I love when the NBA Draft comes because it typically means the league’s landscape is about to change. Players move like crazy in the days leading up to and following the draft, as teams reshuffle their rosters depending on the young talent they score. But rarely is there a big time blockbuster. We were lucky enough to see two last year, the Celtics snagged Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in separate summer time deals. But most offseason deals are of the salary shuffling variety or are meant to open up time for young, emerging talent.
Well, today there are reports that a huge deal of the “completely change two franchises” variety might be on the horizon.
The Record and ESPN are both reporting that multiple league sources have confirmed that the Nets and Nuggets are discussing a deal that would send Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby to New Jersey. The returning package would include Richard Jefferson, Marcus Williams, Keith Van Horn’s expiring contract (from the Jason Kidd-to-Dallas deal) and the Nets’ lottery pick. Those are the principle elements in the deal, though there are likely more pieces involved to make the salaries work. The deal could go down soon, but apparently Tuesday’s draft lottery is of the utmost importance to any potential move.
The Nets currently hold a 1.1 percent chance of landing the top pick in the draft and a 4 percent chance of jumping into the top three. As long as they don’t fall out of the 10th spot that they’re currently slotted at, the deal shouldn’t have any roadblocks other than the Nuggets getting cold feet.
According to the report, Nets team president Rod Thorn and general manager Kiki Vandeweghe have been gauging interest in Jefferson, Williams and their picks since their season ended last month.
If I were the Nets I’d be a little hesitant about doing this deal. If the Nuggets are willing to let Anthony go, it should tell them something. The guy was supposed to be the team’s franchise player for the next decade and they’re going to send him away? The Iverson-Anthony combo has obviously not worked out, but the fact that they’d choose to keep AI and send Melo is very telling. Anthony is supremely talented, and he’s coming off a year in which he averaged 25.7 ppg – 7.4 rpg -3.4 ast, numbers way above his career averages of 24.4 – 6.0 – 3.0. He also shot 49 percent from the field and 35 percent from three, well above his career marks of 46 percent and 29 percent. He appears to be improving his game, and at 23-year-old, should have his best years in front of him.
Obviously the Nuggets feel something is missing. The whispers around the league for years have questioned Anthony’s commitment to the game and his competitiveness. Does he have that singular drive to win that guys like LeBron, Kobe and Jordan have displayed? It hasn’t manifested itself as of yet. When you throw in his on and off court problems (stopped for having marijuana is his bag at Denver International Airport, the Stop Snitchin’ video, his 15-game suspension for the brawl with the Knicks and his recent DUI arrest) you have to think the Nuggest feel Melo may just not be worth the headache and the four-years and roughly $65 million left on his contract.
This deal would surely excite Nets fans, and if the long-term goal is to attempt to lure LeBron James to Brooklyn when the Nets move in 2011-2012, maybe bringing in his good buddy Melo is part of the plan. Jay-Z’s relationship with LeBron has certainly laid the groundwork, maybe this deal is step two.