking to go elsewhere (yeesh). With that out of the way, the Trader’s Market is going to see how Carmelo Anthony might best fit in with a number of teams that could make good trade partners with the Nuggets and maximize his own skills to win big.
I’ll be the ultimate GM here, with the help of ESPN’s Trade Machine.
(Part 1 can be found here.)
WHY IT WORKS
If the Orlando Magic were to acquire the likes of another star perimeter player to pair with Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis, it’s not impossible to believe that the Magic could go to the NBA Finals. Melo would be able to be such a distraction offensively that honest man-to-man defense by opposing teams might be the risk they would have to take to prevent a perimeter double-team from turning into a Dwight Howard dunk fest. Getting Arron Afflalo would make Orlando that much more competent on defense and on the ball offensively.
The brilliance in acquiring Vinsanity, for the Denver Nuggets, would be that the Nuggets would have no pressure to re-sign the man, considering he’s in his last years of superstar pay (and quasi-star play). He’d be a nice bridge to keep the team in playoff mode, but nothing special, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Getting Mickael Pietrus would be the real treat, as he’s in his prime and blossoming just as the Nuggets need a player to be able to play well as all the other players on the roster continue to age, get injured or wind up in some sort of trouble. Air France’s modest salary and good play make his acquisition a win for Denver in their losing Melo.
WHY IT WORKS
The Charlotte Bobcats would certifiably become players with Carmelo Anthony and coach Larry Brown together. Getting one of the NBA’s best teachers together with one of the most gifted players in the League, with a boss (Michael Jordan) who endorses said player would present a great threesome of competitive fire for the team. Also, Brown coaching a knucklehead like Smith would likely be just the thing to help him mature (and having the greatest player ever to play the game behind Smith might do the trick as well). Renaldo Balkman could bring Gerald Wallace-lite hustle and would make Charlotte a more well-blended team heading into the Playoffs.
Denver, on the other hand, would be able to still compete for leadership atop the Western Conference standings with a more mature, great-playing Stephen Jackson on the wing next to Chauncey Billups. Boris Diaw would almost have to get himself into great shape with the thinner air up in Colorado, so his contributions would almost certainly be passably good, while Gerald Wallace would give the Nuggets another All-Star forward, but one who would defend almost as well as Carmelo scores. Above all, JR Smith would be gone and no longer a distraction. The Playoffs would be likely, but nothing beyond the second round would be expected.
WHY IT WORKS
Melo, Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Already a team that has been looking up for the past five years, adding No. 15 to an already-loaded squad could just be enough to push the Atlanta Hawks into Finals contention (they’d be in line to do some things in the conference finals — I think; his arrival would certainly push the Hawks’ payroll into the cosmos in the future years, that’s for sure). Getting rid of a complaining Jamal Crawford and a somewhat (relatively) average Marvin Williams would be nothing in acquiring Mr. Anthony, but there’s only so much that the Hawks could realistically do with the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic already primed for future championship bouts.
Denver, on the other hand, would be able to get a very good shooter/scorer to pair with Billups in the Nuggets’ backcourt, and they’d likely do well sharing ball-handling duties, both being some form of the elusive combo guard archetype; re-signing Crawford would be great for continuity and continued elevated production from the shooting guard spot. The former Tar Heel Williams would be a steady presence on the wing and give some additional perimeter presence to a team that could more threats from mid-range and beyond the arc; Williams also is a competent scorer around the basket, and is just crafty enough to allow Denver center Nene to get a few good looks when the opposing defense looks to lock down slashers like the small forward. The Playoffs would be a near certainty.