Post Carmelo trade: The NBA needs competency, not parity


Carmelo Anthony is gone, as is yet another team that was supposed to have replaced the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference hierarchy some years back.

In the wake of the trade, I suppose the most obvious way to tie the headlines into something that relates to the Spurs is to note how the Western Conference is crumbling around them, setting up what would appear to be one more run to the NBA Finals.

But in truth, those Denver Nuggets were never going to pose a threat to the Spurs. For this season, the departure of Carmelo Anthony is completely irrelevant. But it could have impact going forward. Given limited resources, R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich have been able to keep a mid-sized market like San Antonio atop the league through good management. As Pop puts it, they were blessed with a franchise player and they simply haven’t screwed it up.

Carmelo Anthony is no Tim Duncan, but that’s not to say the Denver Nuggets haven’t screwed this up, royally. Bad contracts, trades, and drafts cost the Nuggets all flexibility, and eventually their star forward.

So where’s the impact? Something like this would never happen to the Spurs, and if the owners have their way, the Carmelo trade will be the last time something like this happens ever again. That’s not necessarily a good thing for markets like San Antonio.

After the summer of Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony successfully forcing his way to New York, there are two logical directions the NBA could go after the expiration of the current CBA.

Because in the wake of the latest trade, before the ink on a new Carmelo Anthony contract extension could even dry, attention already shifted to the next wave of superstars forcing their way to more appealing cities with their own super teams in mind.

Derron Williams. Chris Paul. Dwight Howard.

Each of these players has played for management that is mismanaging the prime of their careers, and each now see a way out. The NBA can either continue to operate in an environment in which players are calling all the shots, or more likely, they will overreact and create a business model in which teams are never put in this position in the first place.

A lot of the talk heading into this apparent lockout is the owners wanting to save themselves from themselves. Shorter contracts, harder salary caps, more flexibility in getting out of bad contracts. What they choose to ignore is that the current system allows for these things—they just require good management.

Many of the big name relocations over the past few years have been due to bad management. But is negating harmful decisions really in the league’s best interests?

Because for smaller markets that are competing, like San Antonio or Oklahoma City, the only real advantage they have in keeping or luring players has been Gregg Popovich and people who once worked for Gregg Popovich.

Remove the impact they have and the only appeal becomes city and market.

The Denver Nuggets, as an organization, should be held accountable for what happened with them and Carmelo Anthony. If they are victims, it is only victims of their own decision making. The only comfort they should find is in the fact that they were dealing with Isiah Thomas and not the New York Knicks actual general manager.

This trade is good for the NBA, and good for the San Antonio Spurs. A team that was supposed to have closed its window years ago is primed for another championship run in part because of the roster decisions they have made, and in part because they no longer have Amare Stoudemire, Brandon Roy, Jerry Sloan, and now Carmelo Anthony to contend with.

If the NBA wishes to take away anything from this trade, they need only look to the Spurs. It’s not parity that’s needed in the NBA, just competency.

  • Bryan

    Good point, Jesse. Watching this Carmelo Saga drag throughout the season since this summer has driven me crazy. He pretty much held the team hostage all year, which translates into a wasted year for the organization. Like you said in the article, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the owners push for means by which this never happens again.

    But, these teams really did it to themselves with poorly run organizations. So now it’s likely that there will be so many restrictions in place, there will be no benefit to a well-run organizations like our beloved Spurs. All other oranizations will effectively be bowling with the bumper rails up.

  • paul

    dead on analysis.

  • junierizzle

    TRUE. LeBron and now Melo have both said they just want to win. Melo would have stayed if he thought the Nuggets would win a championship. I still think think LeBron would have bolted even if he won one with Cleveland, because we all know that him and Dwade had that planned years ago.

    Bad management is the key. Cleveland made the moves to keep him but they weren’t the right ones. The Nuggets had a shot to win it all. They could have taken the Lakers out in route to their first championship but Geroge Karl decided to double Kobe all of a sudden and well…you know. Bad management.
    Now the Magic are trying to make moves by revamping their entire squad. But it’s basically the same team. They aren’t winning anything. And Howard is out of there. Bad management.

    The teams that are making good decisions are the ones winning. SPURS find TP and MANU and players like Speedy Claxton,Bruce Bowen, Stephen Jackson, had the foresight to sign Steve Kerr and then Michael Finely. And the list goes on.
    The Lakers “land” Gasol (but you had to make that trade right Jerry West?*wink*wink*)
    THe Celtics get Allen and KG.
    All this is good management.

    I agree that this takes the Nuggets out of the equation but not just for the SPURS. For the LAKERS as well. How much do you want to bet that somehow the LAKERS get the new look Nuggets in the first round? As bad as they are playing it is actually a blessing in disguise. Just like last season when The SPURS took out the Mavs, then The Suns took out the SPURS. LAKERS played OKC, a tough team but a young team. We all knew the inexperience would kill them. Then they had a 2nd round bye by playing the JAZZ, what a f*cking joke of a series. Then they played the SUNS who played like little girls for the first two games, then realized they could win, only to bust a George Karl and start doubling KOBE in game 6, leaving Artest wide open and went on to score over 20 points. Artest sucks!!! But he can win you one game if he gets hot.

    Easier for the SPURS and LAKERS.

  • junierizzle

    Another example of good management, THE LAKERS didn’t pull the trigger on MElo because they’ll just wait and get DHOWARD. Melo is good but he ain’t a dominant Big Man.

  • Kevin

    EXACTLY! I’ve been saying this for years. The NBA keeps finding new ways to limit GM’s stupidity but the guys in charge find new ways to screw up.
    And it’s funny that everyone forgets that Tony Parker was supposedly on his way to New York next season but he signed an extension to stay in lil’ ol’ San Antonio.
    The Boston Celtics weren’t a draw and KG turned down a deal to go there. But Ainge didn’t whine about it; he went out and got Ray Allen who helped convince KG to come to Beantown.
    The Nuggets, meanwhile, gave away draft picks, dumped Marcus Camby for nothing, and didn’t use K-Mart’s expiring deal to try to land someone to help ‘Melo thi offseason. Since Anthony’s been there, they made minor moves with the only major change was the musical chairs at PG from ‘Dre Miller to AI to Billups.
    Hire better GM’s (I’m looking at your NJ with Billy King running the show) and teams will find it isn’t quite as hard to hold onto their stars.

  • Tim

    I am not sure I completely agree. As with most situations, the Nuggets are def to blame for crappy contracts like KMart but then if Melo does not want to play team ball or defense there is nothing that the Nuggets can do. I personally believe that the current system puts too much control in the players hands. The classic counter example to your argument is Steve Nash… enough said.

  • idahospur

    At least Melo didn’t pull a Vince Carter and stop playing until he got his way. Proud of the Nets to make the Knicks fight for Melo.

    With the crumbling of the Jazz and Nuggets, could the Suns be the first round opponent for the Spurs?

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  • Brian

    Well said.

    Players don’t draft themselves and they don’t sign themselves to bad contracts. The system isn’t broken, idiots in the front offices are ruining the game.

    Perfect example: team gets a high lottery pick that can score tons of points and does nothing else.
    Team decides to make this player face of the franchise and uses next years lottery pick not on the best player available but for a guy that they believe can compliment the face.
    New lottery pick actually turns out to more complete player than face but doesn’t score as much.
    Team trades new pick hoping no one notices he was actually better than face.

  • Hobson13

    First of all, NY gave up way too many assets for a guy who was probably going to join them in the summer anyway. Secondly, I don’t think this player movement to Miami, NY, Boston, and LA is good for the league at all. Unlike the NFL (the most popular sport in the US) there is absolutely no parity in the NBA. No 8th seeded team (the Packers equilavent) could possibly win an NBA title.

    If you look at the NBA from top to bottom, you will see that it has 20-22 teams that have virtually NO chance of hoisting a trophy anytime in the next 5 years. Of the other 8-10 teams, only about 5 have an inside chance and if it weren’t for great management by the Spurs, Thunder, and maybe even the Magic, there would be even fewer teams in the “elite” category.

    Bottom line: could you imagine how much money the league would generate if talent was spread somewhat equally among 10-12 contending teams? Many of the arenas that frequently sit at 1/8 capacity would be full. Jersey sales would be huge, etc. Don’t tell me parity wouldn’t pay.

    February 22nd, 2011 at 11:13 am
    “With the crumbling of the Jazz and Nuggets, could the Suns be the first round opponent for the Spurs?”

    I think it’s more likely that we play the Grizz in the first round than the Suns, but who knows. There’s usually a great deal of flip flopping for the bottom two seeds.

  • Daniel T

    I think the Nuggets are a better team now. Carmelo is rather one-dimensional, and the reason he scores as much as he does is because he takes a shot on something like 1/3 of all possessions. Now he will be teamed with Amare who has a similar usage rate, and both of them will have to see their scoring go down slightly.

    I’d rather have Chandler than Carmelo, but you get more than Chandler in the deal. Let’s say they both suffer injuries, what does New York have versus Denver? Denver would likely still have 3 other starters from the deal, whereas NY will only have Billups. Billups is near the end of his career, whereas new Denver players are all fairly young.

  • Bentley

    Hobson 13

    Take this fact into account, over the past 30 years only 8 teams have won the championship. It always is gonna take franchise players to win, but also it takes good management. Thats one big reason( other than Tim Duncan) that we’ve won 4 titles in the last decade or so. Sure all the superstars can team up, but management is key. And in places like New York and Miami, I’m not sure they have the best management in order to win a title

  • tradetp…not right now

    Good Article.

    Though I think the underlining problem with the NBA is the fact that it is soft, and a majority of the players are not in the business of winning games as they are in the business of looking cool.

    The talent level in the NBA is down too. Take for instance Evan Turner. Best player in college, cant dribble, or create his own shot in the NBA, doesnt know how to work off the ball, etc.

    Junier- That is what LeBron and Carmelo both say, not actually what they do. Guys like Manu are 1 in a blue moon; he says he wants to win, and he does whatever it takes to win. The other two bone-heads say they want to win and do everything they can to make the WORK easier. And if it is still too hard, they would be satisfied with just being on a SportsCenter top play.

    Tim- Ditto

    Hobson- Please list the multiple occasions that 8 seeds have been considered contenders for a title?

  • Hobson13

    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I agree 100%. If the Spurs (a small market team) had a poor front office, our franchise may look more like the Timberwolves. I don’t mean to put 100% of the blame on the players since the owners continue to make horrendous contract mistakes. But over the past 18 months, it seems like we have the tail wagging the dog with regards to college dropouts calling the shots for business units (NBA franchises) that are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

    There is a middle ground where both players and owners can call the shots that put the league in a better position. However, right now that balance is tipped heavily in the favor of players who are are not making decisions that will better the league. I expect the owners, given the current economic conditions, to take back huge powers over the summer/fall even if it costs them in the short run due to a lockout.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Why is the NBA losing money? Because 2/3 of the teams are run by morons. This should just remind us that our FO should be praised for all the moves they have made over the years, making sure the our GOAT had the teammates needed to help him win 4 titles so far. An even greater accomplishment is the way this team has been built to succeed at the highest level even though Timmy isn’t the dominating force he was 4 years ago.

    And our FO has done this without dramatically overpaying players. Someday Pop and Buford will retire. Until then, I will remain humbled and awed that my team is flat out amazing.

  • Hobson13

    tradetp…not right now
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    “Hobson- Please list the multiple occasions that 8 seeds have been considered contenders for a title?”

    That’s my point. No 8th seeded team has ever had a chance at even winning the first round. They are always just cannon fodder for the 1st seed. However in the NFL (which I also follow), many people incuding myself knew that the Packers were a very good wildcard team that had the talent to go far. While I’m not saying that I KNEW the Pack was Superbowl bound, I will say that I and many others weren’t shocked to see it happen. This scenario would NEVER happen in the top-heavy NBA.

  • Alix Babaie

    I think that this trade is definitely in Denver’s favor.

    A starting center in the big Russian, Chandler who can rain 3s like a mo-fo, Gallinari and Felton, who can fetch some assets in trades (be it picks or other young players), cap relief and the $3m in cash and 3 picks….they came away doing just fine.

    The Knicks have some sizzle which when it comes down to playing D in the playoffs, will quickly turn to fizzle.

  • SAJKinBigD

    I like the bumper-bowling point. It sucks that these extremely rich people need to be protected from themselves instead of making good solid decisions day-by-day. Ugh.
    I’m afraid of what the new CBA’s going to do and in what position it will leave our Spurs. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are if everyone else is playing by other rules.
    Good management may not be enough to remain at, or near, the top of the Contender Pile in the NBA without a couple of “lean” years to net a top pick. Most likely the biggest change will be something affecting the Bird Rule, IMO. Mebbe it’ll be a significantly higher amount than it is at present or something along those lines. Mebbe it’ll be a Franchise or Transition player tag like the NFL has.

    knecht brought up a good point on the post Chicago-game thread…What about signing ‘sheed to a 10-day?

  • doggydogworld

    Last thing we want is a CBA that saves owners from themselves. We need all those owners and GMs who can’t manage their way out of a paper bag to have a shot at more rings.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Hobson13

    I don’t know how old you are, but “college dropouts” have been ‘calling the shots’ for the last 30 years in the Association- get a group of ‘old school’ NBA fans together and they will run these “nuggets” by you:

    1) Magic- 2yrs Mich St. [Lakers]- won title as rookie; team went out 1st round next season-story is told that Magic forced firing of head coach Paul Westhead;

    2) Bird * (1 yr Indiana/but stayed til Sr. @ Indiana St. [Celtics]-title in “81/early exits next 2 yrs/”player dissention” forced out coach Bill Fitch;

    3) Isaiah Thomas -2 yrs Indiana- [Pistons]said to have forced trade of teammate Adrian Dantley for his friend Mark Aguirre;

    4) Jordan- 3yrs North Carolina- [Bulls]***Don’t know if Jordan had role in dismissal of coach Doug Collins, but threw it in there for “spice”

    5) Penny Hardaway- 3 yrs Memphis- [Magic]-urged on by “player discontent” -fired coach Bryan Hill (hired back a few seasons later)

    There might be a few more, but these are the most notable ones. I am sure there are some other fans who will state the above circumstances were more or less considered accurate.

    P.S. I forgot–Scottie Pippen traded from Houston to Portland after one strike-shortened season (’98-’99) because Barkley wanted him gone.

  • SAJKinBigD

    No, we just want them to THINK they have a shot! 😀 That way they’ll continue to do stupid stuff that leaves openings for the smart and well-managed — Aw, who’m I kidding. I just want MY guys to do well. As long as there are more idiots involved than not, we can continue to take advantage of the situations.

  • rob

    I wouldn’t count out Denver just yet. They just got a handful of really good players in Chandler, Galinari and Felton plus draft picks. If Nene stays, Denver will still be good if not the better for dealing Carmelo.

    Regarding if this is good for the NBA…of course it will be. The big market cities in LA, Boston and now New York all have, if anything by this, big name talent to draw higher viewer ratings. Stern is loving this though he might not publicly acknowledge it.

    As for small market teams…most struggle anyway. San Antonio not being the norm for small to medium size markets, but as pointed out, have been succesful by means of management ability. But winning is also a huge part of success regardless of market size. I wouldn’t worry or even care if other small to medium market teams have problems because their problems are exactly that..theirs. I honestly don’t think “market” size in the league breaks any team more so than mis-management. Build a succesful model like San Antonio and players wanting a solid chance at winning a championship will want to play for that team.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Hobson13

    “That’s my point. No 8th seeded team has ever had even the chance of winning the first round.”

    2007—Warriors over Mavs (4-2); 1994—Nuggets over Supersonics (3-2)

    1981—-Houston Rockets: beat defending champion Lakers 2 games to 1 (best of 3); beat Spurs 4-3 in west semis; beat then Kansas City Kings 5-1 in west finals; almost won 1st finals game AT Celtics, then won 2nd game in Boston before eventually falling in six games.

  • DorieStreet

    P.S. —correction—-west semis conclusion was 4 games to 1, and by the way–Rockets regular season record was 40-42.

  • spursfanbayarea

    Wooo Hoo , Spurs resigned Novak to 10 day contract. Looks like the spurs countered the melo trade with a signing of their own!!! (sarcasm for those who didn’t get it)

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  • Hobson13

    February 22nd, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Valid counter examples. However, you point to three examples out of the entire history of the game. Since 1984, the playoffs have incorporated 16 teams and over that time period an 8th seeded team has won exactly twice (if you exclude the bizzare 1999 lockout season which is an anomly for this example). In other words, a true 8th seeded team has won exactly 3.7% of the first round playoff series’ against a number 1. I still stand by my argument that the 8th seed is cannon fodder if they are guaranteed to lose over 96% of the time.

    To add to the examples of the NBA’s complete lack of parity, I counted that the NFL has had 16 teams win a championship in the last 30 years as opposed to exactly half that number in the NBA where there is a huge imbalance of power at the top. Could this be a reason why the NFL is America’s new favorite pasttime?

    February 22nd, 2011 at 2:03 pm @ Hobson13

    “I don’t know how old you are, but “college dropouts” have been ‘calling the shots’ for the last 30 years in the Association- get a group of ‘old school’ NBA fans together and they will run these “nuggets” by you:”

    The examples you give are of coaches getting canned. This is nothing new and happens every single year. I’m talking about players essentially forcing their way off the team and thereby changing the entire structure/DNA of that team. I agree that the players have called shots at certain times in the NBA. However, these are only 5 examples in the past 30+ years. I can give 3 examples of players holding their teams hostage over the past 12 months. My point is that this issue, while not entirely new, is accelerating and getting worse. So Dorrie, my question to you is do you actually approve of the players calling these kinds of shots and running their organizations?

  • rj

    i think blame does indeed fall heavier on poor management, but the evolution of players into their own enterprises is bad for the league as well. does the nba have some kind of QC sub-comittee? they need to do annual reports on teams. perhaps some consulting is in order.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Bentley–

    Good point about having good management in addition to franchise and/or near great players for a team to be successful for a number of years. (Don’t forget–stable, wise ownership is needed also.)

    Despite the Phoenix Suns being a very successful and high profile team the past 20 years, the past 12 seasons has seen them hire and fire 6 coaches (and I don’t know how many GMs). They have been to conference semis and finals a few times despite the changes–did they tinker and change too much?

    New Orleans Hornets–returned after Katrina; forced the defending champion Spurs to 7 games in the west semis; perservered through an injury-plagued 2008-09 season to the 7th seed; but then the team did a hell of a lot of roster changes (drafts & trades) that summer that took them over the luxury tax; then the DID SOME MORE trades later that same summer and into the fall to get under same tax. With all of that change, the FO did not have any patience at all to let the team find chemistry and fired the former coach of the year Byron Scott after a 3-6 start—-9 GAMES!!!

    Oh–and wasn’t there a period in the early 2000’s that ALL of the teams in the eastern conference got rid of their coaches in an 18 MONTH period (that’s 15 teams, people).

    One of those casualties was Doc Rivers, ousted as the Orlando Magic head coach after 4 successful seasons–done in after a bad start (ala Scott). After a Tv analyst sabbatical, he was hired by new Celtic GM Danny Ainge. Many fans and pundits in Boston wanted him canned during his first few years—but Ainge stood by him. The Celtics pull off the blockbuster deal the summer of 2007 and- we know the rest.

  • David G

    Do the Spurs need to make any moves? I suggested a Anderson for Battier deal. How would fellow Spurs fans feel about that?

  • DorieStreet

    @ Hobson13

    Re: 8th/lowest seeds; I just responded to your direct quote= “No 8th seed team has EVER had a chance of winning the first round. ” We all know the percentages are very low, season after season; but you were not talking percentages–you presented a statement as a fact, when it was not–I was responding to that.

    To your 2nd counterpoint: “calling the shots” is ‘calling the shots’ == 20-30 years ago, the players forced change by ousting coaches; today the players force change buy “ousting themselves”. And, what 2 of today’s top NBA superstars did is nothing new–Kareem demanded a trade to the team 40 years ago; Charles Barkley did the same 2 decades ago. Oh, and didn’t some guy on the west coast whined and moaned about leaving his team if they didn’t improve (he even hinted about getting rid of the
    GM). The team hired back the previous coach, then pulled off a steal/inside job 2 seasons later.

    Coaches fired, GMs ousted, teammates replaced, trades demanded—the elite players of the NBA have long exercised their clout with the franchises they have played on. I gave you those examples because in all cases they were the leagues megastars–through their phenomenal play & accomplishments during their careers, they started the transition of the NBA (with help from David Stern) from team-first fan adulation to player first–and in a lot of fans’ perspective–players only adulation. their game—AND their ‘personas’ -transformed how the fans viewed the league.

    (To counterpoint #3–the NFL–another one of those ‘statements’ by you–” Could this be why the NFL is America’s NEW favorite pasttime?”
    “The Shield” has been on top for decades now, and parity (although it is part of the success now) had nothing to do with it initally–but I won’t discuss that now.)

  • DorieStreet

    @ Hobson13-

    To your question—do I approve of the players orchestrating their teams/calling the shots? My inital, gut response would be no. But when we speak of James & Anthony–it’s not them running the organization per se; it’s two players (among about 7-8 others) whose talent puts them on a level where they have much control on how successful their team can be much more than the other 3 major sports, because of the small number of personnel actually competing against each other at one time (5 on 5). If the elite player, for whatever reason, does not want to compete for his present team anymore (James & Anthony led their teams 7 seasons each), the FO/coaching staff must make the best of the situation–get the most back you can in all ways (quality players, top picks, cap relief) to keep the team competitive. James strung his team along in his last contract year, thinking they had a shot; Denver (after a while) surmised Anthony really wanted to go–and made the deals to make sure the Knicks would give them plenty in return. And the best part about it–where he wanted to go was in the opposite conference, so the Nugget organization and fans can go forward with the fact that he & the Knicks will not be a roadblock to win a title–unless they meet in the finals.

    Under the current setup and climate of the league, this is the best teams can do.

    Every Spurs fan– recall our No. 21 entertained the move to Disneyword after the title #2.

  • rob


    “…, but the evolution of players into their own enterprises is bad for the league as well. does the nba have some kind of QC sub-comittee? they need to do annual reports on teams. perhaps some consulting is in order.”

    Great point. However, Pandera’s box has already been opened. The league has made it a “player” affiliated league the moment they bought into individualism over team accomplishment. Now advertisers don’t care about marketing a team (which was counter productive anyway) more so than marketing individuals on a team.

    Marketing brings in revenue through advertisement and the big boys in advertising want, demand, and in many ways manipulate who is going to be popular, in demand, and focal. Players have been given a taste. Are now through free market enterprising can, will, and demand their spotlight through the one entity that the league has no control over and… ironically… NEEDS for its very existance.

    I don’t see the league being able to “sub-comittee” or “consult” unless they abide by what the financiers of their league want to happen.

    A challenging and different future in pro sports in general is on the horizon. As poitned out in the (if anybody has seen it) the little boy on you tube (I think) that makes the statement that the Texas Rangers won’t be his favorite team if they trade away a “certain” player on that team. Loyalty to a team will be surplanted by loyalty to an individual player. Making players popular will be (and already is) the new agenda in pro sports. Getting them to play in high market teams is the new goal.

  • Ben

    ….the poorly managed team theory doesn’t hold water because two of the biggest stars this past year(Melo and Amare) BOTH went to possibly one of the most poorly run teams in the league. Not only did they both sign there, they both openly pined to play there while they were still playing with their old teams. If I believed that players want to go to well run teams, it would be a different story but players and team owners/GMs alike both drink from the same delusional well.

    ….also for all those saying the last 30 championships have been won by only 8 teams, note that nearly 2/3 of the teams in the league have played in the Finals during that same span. I wouldn’t say parity is only measured by winners of a single trophy.

  • AJ

    Don’t forget, the Spurs were a David Robinson interrupted vacation away from possibly losing their own superstar to the creation of a super team in Florida.

    If Hill had stayed healthy, the Duncan-Hill-TMac combo would have been better than what’s currently in Miami. And we didn’t almost lose Duncan as a result of bad management. The appeal of putting together a dominant team in a nice environment is strong, regardless of the job done by team management. Luckily Duncan chose to stay, and we are the Spurs of today. But it was close, and we shouldn’t forget that.

  • Flavor

    I LOVE this video… Tim and Manu’s interview on the red carpet @ the all star game.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Flavor – Thanks for the link. Loved Tim’s interview. (Bieber fever… catch it!)

    @Everyone else – I guess I have a very different point of view on all of this. I understand loyalty by a fan towards a team, obviously. It has a lot to do with our sense of identity and place to have a team that we identify with, especially if it’s associated with our home or a place that’s special to us (e.g. our university). But I’ve never understood loyalty toward an owner or an organization. I’m grateful that the Spurs have Peter Holt as their owner (and no, I won’t call him “Mr. Holt” just because he’s the owner) but, other than how it affects the way the team plays or who makes up the team, I really couldn’t care less. I do care about the players because I like basketball and that’s what they play. But not the owners.

    So from my point of view, what Carmelo did was perfectly rational and if anything I’m annoyed at the Nuggets and the media for turning it into a circus. I worked hard to reach a high level in my profession (I teach at a major university) and I wouldn’t want to be forced to work in a particular place just because a monopoly of administrators used an arbitrary system to send me there. That’s what happened to Anthony. He’s from the East Coast and never wanted to leave, yet he was forced to spend several years in Colorado. Billups, by contrast, always wanted to stay in Colorado and now, for the second time, he’s forced to go to the East Coast. There’s just something wrong about that. And worse yet, when one of them uses some very hard-won leverage to choose where they want to live and work, they’re accused of greed, narcissism, weakness, and/or treason. I just don’t get it. What’s so wrong with LeBron wanting to play with his friends in Miami? (There’s plenty wrong with his sense of tact, of course, but I’m talking about the decision and not “The Decision”.) What’s wrong with Carmelo wanting to play with his friends in his hometown?

    So I don’t think any of this player movement is ruining the NBA. I’d love to see players go where they want to go. In fact, I’m in favor of FEWER restrictions on movement, salaries, etc. If that happened, I think San Antonio would be alright. Why? As Jesse points out, because of good management. As long as they have Pop and R.C., the Spurs will be successful and enjoyable to watch (at least for me).

  • rob

    @ Tim in Surrey

    I would agree with everything you said except…
    “So from my point of view, what Carmelo did was perfectly rational and if anything I’m annoyed at the Nuggets and the media for turning it into a circus.”

    I don’t think the Nuggets turned this into a circus more so that they were looking to get the best deal they could. After all…the team just spent the past 7 years trying to build around their all star player and if not for Melo deciding he didn’t want to play there anymore, I think Denver just may have been able to be a legitiment contender. The media however makes their living turning things into a circus…can’t blame them either for their 24/7 coverage.

    The coin is two sided. Teams/owners need to protect their investments as well. Players can pick and choose via free agency who they “want” to play for more easily than teams/owners can get who they “want” to play for them.

    That’s where the exuberant salaries stem from. Teams needing to get all star talent and the only way they can do it is to throw wads of money in their direction. Nothing wrong with that mind you…this is America.

    However…a balance needs to be put in place. I agree with you that players should be able to play for who they want to play for. I also contend though hard caps should be implemented to create a level playing field amongst all the teams. I would speculate that in the background of these negotiations some of the owners in big market cities are hoping things stay the same while small to mid market owners are the one’s making the hard push for better fiscal control.

  • Tyler

    Why is that everyone thinks players determining where they want to play is a “new” phenomena? Look at every major sport – the elite players in that sport have all the power. That’s how it has always been. This is not new.

    And how come all the outrage against players for forcing their way out when this same exact scenario plays out all across our economy each and every day. CEO’s, lawyers, doctors, etc have all done the same thing. Again, this is not new.

    What’s new is the media frenzy/circus that surrounds the player. In the 24/7 new cycle we live in, you can’t get away (or get enough depending on your taste).

    Lebron, Carmelo, Kareem, Steve Francis, Phillip Rivers – no matter the sport or era, elite players have always been able to force their way out of somewhere they don’t want to be.

    And on a personal note, I don’t have a problem with it. If you’re an elite player and you want to play somewhere else for whatever reason, you deserve that right. And if you can leverage your way out, again, that’s your right. It’s the same situation no matter if you’re an athlete, lawyer, doctor, professor, or CEO.

  • Impercipient

    As a Spurs fan in Denver I have watched this drama unfold, and Nuggets fans go from optimism to resignation to booing and back to resignation. It has made me very thankful for our loyal franchise players in Tim and David, as well as Parker, Manu, et. al. I’ll be honest, I think Denver is better without Melo. Maybe not in the short run, but this guy hasn’t gotten them out of the first round only once in seven years. He’s a ball stopper on offense and never has had much interest in defense. The Nuggets have been snake bit by injuries, a wildly overated coach, AI, and their own mental weakness, but this team when healthy is deep and talented. Say what you will about Kobe Bryant, but he got his team to perform and made sure the guys on the bench knew their role. To me, that is what makes a superstar, the intangibles. The ability of Jordan to make Rodman better for the team as Kobe has with Artest. Melo is a born scorer but he has never been a leader and the Knicks will be dismayed with what they find come playoff time.

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  • shlos

    why is brandon roy discussed in the last paragraph? He is still a force with portland…

  • SAJKinBigD

    @shlos: I suspect it’s due to his injury history/status.

  • Sam

    Something to chew on. Charlotte gets depth and size. Spurs get leadership and a young center and forward to build on. Portland gets a star wing and 3pt shooters

  • Sam

    @SAM also this is not something for the trade deadline its for the offseason

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