This is a decision fans will have to make. Carmelo’s time as a Nugget is coming to an end, despite his saying otherwise. With a $65 million, three-year contract extension offered by the Nuggets that’s been on the table since June, ESPN.com reported on Monday that Anthony is in no rush to make a decision on the contract extension and doesn’t have to be in any kind of rush.
Anthony could choose to sign the contract extension, or he could decide to pick up his player option for the 2011-2012 season, which The Denver Post reports will pay $18.5 million. So far, the Nuggets have not given Anthony a deadline to make a decision, and he doesn’t have to, until June 2011. If Anthony doesn’t sign the contract (or pick up his player option), he will be the LeBron James of the 2011 free agent class and subsequently get his own “The Decision” show on ESPN where he will tell the world (and his team) where he is going.
If money is on the mind for Melo, he should take what the Nuggets are offering up, because a new collective bargaining agreement is being worked on right now and should be in place by 2011. Whatever is reached in that agreement, players could make far less than what they get right now. If Melo signs the current deal, he will get close to $21.6 million per year for three years – it’s an amount that he may not be able to garner in a couple of years because of the new CBA. But still, Melo isn’t making any quick decisions.
“Obviously, everybody knows I’m loyal to the Denver Nuggets community and to the Denver Nuggets,” he told The Post. I’ve shown that over my seven-year stint here. I don’t think anybody can question that. But at this point in time, I have to do what’s best for me and my family. I’m just taking my time, figuring out if I want to take that extension or not.”
OK, so we know what Melo is saying and not saying, but what is Melo doing? His $9.5 million house is for sale in the Denver area. He got married in New York earlier this summer. He has reportedly talked about playing in New York on several occasions and is believed to want to play in New York alongside Chris Paul, who would be able to do so in a minimum of two years.
With all of that said, I have to believe that Anthony has already made up his mind and will not sign Denver’s contract, despite the possibility of making less money if he signs a deal in 2011. Melo has played for seven years in Denver and has had a lot of success but hasn’t won a championship. Melo wants to win a championship, and the Nuggets always seem to fall short. He also has to question how good the team will look in four years. Who will he be playing with?
Maybe even more than a championship, Melo wants to live in a city with real bling, like New York. Sure, Denver has bling in a sort of old-fashioned bolo-tie-wearing kind of way, but it’s not the bling Melo will find in the big market of New York City.
Or, perhaps, Melo is really jealous of the Dwyane Wade-LeBron-Chris Bosh conglomeration down in Miami. Who doesn’t like to play with friends, especially when they are all great? That seems to be the way the National Basketball Association is going. Players are going to be calling all the shots and are going to be the ones forming dream teams, rather than head office officials, and a Melo deal with Paul or some other star is coming in the future. That’s the nut of all of this. Denver should be sad about losing Melo, but the bigger issue is this shift in the NBA, where friends only play with friends. While this will be great for cities like Miami or New York, others will suffer and only get worse. At some point, the NBA will have to regulate these kind of dream deals, because there will be three or four really talented teams with the rest of the league basically with no-name players. At that point, we probably should just watch European basketball. The NBA is going to have to step in and play schoolyard supervisor so all the popular kids don’t end up on one team.
So all you Denver fans out there, face the reality that Melo is not a Nugget anymore. He’s gone to New York already. And as soon as Anthony’s name and No. 15 is printed on a Knicks jersey, it will then be time to break out the white gas and lighters.