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Around the NBA: Carmelo to New Jersey?


The “Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey” trade talks have heated up to a point where by the time you read this Melo could already be on his way to the Eastern Conference.  Let’s say the purposed 3-team deal goes through.  This is what it could it look like with more players likely to be included to balance salaries.

New Jersey gets: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Richard Hamilton

Denver gets: Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, Anthony Morrow, and at least two 1st round picks

Detroit gets: Troy Murphy and Johan Petro

Who wins?  Well New Jersey is currently 10-27, so acquiring an All-Star and 2 former All-Stars for an overrated point guard, their undeveloped 1stround pick, a bench guard, and two unknowns looks like a good deal.  Any way for them to land Carmelo, and of course convince him to sign a contract extension, they have to do it, even if it means snagging the 2004 Pistons backcourt.

Despite having one of the league’s worst records, the Nets are just 5 games back of a playoff spot in the East.  Could a core of Billups, Hamilton, Carmelo, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez, Travis Outlaw, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic pass the likes of the Pistons, Raptors, Bobcats, Bucks, 76ers, and even Pacers?  In a word, sure.  I think this group would feast on the lower half of the Eastern Conference and make a serious run at the post season.

If they get there however, do the Nets have a chance against the Celtics, Heat, Magic, or Bulls?  In a word, nope.

But put yourself in the sad shoes of a Nets’ fan.  You have to do whatever it takes to get one of the best players in the NBA.  Billups is a free agent after this year (team option for $14 million next season) while Rip is on the books for $12.65 million thru 2012-13.  Not the worst price you have to pay to get Anthony, plus there is a chance he could recruit a few fellow stars in the next couple of years, Chris Paul anyone?

Where does this leave Denver?  Tough spot to be in, really two choices here, 1.) keep Carmelo, who has 1 foot out the door, and do all you can to hang on to the 6thseed in the West with no real chance of advancing in the post season or 2.) deal your star player/ face of the franchise for young talent and picks as to not see him leave for nothing, see James, LeBron, and Bosh, Chris.  If the Nuggets were more of a contender I’d say ride it out and see if you can somehow squeeze out a title, but since that’s not the case, get whatever you can for him, and that’s what it looks like they’re going to do.

Detroit, meanwhile, sneaks in and grabs Murphy, who they wanted, and shed Rip who has become a problem and a bad contract all in one.  Not bad.

Other winners in this deal are the teams that are 7-10 in the West as Denver is likely to see a bit of a decline.  I am interested to see what kind of run Favors will get with Nene, Sheldon Williams, Birdman, Kenyon Martin (when he returns), and even Al Harrington.

How about the star power in the East if Carmelo comes over?  Unreal, he would join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, Gilbert Arenas, Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joe Johnson, and Amare Stoudemire.  There’s a lot of future Hall of Famers on that list.

-Heat Check: Miami has won 21 of 22.  LeBron, Wade, and Bosh certainly look as though they have figured it out.  I fully expect the Heat, in part because of the injuries to the Celtics, to be the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and perhaps hold the best record in the NBA.  I thought Mike Miller would be a seamless addition to the rotation, but that’s proving to be more difficult.  I still believe their best crunch time lineup involves Miller.  He’ll need to stop the DNP-CD’s if I’m going to be right.

-Scoring with the best of them: Kobe Bryant is now up to 9thall-time on the NBA’s scoring list, just passing Oscar Robinson.  Shaquille O’Neal is 5th on the list and 1stamong active players.  Six other current players are in the Top 50 all-time.  Kevin Garnett (22nd), Dirk Nowitzki (25th), Ray Allen (27th), Tim Duncan (29th), Paul Pierce (34th), and Vince Carter (37th).

-Dunk Contest: No Nate Robinson, no problem.  I actually like the group selected (willing) to take part in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest.  We all know the years of Jordan vs. Wilkins are long gone, even Vince or Kobe.  But look at the guys this time around, Blake Griffin, Brandon Jennings, JaVale McGee, and Serge Ibaka.  I typically don’t enjoy the power forward or centers who throw it down, but the game dunks alone from Griffin and McGee have been outstanding.  Maybe they need guys trying to block their shots to be exciting, but I say give them a chance.

As for Jennings, he only has a couple of dunks this season, but he should be fun to watch.  Especially with a bunch of 6’10 contestants he’ll look even smaller and more impressive.  The Dunk Contest could be past its prime, but count me in this year.

Nate Robinson is already the only 3-time dunk champion, so he doesn’t have anything to prove this year.  Wilkins, Jordan, Harold Miner, and Jason Richardson all won twice.

If you are wondering who had a better career, Harold Miner or Gerald Green, well you have a debate on your hands.  Miner played in 200 games and averaged 9 points per game, while Green played in 181 games and put up 7.5 ppg.  Miner was out of the league at 24, Green done by 23… at least for now.

Rich Keefe is an anchor and fill-in host on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and frequent collaborator on the CelticsHub.com podcast.  He also writes for The Sports Brief. He writes his Around The NBA column every Monday for CelticsHub

  • LStrike

    The Miami Heat are very scary now, everybody understood that they were going to sort out their early season slump (but we all took the most out of it and made the most fun we could out of them while the opportunity lasted) and with the king-of-the-regular-season, I think there's minimal doubt that they're taking the Eastern Conference's 1st seed.

    Shaq has said that he doesn't want to retire from the NBA until he surpasses Wilt on that scoring list. The last time I checked, I think he has another 3,000 to go, so very unlikely that he'll get it, but if he does, I hope he does it in a Celtic uniform.

    • DRJ1

      Cs have been and are still injured, Heat have gotten a pass so far. That's the wild card, the unknown factor that's also unknowable. The Heat's win % would drop like a stone if they suffered the same level of injuries the Celtics have. Bottom line: we'll see

  • What More Can I Say?

    I disagree with you Rich!!! Miami will not be the number 1 seed in the East! Go C's!

  • JP-

    I heard a report that Billups would want a buyout from New Jersey, my question to that is why? That could potentially be a pretty good team with those 3 (Melo, Billups, Hamilton) as well as Brook Lopez, thats not bad at all for 4 out of 5 starters. They would be tough to guard for any team in the league with unique scorers like Melo and Billups, and it would relieve some of the pressure from being a number one scoring option off of Hamilton. If this trade goes down, Net make the playoffs, and battle New York for position as the 6-7th seed.

    • Batman

      He loves Denver
      He wants to retire a Nugget, and then go into the front office.

  • NHBluesMan

    i don't see the Nets getting that much better… Lopez is overrated from being on a horrible team (see his 1 rebound game against the Bucks WITHOUT Bogut starting).

    There only hope would be to convince Melo to resign and go after Chris Paul next year… i really hope that LBJ Bosh and Wade don't start a fad of top-heavy teams with talent that fill the rest with scrubs.

    On the Miami front, yes they're looking impressive, and a top seed is possible (if not probable) but they still have NOT beat the Celtics… in a fully healthy 7 game series i'd take the Celtics any day of the week. Bosh has a tendency to disappear in big games, and while LBJ and Wade seem to have it together at the moment, it will be interesting to see how they would respond to being down by 2 or 1 with only afew seconds left… who takes that last shot? They still need to define their roles.

    I remember when the Big 3 came together, during an interview they were asked 'in a Game 7 situation, down by 1, who gets the last shot?' without ANY hesitation, KG and Paul both answered 'Ray' and Ray answered 'the open man'. THAT is a team mentality, and with the talent that this Boston team has 1-15, the Heat can't match up

    • Batman

      While i agree with everything you said I have to disagree strongly about Lopez.
      Lopez is a terrific second option, and you can see how efficient he was during his first two years. It is only this year that he is failing as the first option, because he can't handle it.
      Also his rebounding: Yes he is no Kevin Love, but when you are on a team with Kris Humphries lying in the shadows snatching rebounds out of your hands, it is tough
      He should have 3 more rebounds than his average if it wasn't for Kris

  • http://twitter.com/BradChampagne @BradChampagne


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