Originally published October 1, 2010
For seven years now, Carmelo Anthony has been the face of the Denver Nuggets, a team that seemed to be on the cusp of greatness after its appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2009.
But in a season that started brimming with expectations, the Nuggets befell to tragedy in the form of George Karl’s cancer and overall ineptitude in the playoffs.
Right when they needed to make the moves, the Nuggets couldn’t bring it together, which is both a testament to Karl’s coaching abilities and the overall direction of the team.
Since Karl’s probably not going to be patrolling the sidelines for the Nuggets for much longer, for obvious reasons, Anthony would be smart to start looking elsewhere for his chance at NBA immortality.
In a world where stars gang up to beat up on teams like the Clippers and the Timberwolves, Anthony is going to be hung out to dry if he stays in Denver.
The Nuggets are in a similar boat. If this last offseason was any indicator, the Nuggets would be wise to get some compensation for their superstar’s expiring contract.
Everyone saw what LeBron did on television for all the world to see, and the Nuggets might end up in much more private, similar situation. Too many times, the sports world has seen a superstar decide that enough is enough and it’s time to move on.
Keep Carmelo Anthony? I know that sounds stupid after watching LeBron burn Cleveland to the ground like Mrs. O’Leary’s cow burned down Chicago, but there is method to my madness.
Most importantly, the Nuggets are immediate contenders for the Western Conference crown. When head coach George Karl returns from chemo treatments, they will be at full strength.
His absence ripped the soul out of the Nuggets last year who, behind the Lakers, were favored to win the West.
With the Lakers as the only team in the West clearly better than them, the Nuggets have a shot.
Chauncey Billups, J.R. Smith, Nene, Chris “The Birdman” Anderson and Ty Lawson are all great pieces that complement the scoring prowess of Carmelo.
If, by the end of the season, Carmelo flees to another team, they have $17 million to spend in free agency.
The Nuggets could spend that money on more traditional players such as future free agents Tayshaun Prince, Joakim Noah and David West.
You could never get equal value for Carmelo, so why lower your standards and accept some unknown rookie Derek Favors and AK-47 Andres Kirelenko? The Nuggets should set their sight on a championship.