Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Posts Tagged ‘New York Knicks’

We will miss you Chauncey

Posted by mizzou1028 on February 23, 2011

Everyone on ESPN and all the national outlets are gaga about the Carmelo Anthony trade.  As a Nuggets fan, I am just glad this saga is over.  There are enough other places where you can read about his impact on the Knicks, and since I don’t care one bit about that team we’re just going to focus on Denver.  I think the Nuggets actually did very well getting four players, three draft picks and cash from the Knicks, when everyone knew that Anthony was just going to sign with the Knicks as a free agent this summer. If tonight is any indication (a blowout win over Memphis) I think the Nuggets might even find that they will be a better team without an unhappy Anthony.  It seems from tonight that the players remaining are just relieved to have this saga behind them.  I think the Nuggets did well, but there is someone caught in the middle, someone who through no fault of his own got nothing he wanted: Chauncey Billups.

For people nationally, Billups’ inclusion in the trade to the Knicks is not considered a big deal.  Sure he won multiple championships with the Pistons, but he is not on the radar nationally as a star.  This is a shame really because he is one of the true good guys in the league, and perhaps the biggest reason he isn’t considered a star is because he isn’t selfish and doesn’t market himself that way.  Unlike Anthony, Billups doesn’t crave Sportscenter highlights and marketing visibility.  For those of us here in Denver, Billups is a local icon, and for many (including me) was perhaps the only reason the Nuggets were remotely worth watching this year.

For those of you who don’t know, Billups is perhaps the best high school player ever in Colorado, winner of multiple state titles.  He led the CU Buffs to a rare NCAA tournament appearance in the 1990s.  He was the third overall pick in the draft by the Celtics.  Simply put, he is the local boy done good.  Before Billups got traded to the Nuggets, annual first round playoff exits were the norm and the team had no leader (no, Anthony doesn’t qualify.  You must be a team player to be a leader).  It says a lot that the Nuggets went from first round flameout to conference finalist the instant Billups arrived (in a trade for Allen Iverson, another me first scorer).  Billups is one of those players who lets his play speak for itself, brings championship experience that most teams don’t have, and makes his teammates better.  He is a player who I would call a glue, and I think the Nuggets are going to miss him a lot more than they will Anthony.

While I like Ty Lawson and the newly acquired Raymond Felton at the point guard position, Billups will missed for both his on court play (he’s one of the few guys on the Nuggets who played defense with any consistency), and more so for his leadership.  Let’s hope that some of Billups’ experience rubbed off on Lawson during the last year and half, because the Nuggets are going to need him to be one of the new leaders of the team.  I do think the new mix of players will actually give the Nuggets some nice pieces, especially Danilo Gallinari, who can score his share of points.  I am hopeful that without the cloud of the Carmelo saga hanging over the team, the locker room will become more relaxed and the Nuggets will start to play better as a team.  I am happy to tell Anthony not to let the door hit his backside on the way out, but Chauncey will be sorely missed.

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Is Carmelo the next to leave Denver?

Posted by mizzou1028 on August 20, 2010

It’s pretty obvious that Denver is a football town, especially this time of year, but Carmelo Anthony is doing his best to steal headlines and garner attention, and not in a good way.  In a summer where the country was swept by LeBron mania (or had it shoved down its throat, depending on your level of NBA interest), Anthony has had in front of him a 3-year $65 million extension that he has been sitting on.  He is due to make $17.1 million this coming season and has a player option to make $18.5 million in the 2011-12 season.  Needless to say, the Nuggets are doing everything they can to try and stroke Anthony’s ego and make him feel like the franchise player.  Anthony has so far not signed the extension, which at first didn’t seem like a big deal but has now snowballed to the point where numerous reports say he wants out and will only sign the extension if he is traded to a team of his choice.  Anthony hasn’t said much himself to clarify the situation, save for the following statement from his Twitter account (unedited by me, note the incorrect use of “their”): “Funny how people come up with there (sic) own analysis of a situation,” he tweeted. “I tell you boy … Unbelievable.”

Most NBA experts think it is not a matter of if Anthony will leave Denver, but when.  Much of this is of course based on speculation, and as such there is no consistent theme to the stories.  SI.com is reporting that Anthony would be willing to sign the extension if he is traded to the Knicks, Nets or Rockets.  An ESPN.com story by Ric Bucher talked about toasts at Anthony’s wedding by Chris Paul and Amare Stoudemire, talking openly about joining forces in New York with the Knicks.  The thinking goes that Anthony is an east coast boy, born in Baltimore and a proud Syracuse alumnus.    There are lots of quotes from anonymous sources, usually ones who are “close to the situation”.  There is also the practical evidence that Anthony’s south Denver house is on the market, to the tune of a cool $9.5 million.  There is also a potential lockout looming in 2011, meaning the free agent market next summer may not be as desirable for Anthony is it was this summer for LeBron and his buddies.

This makes the situation tough to predict and dissect because ultimately we don’t know what Anthony is thinking. As it stands now here are the possible ending scenarios for this saga, in no order whatsoever.

– He signs the extension and stays with the Nuggets: For all we know, Anthony could be taking his time to make sure staying in Denver is the right decision for him.  House on the market aside, Anthony could be concerned about the potential lockout and may ultimately decide that the guaranteed money that is on the table for him now is the way to go, even it means he stays in Denver.  It is possible that whatever contract Anthony garners as a free agent could be significantly less than his current offer from the Nuggets.  There is also the possibility that Anthony is waiting to see who the Nuggets hire as their new general manager (Mark Warkentein and Rex Chapman were fired from the front office last month).  If that’s the case, the possibility exists that Anthony could be talked into staying.

– He says he will not sign the extension and the Nuggets trade him: The Nuggets could decide to cut their losses and deal Anthony to avoid losing him as a free agent.  They would explore the best deal among the teams that Anthony wants to be dealt to.  It is possible the Nuggets do this to cut their losses and would also be a signal that they would be starting the rebuilding process.  It is more than likely that the Nuggets would get little more than cap relief in return for their superstar for there is a proven track record of teams not getting equal value for their stars in trade in all sports.

– The Nuggets could decline his trade request and make him play out the final year of his contract: This would obviously be a very risky move, not only because they might then get nothing for Anthony if he leaves after the season, but they could also be dealing with an unhappy superstar.  In a funny way, the looming threat of a lockout could play into Denver’s favor in this scenario because it might ultimately scare Anthony into signing the extension if he feels the market next summer won’t be player friendly.  Then again, it is also possible that this would allow Anthony to bide his time and simply sign with whatever team he wants to play for next July.

I am still hopeful that Anthony will sign the extension and stay in Denver, but the realistic side of me says that is probably unlikely.  After all, even more money didn’t convince LeBron to stay in Cleveland.  I think Anthony feels that he is not viewed in the same class as LeBron, Wade, Kobe, etc.  My response to that is that Anthony has not won the way the others have.  He has only gotten the Nuggets out of the first round of the playoffs once in seven seasons.  If he wants to leave because he feels the Nuggets haven’t been loyal to him, that’s his problem because the Nuggets have done more than enough to show him that he is their franchise player.  If he wants to leave because he feels like another place is his best chance to win a championship, well, it’s not like the Nuggets haven’t tried.  Their payroll is well above the luxury tax because they’ve tried to get Anthony help.  Ultimately, whether it’s in Denver or somewhere else, Anthony will need to prove he is a winner.  Where will it be?  I hope it’s Denver but I don’t have any more of an idea than anyone who isn’t Anthony himself.  Regardless, it has long been clear that players run the show in the NBA, not coaches and executives.

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