You've heard it already, but
- Carmelo can be a free agent next summer by opting out of the last year of his contract.
- He wants to sign an extension NOW, because there is a possibility of an NBA player lock out if things don't go well at the next NBA collective bargaining agreement and he might not be able to get that money after that all of that settles.
- He doesn't want to sign that extension with Denver.
- He has given Denver a list of teams he would like to be traded to.
- Denver is now taking fielding offers for one of the best players in the NBA right now.
In Chauncey Billups' corner (Denver starting point guard)
- Simply put, this guy is an old guy (about to turn 34 in September).
- He's still a top PG but his days are limited and he has recently said he wants to play four more years:
“I have hopefully four years left of playing,” Billups said, “and I’m not the kind of person to just ride it out. I want to win. I want to go out on top; I want to go out winning. …I want to get out there, get after it and play. And I want to win as a Nugget the rest of my years. In a perfect world that’s what I would want, that’s what I would hope for.”Read between these lines - He's not the kind of person to just ride it out on a bad team with no superstar (such as Carmelo Anthony), an aging Kenyon Martin, a shot blocker that jumps at any pump fake Chris Andersen, etc. Even if the Nuggets got some good young players and draft picks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony (which they've come out publicly saying they want), they're not going to compete at a high level to start out.
As of right now, the top two teams who have a chance at Carmelo are the New Jersey Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers. Even if the Nets offer some package including Devin Harris and/or Rookie Derrick Favors, it would take a couple years to still build a team around these players (plus Devin Harris is a starting point guard just like Billups so that wouldn't work/would be a waste of talent). Same goes for the Clippers: if they offer a package including one of Blake Griffin or Eric Gordon, as good as these players are potentially going to be, it's not enough for Billups to stick around. Even if it's not these two teams that finalizes the deal, the Nuggets have said they want young players and draft picks. They are officially in REBUILD mode.
So when Carmelo is dealt, it is inevitable that Chauncey Billups will also request a trade to a contender where he won't have to "ride out" the rest of his career. These are Denver's two BEST players. After that there's an aging/injured Kenyon Martin, a solid center in Nene Hilario, a young point guard Ty Lawson and recently signed scoring forward Al Harrington. This was a GOOD team that had the talent to do big things. They made the Western Conference Finals in 08-09 and lost to the eventual champions the LA Lakers! It's frustrating when franchise players want to switch teams because they like certain cities better than others, but it's not illegal and they can do whatever they want.
The point is, the Nuggets are in rebuild mode. The team is also trying to trade JR "I shoot the effing lights out some games" Smith. And you can't quite build a team around Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington and Nene Hilario...
My BOLD BASELINE PREDICTION is a three team deal that sends Carmelo Anthony to either the Nets or the Clippers in exchange for either Devin Harris or Baron Davis respectively, with Chauncey Billups going to a third team and other players included so salaries match. I'm also predicting that Kenyon Martin gets traded for some young players or draft picks to a team that is trying to shed salary as Martin will be in his last year of his contract that pays him $16.5 million.
Chris Andersen doing his thing...
(Photo from westword)