Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 10:30 am  |  17 responses

Nuggets Claim They ‘Got Killed’ in Carmelo Trade

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

All things considered, Denver and its young, inexperienced front-office did pretty well for themselves in the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York.

They got the Knicks to give up much more than it had initially wanted to, and didn’t lose their franchise player for nothing in free agency like other franchises did last summer.

When team president Josh Kroenke and GM Masai Ujiri met with the media to discuss the blockbuster trade, they sounded like a couple of wounded soldiers. To hear them tell it, ‘Melo and the Knicks are the real winners here.

From the Denver Post and FanHouse:

“We feel we got killed in the trade because we lost a couple of pretty good players,” Ujiri said. “Obviously, Carmelo Anthony. I feel sad for the city of Denver. I feel bad that this was done on my watch. To lose a guy like that. And also Chauncey (Billups). But I think we had to do it.”

“This was a process that was started by Carmelo; everything that we did just now was at his request,” said Kroenke, who hadn’t spoken on the record during the drawn-out trade process. “Our perceived desire to go young or cut salary (is unfair). The salary thing really hits hard with me because we’ve been in the luxury tax four of the last five seasons. We have a top-five payroll in the league this season. Our market doesn’t even come close to supporting that. The notion that this organization somehow is only concerned with cutting costs is absurd. We’ve explained that to Carmelo. This is all a result of his request to play in a different market.”

Denver is right, of course. Losing a superstar in the NBA, no matter what pieces you get in return, is a devastating blow to a franchise.

The Nuggets will remain competitive this season, and may even hang on and squeeze into the Playoffs. But they and everyone else knows there’s no replacing what ‘Melo represented.

After all, Kosta Koufos isn’t going to save the day.

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  • Nigel

    Why didn’t they take the Nets’ free then? Didn’t the say they liked it better anyway? I think it was the better option IMO.

  • FBenn

    tragic. but its a business.

  • MikeC.

    The only people who got even remotely screwed in this trade are Gallo and Billups. They didn’t want to leave their respective teams under any circumstances. Everyone else made out like a bandit.

  • http://gmail dirty frank

    Not impressed with this statement. Melo wanted to leave and let Denver know in advance so they could work on a deal. They got WAY more than I thought they would and WAY more than they would’ve if he’d just left as a free agent.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Meh, Denver actually did a great job IMO. I thought they were not going to get any deal done asking for so many pieces from other teams. I see it as the Knicks taking the bait. Watev, Denver got more than Cleveland and Toronto put together.

  • Fboy

    They did get killed. They should’ve traded Melo for the best big man in the league Erik Dampier. And they gave up a future all-star in Ronaldo Balkman.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    Being that they lost one of the superstars of the league I can see where they feel like they got the short end of the stick. But ask Cleveland, Phoenix or Toronto about getting killed and I’m sure they can explain exactly what its all about.

  • Fat Lever

    I thought the NJ deal was much better, at least from a rebuilding perspective. 4 1st rounders??? C’mon son!

  • Dave

    @Fat Lever/Nigel – NJ wouldn’t deal unless Melo committed to staying in Jersey after this season, and he wouldn’t, so they didn’t.

  • 1982

    Another organization playing victim…

  • glovechops

    look its simple… melo gave the nuggets a heads up, sat around and played his heart out for 50 sum odd games and waited patiently for something to happen. if the nuggets were looking to build… NJ’s offer with the first round picks would have been the best offer… but Melo wasnt going to sign an extension there is what it all boiled down to, because the NYK (reluctantly) were willing to give up guys on their roster that are essentially a dime a dozen. the nuggets got gallo, chandler, felton, mozgov (a 7’0 footer) draft picks and $3M cash… so the nuggets need to pull their tail out of their butts and work with what they got and how they’re going to move forward… the nuggets front office mistakes may lose them NENE in the off season though, Heat want him… Perk up Nuggets and learn how to accomodate a superstar next time ya get one…

  • EZ

    Dwill to NJ??? WHAT????

  • Riggs

    Give me a break denver, you were playing teams against each other for your own benefit and then say that you were the ones hurt at the end. I hope no other teams do business with their front office in the future (although i would love to see JR Smith in chicago)

  • jungwook lim

    denver management no good. knicks management stupid.

  • dsleepy

    @glovechops: i dont know if “played his heart out” is the right expression…he def. looked out of it some games, and his team mates were also complaining about him not playing smart to win games but just beef us his stats.


    Denver needs to make something happen and soon with Kenyon Martin expiring contract! I saw trade martin for al jeff. This helps Utah shed cap space and gives denver a starting five of ty, ray, jr, al and nene. Also they will have a bench of al harrington, wilson chandler, danilo, birdman and affalo. That is a playoff team with some flexible contracts. This will never happen because the nba is dumb

  • Lo

    Nuggets messed up bad by trading billups. He didn’t want to leave. I really am mad about this trade and I think alot of poeple will be disappointed if any other trades are made by some Denver loved players are made