Q&A on Raptors Republic

Recently, I exchanged e-mails with Sam Holako of Raptors Republic regarding the Knicks, Raptors, and the upcoming season in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference at large. Sam has posted our Q&A on his site:


Feel free to check it out. Hopefully, we’ll occasionally do some similar features throughout the 2010-2011 season with Sam and some of the other TrueHoop bloggers.

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Kevin McElroy

Kevin McElroy watches the Knicks and owns a computer.

78 thoughts to “Q&A on Raptors Republic”

  1. Nice job Kevin. I do think you’re being way too kind to Colangelo. Everyone knew Bosh was leaving, so why’d Colangelo wait? Why’d he give $50 million each to Turkoglu and Bargnani when you could get that production for less than the mid-level? DeRozan is a totally underwhelming pick and I can’t think of a single useful player that he’s drafted. The Nets’ brief window of optimism might be over but Toronto’s summer (and past two years) are a lot worse!

  2. Thanks Kevin. That was great.

    (OT: I see that the Knicks did, in fact, receive a draft pick in the Nate Robinson trade. It’s going to be Sacramento’s 2014 second rounder. Who should we draft with it, Ted? :)

  3. If the Lebron-Wade-Bosh team-up is what is causing all these players to suddenly start trying to force their way to the teams of their choosing, it’s definitely been bad for the NBA already. Ignoring that Carmelo apparently wants to come to the Knicks, how awful is he treating the Nuggets? It’s not like they are terrible, they have been pretty competitive, and have made moves to try to stay so. Hard to see his reasons as anything other than purely selfish. Chris Paul might have more reason to be skeptical of his team’s ability to improve, but it still tasteless to be on one team and to talk about joining another. And if bit players like Fernandez are going to start up as well, what hope do smaller-market teams really have?

    If control of his own destiny is what he wanted, a player like Carmelo should have kept his mouth shut, let his deal run out and become a UFA. Then he could just go wherever. Now the chemistry of his current team is in jeopardy and he faces the possibility of having to choose a less-preferred destination, or go to a team that has given up too much to get him.

    (Not even touching on the issue of parity and what it means to have all the best players on three or four teams. Still say the NBA over-expanded by 2-4 teams.)

  4. Excellent interview.

    I have to agree with Caleb though. Colangelo’s signing of Turkoglu and his insane commitment to Bargnani set the franchise back a great deal. He’s done a few good things. Finding Parker and Calderon for instance (although Jose has gone to hell of late.) But overall, not good…

  5. Of course the Heat trio is good for the league.

    Villains are always good for the league. Dynasties not involving Tim Duncan are always good for the league. LeBron was already the hottest ticket, and this team is going to play beautiful basketball. (Though I will hate their guts and hope they lose).

    It’s (sort of) bad for *fans of other franchises*, if you hope to see your team win rings at some point in the next decade. But let’s face it, most of us don’t even have that chance right now.

    Like people are going to stop going to games because the Heat are the favorites? Did they stop going to games when Jordan was winning ring after ring? When Kobe and Shaq teamed up?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m still bitter over this mess and hope they fall short of expectations, but that’s the fun of it: they are a team to root against. I am personally disappointed in LBJ because he didn’t choose my team, but there’s nothing wrong with the decision he made. Furthermore, 3 star athletes all left 10s of millions on the table so they could win and we now hate them for it? Man! Tough crowd!

  6. that’s not the point, though. I am not knocking the (Sedale) Threeheatts for what they did, I am saying it’s set some sort of precedent whereby every two-bit player looks like they are going to stamp their feet to renege on their existing contract and get moved to whatever team they want. (exaggeration, yes, but it’s pretty ugly stuff that’s going on in my opinion.) I can’t knock LBJ-Bosh for wanting to do it, I am not sure the system should allow it. And it’s not clear what signing a contract means if players are going to hold their teams hostage to trade them to a destination of their choice.

    Look at it this way, what if Amare decides next summer it was really his lifelong dream to play in NO with Chris Paul? Unlikely, but not impossible. So he goes public and lets it be known he doesn’t want to be here. Fans here would be furious, so it’s hard for me not to feel for Denver fans with Melo acting the way he is.

    I am sure the polarization caused by the Heat will be good for the league, and every Championship game will look like an All-Star game, at least while Kobe’s at a high level. But, yeah, it’s pretty dull to be your run-of-the-mill fan (of the other 25+ teams with no chance) and be locked out of contention for a decade.

  7. Come on, the whole “I don’t intend to resign, so trade me” thing is nothing new. It happens in every sport, and will continue to happen.

    Players are not indentured servants; they are human beings with free will, and they can choose to sign a contract with whomever they want for however much money they can negotiate, within the terms of the CBA.

    How do you propose the rules get changed to prevent this kind of power shift? A player can’t take a contract for less money than he can get on the open market? You fine the shit out of players who ask for a trade? I don’t like either of those ideas one bit.

    Basketball is a funny sport — and a frustrating one — because of the impact star players have on the league. Things tend to polarize quickly, which results in stasis — the good teams stay good as long as they hang onto their stars, and the bad teams struggle to improve through the draft or other means. If anything, IMO the rules should be *less* geared towards teams keeping their players, max length contracts should be shorter (to prevent teams from hamstringing themselves with bad deals) OR non-guaranteed after a certain point. This was an exciting offseason because there was real change (and even then, you know that LAL and BOS and ORL are still in the running, just like the last 2 years) … last year was kind of a dull season, because there wasn’t enough player movement. Player movement through trade or free agency increases interest, changes the dynamics of the league, and gives fans something to hope for.

    Melo leaving DEN will be great for the league. DEN isn’t winning any championships as currently constituted, but maybe a team like NYK or HOU or LAC or NJN will take a big leap forward with him on board. To me, that’s exciting, and a reason to watch.

  8. I don’t really disagree in general, but I do think your last point only holds true because you think NYC is a destination city not a spectator. Are fans in Indiana psyched by all the player movement or is it just further proof that unless they absolutely suck for two or three years and land the rare gem in the lottery (one like Durant, who supposedly won’t flee after a couple years), there is no hope for the franchise to be better than mediocre?

    I agree there’s no good way to legislate this stuff and it’s inevitable. It’s still in poor taste. I don’t really buy the whole, sports players aren’t indentured servants line. In fact, they are some of the highest paid people most of us have any knowledge of. If a regular person signs a contract, they have to honor it. It’s only because these guys have so much power that they can even consider going back on their contracts.

    No sympathy at all for Denver fans?

  9. Actually, if you or I sign a contract with an employer, we have the capacity to renegotiate our contracts, and our employers are generally empowered to cancel them if they see fit. Athlete contracts are quite strictly defined by comparison.

    Denver could end up in a better position in the medium term if they play their hand right. The worst thing that can happen is what happened to Toronto .. your guy walks and you get nothing in return. Better for it to come out early and take advantage of the situation. Generally speaking, Melo is a bit overrated, and there are some desperate teams out there. Denver should make out nicely.

    San Antonio, Detroit, and Boston have all won championships in the last decade .. none of them are “destination” cities. SAS was built into a contender primarily through the draft, BOS through trades for KG and Allen, and DET through draft and free agency (or did they trade for Big Ben? I can’t remember). Sacramento, Phoenix, Minnesota, Indiana, Jersey, Cleveland and Portland have all knocked on the championship door in recent history. Freakin’ UTAH has been in the playoffs for like 85 years in a row.

    So really, I think the league is in a pretty good place even for smaller markets, but you have to have good management.

  10. One thing that I believe is wrong with this interview is the notion that you play the teams in your division 5 times. That is no longer the case and hasnt been I dont think since the mid-90’s.

    So the Bobcats dont play the Heat, Magic and Hawks 15 times, although 12 times is certainly alot worse than the Knicks playing the Nets, Sixers and Raptors 12 times.

  11. rrude,
    I also feel like the trade demand is a funny thing. It depends on the situation. An “in-season” trade demand isn’t as offensive. A team is doing poorly, the fans check out, the star wants to be traded. Seems like there’s a logic there. I think even Grizzly fans were thinking “can you blame him?” when Gasol made his trade demand.
    Melo did voice his displeasure during the playoffs about not “getting help” but he could’ve finished out his contract like James. They’ve got 2 quality starters in Nene and Billups. They could maybe turn Martin’s expiring into something useful as well. Birdman and Lawson are great off the bench. As has been said, it’s not a sucker team… it’s worth sticking out for another 3 years maybe.

  12. Wow, TKB just posted that P.E.Jr. has been signed as a free agent. Good for him.

    While it is good for him, I believe it is a non-guaranteed contract, so he’s not out of the woods by any stretch.

  13. Seriously, did the Knicks take a collective dump in Adrian Wojnarowski’s cereal or something?

    From his column on the Carmelo Anthony situation in Denver…”With nothing to trade for Anthony, though, New York isn’t considered a strong contender in the eyes of Denver management.”

    Fuck the heck?!?!?!

  14. Tasty,
    Denver could in theory do better, but one hidden premise here is that basketball is a sport dominated by a few really talented players. Assuming Melo, whatever his flaws, is one of those players, it would be very hard for Denver to replace him and win on any trade. Best case scenario is likely to be, they stay in the WC playoffs w/o being in real contention. And there’s a whole lot below that scenario.

    I could go through your list and make points (DET traded for Wallace I’m pretty sure), but I do see your point in general.

    My starting place was a sense that what happened with Miami has encouraged players, who would otherwise be content to ride out their situations, to start publicly campaigning for their fantasy destinations. If so, that’s not a good outcome for the league IMO. Regarding ess-dog’s point, yeah there’s a point where you have more sympathy for the player who wants out. I don’t think any of the big stories this summer are those cases. Melo and Paul’s teams have competed at a high level quite recently. Fernandez just isn’t that good.

  15. Kevin McElroy:

    Thomas B.-

    I’ll interview you any time you want! What do you want to be interviewed about?  


    Um, let me learn how to do something well and I’ll get back to you.

  16. Haha. Jamal Crawford has demanded a trade because he was not offered an extension roughly equal to the $10 mil a year he’s making now. Jeez, the NBA is a little out of control right now.

  17. Brian Cronin:
    While it is good for him, I believe it is a non-guaranteed contract, so he’s not out of the woods by any stretch.  

    I read that it was partially guaranteed. Good for him, but I still would have rather seen the knicks pick up Earl Barron.

  18. Odds are that it is guaranteed if he makes the team to start the season, so they can still cut him without paying him before the season starts. I’m rooting for the guy!

  19. Love the interview. I bet it was a lil awkward talkin about how bad the Raps are, but nice way to spin it so u don’t look like a Raps basher lol.
    I do wanna touch on this PE2 thing. I like him (i’m a Hoya fan), but I don’t think it’s what he needs. Definitely not what we need. I agree with TDM, bringing Barron back should have been the move, but I guess he wanted 2 much cake. As far as PE2 or PJ lol, for starters-he’s behind 5 or 6 players possibly unless he plays extensively as a 4. Even then he’s still got a hella high mountain to climb for PT. Now the other reason I think it’s not necessarily what he needs is bloodlines. I’ve always said that it must suck 2 be the son of an all time sports great and attempt to follow in Dad’s footsteps and play the same sport. Look at Jordan’s kid..he sux!! Nowhere near as good as Dad. But he carries the name so he’s expected to be great. Now in PE2’s case, he has great expectations as well, but HE SIGNED IN NY!! The place where Dad became a HOF’er!! Now if that ain’t some big shoes 2 fill then I don’t know what is. Maybe if he were in another city he could fly under the rader enough to develop properly..but not in NY. Again, I like PE2..but not over Barron for this roster.

  20. Signing PEj is a waste of a roster spot. He doesn’t fill a need. Furthermore, he’s useless as a trade chip – no other team was even rumored to be looking at him. If Barron were given a few minutes and continues with the great play from last season, he would be a great asset to use in trades if necessary. If not Barron, Donnie should have picked up another true pg from the scrap heap.

  21. TDM: Signing PEj is a waste of a roster spot.He doesn’t fill a need.Furthermore, he’s useless as a trade chip – no other team was even rumored to be looking at him.If Barron were given a few minutes and continues with the great play from last season, he would be a great asset to use in trades if necessary.If not Barron, Donnie should have picked up another true pg from the scrap heap.  

    I’m surprised Sundiata Gaines is still out there. He played well in limited action last year, no? I agree another ‘real’ point guard would be nice.
    Regardless, I think PEJ was the only player who would take a non-guarantee right now – a move that leads one to believe that Donnie REALLY wants to keep a roster spot open in case of a trade that brings back an extra player. I read this as Donnie still wanting to tinker with the rotation if possible.
    Is it possible we bring back Jamal Crawford?

  22. Also, Crawford does make a fair point. When looking at 6th men of the year, Terry makes 10 mil, Ginobli makes 12 mil. Barbosa, who Crawford most resembles in that group makes 7 mil. I think Craw could be worth an 8 mil yearly avg. extension to any team that wants him. We just don’t have that kind of money to waste on a 30 yr old 6th man.

  23. Dudes,
    You can see Mozgov against Puerto Rico on ESPN3. He looked pretty good. In the first half that I watched, he was very active, set good picks and had at least two dunks. On his one look in the post, the ball was poked away. He didn’t start but got significant minutes. The commentary was that he has a tendency to get into foul trouble. Looks like he’s as advertised. Big, strong, likes to run, raw, and foul prone. The Russian team is pretty disciplined and he seemed to understand and be an important part of their system.

    Seems like he fits with Donnie’s other acquisitions. If they can be unselfish and fill roles and, as has been said, some guys can ascend to new levels through hard work (see David Lee’s 15 footer), we may have something. And this team may play defense.

    A long way from the team of chuckers he inherited and a balance sheet that would impress a Tea Party member. I do think we lack that one more proven commodity and I would trade to make that happen. I wish we could have teamed David Lee with Amar’e. IMO, they would have complimented each other. However, I am excited to watch this team as is. It doesn’t seem inevitable that they’ll fail and their could be some nice surprises along the way.

  24. CYD – “Now if that ain’t some big shoes 2 fill then I don’t know what is.”

    Size 15’s to be exact. :P

  25. Ian O’Connor was just on 1050 talking about Melo with Woj (Knick-hater).
    Ian surmised that it would take a package of Gallo, AR, Curry, 2014 pick at least to get Melo. Woj of course shot this down and said the NJ/Brooklyn package was better (something like Favors, T-Will, Harris and multiple picks and they would take back JR Smith as well.)
    Both agreed that Clips were a longshot at best and that it seems like NJ is the frontrunner, with the Knicks in play if they could get a 3rd team involved.
    Basically the logic that Woj put forth was that Melo will eventually sign the extension. It’s too risky not to considering a new owners agreement is looming. So he somewhat has to play ball. I’m not sure why he’s so down on a Gallo/AR package though. The only thing the NJ package has in it’s favor are the extra, sooner picks. Maybe I’m a homer, but I’d rather have AR/Gallo/Buike than T-Will/Favors/Harris although I guess it’s close.
    I think we really have to let Gallo/AR play before we decide to do anything. Maybe this will drag into the season…

  26. Woj might be right that not signing the extension might cost Melo millions – but we may have entered a new era during which players realize that $15MM/year in a good situation > $20MM/year in a bad situation. It’s not like any of these guys will be hurting for money. In fact, it’s likely that none of the max players will ever even notice the difference between 15 and 20 million/year. The precedent has been set now for players in their prime to value a good situation over getting max dollars.

    Meanwhile – is Devin Harris actually any good? Maybe a classic example of a guy who looked great in one situation (ie. playing with Dirk and company) and now looks terrible when trying to be the man. Terrence Williams is pretty terrible too regardless of his “multiple skill set”. Not sure why people think the Nets core is any good when IT ONLY WON 12 GAMES last year. Even a supposedly talentless Knicks team that played no defense while fielding a bunch of chuckers and mercenaries won 29 or whatever it was.

  27. ess-dog – happily, there seems to be a major flaw in Woj’s logic:
    1) The Nets would only make the trade if they knew Melo would eventually give in and re-sign to get his new contract under the existing CBA
    2) The Nuggets wouldn’t trade Melo if they knew he would eventually give in and re-sign to get his new contract under the existing CBA

    So I think what it comes down to is that Melo has already made clear he’s not holding out for the max money that only the Nuggets can give him. And no team will trade away good pieces for him if they know he won’t re-sign. And of course, why would Melo want to re-sign with a team that had just traded away its best players?

    For all these reasons, I think the Knicks have a really good shot at Melo.

    (Also – long time lurker, first time poster. Love this web site!)

  28. Welcome Josh,

    I guess that’s what it boils down to: If Melo is willing to walk away from millions of dollars to go to his preferred destination (NYC) then he has the upper hand. If he insists on making 24 million a year – that would be anywhere between 21 and 28 million more dollars than Lebron’s contract – then Denver has the upper hand.
    Clearly it would be better for us to sign him in the summer of ‘ll. Not only do we keep Gallo/AR but we would also get Melo cheaper so we can actually continue to build a team around those parts.
    It’s tougher for Melo. If he insists on NYC, he has to play with the Nuggets while this drags out. It would basically be a lame duck year for him. He really should have just kept his mouth shut and played out his contract.
    But who knows what could come out of the new cba agreement? I heard that owners were talking about a ‘franchise tag’ they way they have in football so that the golden girls scenario won’t repeat itself in the future. No one’s talking about it, but their could even be a strike, which would be terrible for everybody.

  29. ess-dog: He really should have just kept his mouth shut and played out his contract.  

    He didn’t really open his mouth. Chris Paul is the guy making toasts about joining Carmelo in NY. Amar’e is the one twittering about bringing in Carmelo and Tony Parker. Neither of those guys have said anything publicly.

    Denver offered Anthony an extension, which he didn’t sign. When asked, in private, why he wasn’t resigning with them, he told the team he was thinking about going elsewhere. Not sure how he could have done things differently. Maybe Denver shouldn’t have gone public with their extension offer.

  30. Yeah, from what I can tell a toast was made (by CP3?) about joining forces in NYC (with Amare?) while Melo’s current employer (Kroene) was sitting there watching.
    I think if that happened at my wedding, I’m pretty sure my boss would want me to refute that toast to him/her, but it sounds like things only got worse from there.
    I mean, an actual trade request will result in a fine, right? So I’m sure Melo ‘kept his mouth shut’, but scheming to be part of a big three a year or years before you are a free agent (in public) just isn’t a good way to go about things. At least LBJ, Wade and Bosh kept things quiet regarding their plan up until they signed as free agents.
    I didn’t mean to totally fault Melo, but this ‘wedding toast’ thing comes much closer to tampering than the golden girls event did (and wouldn’t that just be NY’s luck?)

  31. I think a lot of the criticism of Devin Harris is unwarranted. He’s not the best PG in the league by any means, but he’s a good player. He had his best season in NJ, not with Dirk. He was injured last season and had a bad scoring season. It’s possible that his quickness is gone for good or he’s never healthy again (I don’t even know what the injury was off the top of my head), but given his historical production and age I’d expect a few more productive seasons.

    That’s not at all to say that the Nets should be or are the front-runner. Harris as the short-term center-piece would then force the Nuggets to trade he and/or Billups and/or Lawson or play him out of position. I don’t know if the Nets could re-sign Melo to play on this team: Lopez, Murphy, Melo, Morrow, Farmar… Damion James and Travis Outlaw… They would have a shot to get into the playoffs actually, but if they want to convince him to re-up at the time of the trade…

    Also, leaving as a free agent does not necessarily mean Melo would have to take less money. Miami has set one precedent, but there is a much longer precedent of guys leaving via sign-and-trade deals.

    “Is it possible we bring back Jamal Crawford?”

    I hope not…

  32. I don’t see any reason Melo would sign an extension with any of teams now rumored to be the “front-runners” that Denver is looking at. NJ would likely have to give up Harris and Favors/Lopez, and without those guys, why would he stay? Ditto with Minny and Rubio/Love/Wes Johnson, or LAC with Kaman/Gordon/Thornton. He’s gonna play for the Clippers, a 2nd rate franchise, just so he can run with Blake Griffin and Baron Davis? Really? Sacramento has a nice nucleus he could grow with in Tyreke and Cousins, but then who would they be giving to Denver in a trade Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson? That gets it done but Gallo/Randolph doesn’t? The whole situation doesn’t make much sense. Houston and Chicago seem like the only REAL competitors to the Knicks in terms of they can make good offers AND still have a solid team in place that Carmelo might be willing to extend with.

  33. Caleb: Nice job Kevin. I do think you’re being way too kind to Colangelo. Everyone knew Bosh was leaving, so why’d Colangelo wait? Why’d he give $50 million each to Turkoglu and Bargnani when you could get that production for less than the mid-level? DeRozan is a totally underwhelming pick and I can’t think of a single useful player that he’s drafted. The Nets’ brief window of optimism might be over but Toronto’s summer (and past two years) are a lot worse!  

    It’s not entirely relevant here, but Colangelo was the Suns’ GM for 11 years, built a contender, and whenever he made a mistake fixed it pretty quickly (by dumping it on the Knicks… Marbury/Penny + Q-Rich).

    Bargnani is an odd one, but he drafted the guy #1 overall and is obviously irrationally high on him. That’s a pretty common mistake for GMs to make with “their” guys. Bargnani might actually step up as a scorer a bit with Bosh gone and should still be improving a little going into his 25 year old season. It’s a mistake, but you can get away with one of two.

    Turkoglu was a mistake… but he’s already gone. Pritchard also signed him to the exact same contract.

    DeRozan wasn’t overwhelming as a rookie, but was taken for his long-term upside and expected to be raw as a rookie. He mostly held his own and didn’t implode as some thought he might. If you don’t take a PG, are there that many guys drafted after him you’d rather have? I would probably take him over the other wings who went in the same area of the draft: Terrence Williams, Gerald Henderson, Earl Clark, and James Johnson. Austin Daye was pretty much a toss-up with DeRozan as a rookie. Probably will not go down as the best possible pick at that spot, but might not be a bad pick at the end of the day.

    Ed Davis looks like a solid pick at 13. You might not remember his other first round picks in Toronto because he didn’t use them… I believe that Bargnani, DeRozan, and Ed Davis are the only three he’s made (Hibbert was used in the Ford-O’Neal deal and I would imagine was Bird’s choice). Not amazing, but not total busts to date either. Given that this is the guy who drafted Marion and Amare #9 and Leandro #28… I wouldn’t criticize his drafting too much. He’s not a draft god, but he has to have been above average.

    He’s found good talent in Europe: Garbajosa and Anthony Parker.

    At this point he’s got a young team with cap flexibility going forward and some good young talent–Bargnani, DeRozan, Davis, Julian Wright, Kleiza, and Amir Johnson–to go with a few vets–Calderon, Barbosa, David Andersen. He came close to fixing his defensive problems this offseason with the Calderon-for-Chandler and Diaw trade. I don’t think he’s done a great job in Toronto, but I also wouldn’t say he’s been totally inept. Toronto doesn’t look strong going into this season, but I wouldn’t count them out for long as long as Colangelo is their GM.

  34. @35 and @33 have it right IMO. A few points to add:

    Carmelo simply will refuse to sign an extension with any team to which he gets traded if he does not want to. Therefore, he has 95% of the leverage here. One thing that keeps from being mentioned is that Carmelo has a PLAYER OPTION for $19M for 2011 on his existing contract. So if he gets traded to a team he doesn’t want or stays in Denver, combine those situations with having the new CBA turn out to be more disadvantageous to star players (something which seems unlikely) and then Melo is in a situation where $ becomes the #1 issue for him then he can exercise his option and take another huge paycheck off the table and become free in summer 2012 under the new deal. (sorry for the terrible sentence but you get my point). Seems like Melo has quite a few options at his disposal here and Denver not so much.

    Melo seemingly has not done much wrong here from a PR perspective either. Team offers extension, player says no. Team then needs to trade player in order to get value for him before he leaves via free agency. Team spins it to look like player demanded trade when all he did was play things to the letter of the contract and has never publicly said anything that I can remember about not liking his situation or been accused of dogging it like LBJ vs Boston or Bosh for the last 20 games of the season. This upcoming year as a lame duck in Denver could be a different story.

    It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens for existing contracts and new contracts under a new much tighter CBA. Everyone seems to assume all contracts written before the CBA have to stick. Correct? Could lead to some very lopsided stuff happening after the new deal is negotiated.

  35. cgreene,

    Melo can do whatever he wants after this season, but Denver still decides what he does this season.

    A team might still trade Denver a bunch even without an extension in place. Certainly just about any team would rather have the extension in place, but that doesn’t mean they might not just go all-in without one.

    Even with all that’s being made about Melo not wanting to play there, Denver is still a 50 win team and not the worst place to live. Depending on how things play out this season, Melo might very well find that staying in Denver is in his best interest when it comes to winning basketball games.

    “Team spins it to look like player demanded trade when all he did was play things to the letter of the contract”

    It would not be in Denver’s best interest for Melo to be demanding a trade. It would actually be 100% counter to their interest. Not only don’t they want their star demanding to get out of Dodge, it also trashes his trade value and makes them look desperate. Denver is not the bad guy, and chances are very high that the team has no interest in making Melo look bad while he’s still there.

  36. jaddddd1: I don’t see any reason Melo would sign an extension with any of teams now rumored to be the “front-runners” that Denver is looking at. NJ would likely have to give up Harris and Favors/Lopez, and without those guys, why would he stay? Ditto with Minny and Rubio/Love/Wes Johnson, or LAC with Kaman/Gordon/Thornton. He’s gonna play for the Clippers, a 2nd rate franchise, just so he can run with Blake Griffin and Baron Davis? Really? Sacramento has a nice nucleus he could grow with in Tyreke and Cousins, but then who would they be giving to Denver in a trade Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson? That gets it done but Gallo/Randolph doesn’t? The whole situation doesn’t make much sense. Houston and Chicago seem like the only REAL competitors to the Knicks in terms of they can make good offers AND still have a solid team in place that Carmelo might be willing to extend with.  

    The reason NJ, Minny and Sacto are frontrunners are exactly because they suck. If a major component of what you want back in any trade if you’re Denver is draft picks, then don’t you want your acquired draft picks to be as high as possible? Even with Melo, 2 draft picks from the Nets could be in the lottery. Same with Minny. Who wants draft picks from Chicago plus Melo? That would be like a 25, 26 pick.

  37. Ted,
    I do not agree at all really. Regardless of Denver being a nice place to live and a 2nd tier team in the West, Melo has opted not to sign an extension to stay there. If he wanted to stay he has all the reason in the world to do so in front of him right now. That leads to a negotiation for his future. Within that negotiation there are factors that come into play in the form of leverage. In this situation Carmelo has the majority of factors in his favor: (i) he has a contract that pays him $18M this year regardless of location, (ii) he has the ability to become a Free Agent after this year if he chooses to do so and play for whatever team he wants that has the cap space to sign him, (iii) if he gets traded to either an unfavorable or favorable situation he can then choose based on outside factors such as the CBA, suffering a bad injury, the current team’s future or anything else to exercise a clause in his contract that guarantees him $19M for an additional year if the other economic options are not to his liking, (iv) in any trade scenario that would satisfy his current Denver team’s desire to be well compensated for his departure it is Carmelo who has the right to extend his relationship with Denver’s trading partner thereby maximizing the value of the trade to both parties.

    There is no scenario in which Carmelo loses any of his leverage. If David Kahn wants to trade Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and his first rd picks every other year from now till 2050 for the chance that Carmelo changes his mind and decides he likes terrible teams, cold weather and the Midwest then that is Kahn’s prerogative. Melo still has all his options.

    As far as the PR issue, you might think Denver has no reason to denigrate Carmelo but that is exactly what is happening. It is coming out the Kroenke is furious that Melo won’t sign the extension and Chris Paul made a dumb toast at his wedding so he wants to ship him to basketball Siberia. Show me a quote from Carmelo or his agent saying anything bad about Denver. There is none.

  38. Splitter looking good… I can’t believe Rondo didn’t make the team…


    The other thing to consider is what Melo’s fair trade value is…

    Denver clearly has to get about as much as they feel Melo is worth (a complicated calculation since you have to quantify how likely he is to stay) to even trade him, and if they do trade him want the best deal while other teams probably want to push a Denver team that might be desperate.

    The extension has to be an issue and Melo does have leverage, but fair value and negotiating strategy also come into play.

    I probably wouldn’t trade Gallo AND Randolph for Melo and I would hesitate to trade Harris/Favors/Williams for him.

  39. cgreene,

    First, I never said that he would re-sign there. Basically, I was saying that if the Knicks, Nets, and Blake Griffin disappoint Melo’s options might not be as plentiful as we think they will be. Second, there is a long history of stars going to free agency only to re-up with their old teams: Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant… All those guys hit free agency and stayed put at a time when they were higher profile players than Melo is now. The reason not to sign is precisely because he has leverage right now. He has options. He can stay or he can go depending on his options. He can get Denver to make personnel moves on his say so.

    I’m not exactly sure your point. You’re stating the obvious. However, Melo cannot simply decide where he wants to play this season. That’s all anyone is saying. You’re arguing right past the points people are making. No one has said Melo is not a free agent in 2011 with a player option for 2011-12. No one has said he’s not making a huge sum of money this season. Just that he’s still under contract and the Nuggets have their own leverage in terms of where he plays this season, whether he re-signs before the CBA expires, and whether they’ll s&t him this offseason if that’s what he wants.

    “Show me a quote from Carmelo or his agent saying anything bad about Denver. There is none.”

    I haven’t followed the issue incredibly closely and certainly haven’t spoken to anyone inside the Nuggets organization… but, again, the Nuggets are stupid if they are ruining Melo’s trade value and impugning his reputation at the same time as they are hoping to re-sign or trade him. This just does not make any logical sense. “Let’s shoot our own organization in the foot!!!”

    Are there any quotes directly from Kroenke or the Nuggets? Most things I see are “sources” with “inside knowledge” of one side’s thinking.
    There have, in fact, been quotes from Melo’s wife about NYC and from “sources” inside his entourage. Overall, though, neither side has to say anything and the media is still going to make this into a huge deal… Just like when Kidd was “leaving the Nets for the Spurs” or Duncan was “going to the Magic” or Kobe was “going to the Clippers” or LeBron/Wade/Bosh were doing a million different things…

  40. I think Melo has leverage, to an extent, but not “95%” of it. Because of the pending lockout/new CBA, I really don’t think he’s going to leave an extension unsigned going into next summer. He’ll try to leverage his way to his dream destination, but if Denver’s unwilling to help make it happen, I think, ultimately, he’ll take the money, either from the Nuggets or whoever they deal him to. Just my guess. Could be wrong…

  41. If Melo is watching the World Championships and sees how old and slow Billups is looking right now cant blame him for wanting to leave Denver as soon as possible. lol

  42. @45 I don’t think the Jason Kidd, Duncan, and Bryant scenarios are analogous to Carmelo’s. Those other guys were keeping their options open and were willing to test the market knowing whether they re-signed or signed elsewhere they’d be making a ton of money in a pretty good situation.

    ‘Melo seems disgrunted like Alonzo, Barkley, or Vince Carter were when they forced trades. Carmelo is prob. not in love w/ the city of Denver and is unsure about their title prospects.

    What makes this situation seem weird is how few serious contenders there are in today’s NBA. A player can quickly become hopeless about his team’s chances to win a title, even a decent team like Denver. Also, the list of teams with which a player like Melo can win a title before he goes into heavy decline is really short.

    Like ‘Zo’s, Barkley’s, and VC’s teams I think they need to find a team that has some chance of keeping Melo, get whatthey can get in return, tear down, and start over.

    It’s nothing new that a player can whine his way to a better team but with this “Miami Thrice” garbage; players on 25 of the NBA’s 32 teams will wish they were elsewhere.

  43. ess-dog: The reason NJ, Minny and Sacto are frontrunners are exactly because they suck. If a major component of what you want back in any trade if you’re Denver is draft picks, then don’t you want your acquired draft picks to be as high as possible? Even with Melo, 2 draft picks from the Nets could be in the lottery. Same with Minny. Who wants draft picks from Chicago plus Melo? That would be like a 25, 26 pick.

    Why would these teams make a trade for Melo as a 1-year rental? Why gut the team and give up picks for a guy who will not be there long term and will not win you a championship in that one season you will have him? Then again David Kahn and Billy King run two of those teams so who knows.

  44. @49 – They wouldn’t. Every single disgruntled superstar who requests a trade and ends up traded, is sent to a team on which he’ll be happy.

  45. Melo is a newlywed and his wife wants to live in LA or NY. That about sums it up.

    @46, Z is right that most players would bend on location, agree to sign an extension in Denver or some other city that’s willing to pony up a great trade offer, but given his wife I could easily see this playing out in a different way for Melo. He’s already had a big contract and he’s going to get paid a lot, either way. I won’t be shocked at all if he forces his way to NY or Jersey (since the Clips are like Kryptonite for most players). All the spin stories about the Nuggets dissing NY and talking to other teams – transparent leaks from Josh Kroenke to Yahoo or whoever. Of course the Nugs are shopping for a better offer but that doesn’t mean they’ll get it.

    Interesting about the player option – if he wants to play ball with NY management, he could exercise his option, and start an extension in 2012 at a number that gives the team flexibility to chase Chris Paul or Deron Williams.

  46. @51 fun read.

    We’ll have a fun, unpredictable team – very young, lots of potential. Big variables. Lot of surprises.

    It’s crazy to think we’ll be worse defensively than last year – we’re better at every single position. You could argue that the starting lineup will have 3/5 above-average defenders (Turiaf, Randolph, Felton) and a couple or solid reserves (Chandler, Douglas) which makes it hard to envision the team being awful on D. Below average, maybe.

  47. DS,

    We’ll have to see. It could go either way. I would agree with most people that Carmelo Anthony is unlikely to be in Denver by the 2011-12 season at least. The point that I was making was just that not all stars who turn down extensions for free agency actually leave. In fact, I think historically you’ll find that more of them stay. Likewise there have been players whose names were mentioned in the trade rumors for weeks and were never actually traded. I was specifically responding to a comment that Melo is obviously leaving since he hasn’t signed an extension.

    A lot of what we know about Melo’s feelings is media hype.
    He may be jealous of LeBron/Wade/Bosh and the Lakers… feeling like he deserves better or something. (Or perhaps is the most whipped athlete in all of professional sports… I guess you could say “most considerate husband”) However, at the end of the day he might not have any choices that are clearly better than Denver. Maybe he still forces his way out and is thrilled at first, but doesn’t mean the results will be any better elsewhere.
    A lot of it comes down to Carmelo being overrated. He’s not nearly as good as Wade or especially LeBron. He’s not even as good as Chris Bosh. Unless you’re already knocking on the door and just one scorer shy… getting him is not going to make you a real contender. He might need to look in the mirror as far as why Denver has trouble getting out of the 1st round rather than pointing fingers… Your chances of winning a championship with Melo as your best player are slim to none. Even 2nd best and I don’t like your chances (unless–given current rosters–Dwight Howard is your #1 star). Melo-Lopez, Melo-Cousins, Melo-Amare… I would bet against any of those combos ever being the core of a championship team. I honestly doubt he’ll do much better than Denver’s roster, especially since Denver has a lot of trade pieces this season and good flexibility going forward. Melo’s best play might have been to make nice with the Denver organization and sell it as a great and scenic location to other stars.

  48. Ted Nelson: Melo…perhaps is the most whipped athlete in all of professional sports… I guess you could say “most considerate husband”)   

    Competition is strong. He’ll have to really cater to her to beat out Chris Benson, Doug Christie, Hedo Turkoglu, or Antonio Davis to win that coveted ESPY award. (I guess you’d have to give him the edge if he agrees to play for the Clippers just so La LA can lunch at the Ivy every day…)

  49. @54,

    Not sure I agree with you on Melo. You said that Melo on a team as the 2nd best player wouldn’t be a part of a championship nucleus. All of the players you named (Cousins, Amar’e, Lopez) would essentially be 2nd options on Melo’s team. The only players in the league Melo would play 2nd fiddle to are Wade, LeBron, Howard, Gasol, CP3, D-Will, and Kobe. I understand that none of those guys are realistically on the table for Melo to play with now, so I do agree that he may be better off in Denver than anywhere else, but at the same time I think you sold him short.

    Also, I’m not sure I agree that Bosh is better than Melo. They bring the same thing at to different positions; scoring and above average rebounding. I would say they’re about even, talent-wise.

  50. massive,

    I disagree a bit on Melo’s value, but overall I think it’s pretty irrelevant to the larger point.

    -The reason I used those specific combinations was because those are the destinations he’s rumored to be headed to. With Cousins and Lopez I was assuming they develop into two of the top Cs in the league… Lopez offensively at least. Otherwise those teams don’t necessarily look like contenders.
    Amare scores about as much as Melo at a much more efficient rate. Since Melo brings no other real plus skill to the table (above average passer, but not great… bit above average defender and rebounding 3…) and Amare is better at the one plus skill Melo has…
    I wasn’t specifically saying that Melo would be the #2 guy in those situations, but I certainly wouldn’t say he’s the clear #1. Whoever is 1 and 2, those would be the main cores of those team unless Sacto managed to acquire Melo without dealing Evans (and Sacto is a crappy place to live anyway… I’d prefer Denver), or NJ held Favors or Harris, or whatever the Knicks held onto developed… that’s if he’s traded, options might be more attractive as a free agent… maybe even gets himself on Orlando or NO or OKC or something.

    -Durant is also clearly better than Melo. Tim Duncan, Dirk. Bosh is better: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=boshch01&y1=2010&p2=anthoca01&y2=2010. I argue that Amare is more valuable. That’s 12 players right there. You could argue for KG, Rondo, Pierce, Roy, Nash, Gerald Wallace, Manu, Lee, Boozer, Bynum… He’s a borderline top 10-15 guy at best, but he’s going to lead a team to a championship as the top guy?
    Blake Griffin, Wall, Turner, Cousins, Splitter, etc. debut this year and have a shot to be elite. Young guys like Rose or most others repping USA in Turkey have a shot to improve. Some would even debate whether Melo is the most valuable player on his own team, since he plays with Billups and Nene having played previously with Camby.

    -I said that as Howard’s side-kick maybe he might win a championship. Rashard Lewis is a more efficient scorer, though, and they haven’t won together so it’s far from assured. CP3, maybe, depending on their front-court I would say. Durant and Melo would be pretty redundant, with Melo basically getting in Durant’s way. Kobe and Melo would also be redundant, though LA has a really strong team overall and would still contend strongly. LeBron, Wade, and Bosh seem unlikely to play with Melo anytime soon. Melo is probably going to need to be part of a team that’s really strong 1-7 to win a championship over the NBA’s elite teams. Or maybe an amazing defensive team where he’s their primary scorer.

  51. Real GM is reporting that the Nets are unwilling to offer Lopez for Melo, and are only offering Harris, Favors and draft picks. The Bulls are offering Deng and Gibson and the warriors may offer Curry, Biedrins and draft picks. Clippers may offer Kaman and Gordon.


    So let me analyze these offers:

    Nets – an average PG (even though the Nuggets don’t need another PG), a top 5 draft pick and future top 5 drafts picks.
    Bulls – an average but expensive swing man and a promising forward
    Warriors – a very good PG (Nuggets already set at this position) and an average but expensive forward/center
    Clippers – an average center and an average but promising shooting guard

    Yep. Makes sense for the Nets to hold out Lopez. Their offer beats all the offers on the table so far. And it beats anything the Knicks can offer. Maybe a done deal.

  52. Jafa: Now the Kings are in play: Why can we just get a clear bee line shot at a Superstar?Everybody seems to want who we want, and their cars look better than ours.Ugh!  

    Oh, and how pleased it makes this man! Let someone else overpay for the overhyped!

  53. @61,

    I agree. Let somebody else get stuck with him.


    I also agree, I just think you are underselling Carmelo Anthony. You said “Even 2nd best and I don’t like your chances,” which is where I disagree. If you put Melo in Dallas, Portland, San Antonio, or Utah, you’ve got a team that is a serious contender with Melo playing #2 to Dirk, Roy, Duncan, and D-Will. I do know that this is irrelevant, but Melo on a team where he is the 2nd option and not being swarmed to by opposing defenses, you have a pretty good team, maybe even great. That being said, I don’t think Melo will win as the go-to guy on a team, but a team’s chances with him as the #2 have to be pretty good.

  54. Jafa,

    Harris is average and Curry is very good?

    I would also be surprised if the Nets have a frontline of Lopez, Murphy, and Carmelo Anthony (along with other servicable rotation players like Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, Damion James, and maybe Terrence Williams) and end up with a top 5 pick.

    Doesn’t look like the Nuggets will be hurting if they trade Melo. The Bulls or maybe Clippers could get the better of the proposed deal, but the Nets and Warriors would risk overpaying for Carmelo. (As far as PGs, a Melo trade might kick off a mini-rebuild that ships out Billups for youth.) These are just rumors, though. Gallo/Randolph/Douglas would still be a comparable or better offer to/than any of these if Carmelo were a real superstar, but he’s not so the Knicks are better off not overpaying.

  55. massive,

    I never said that you can’t have a contender with Melo as your second best player (Denver made the Western Coference finals). I said that your chances of ever winning a title would be slim. I still feel that way. The teams you mention would win 50-60 games, but I seriously doubt they’d be better than the Lakers or Heat. Maybe SA, but that’s already a contender. Maybe Boston, but you can say the same again.

    Also want to point out that my initial comments came in the context of teams rumored to be making runs at trading for Carmelo Anthony.

    The problem with putting Carmelo on a team with a premier perimeter scorer or a team with several very good scoring options is that he’ll get crowded out. Put him on a strong & balanced team and he’s also not going to be able to hi-jack the offense and score 30 ppg, which takes away some of his value.

    I did specifically say that if you built a really strong, balanced team 1-7 or put Melo with the dominant bigman in basketball you’d have a decent shot at a ring. These are the exact two strategies the Lakers have used with Kobe: current team is strong and balanced, previous was with Shaq. They’ve won a ton of rings with him and two other Finals appearances. Kobe is still better than Melo.

    Take San Antonio: First, he wouldn’t be their second best player. TD and Manu are better.
    Manu is a more efficient scorer than Melo. Parker is about as efficient. Duncan is about as efficient or a bit more. RJ is about as efficient. George Hill is more efficient. Splitter has a good chance to be more efficient given his shot selection (mostly dunks and post-ups). Blair is slightly more efficient. What does Melo bring to the table for the Spurs? Why is having him take shots instead of guys who score as efficiently or more efficiently going to help them? They would probably be better served with an elite defensive wing than a high-volume, medium efficiency scorer.
    Also, how do the Spurs acquire Melo? Maybe a 3-way trade involving Parker, in which case they’ve got no real playmaker. Might also have to give up another asset on top of Parker, but maybe not.

    Melo would be an upgrade over Caron Butler or Shawn Marion, but I’m not as high on Dallas as others. I still wouldn’t like their chances of beating a healthy Lakers team or Heat team. Would also still put some other outside contenders like SA, Boston, Orlando, maybe Phoenix right on their level. Very deep team, though, with good balance. If Melo were their #2 player, they’d have several other players of comparable value in their own roles including Kidd (premier playmaker, much improved scorer), Chandler (interior defense and rebounding), Terry (elite bench player), Beaubois showed a lot of promise. Carmelo’s PER and/or WS/48 put him right in the same neighborhood as those guys.
    Again, what are they trading for him? Beaubois for sure. And… is Denver going for Butler when they have better offers on the table?

    Portland could be interesting. I don’t know what they give up to get Melo (hopefully Aldridge for their sake). Roy, Melo, Batum, and Bayless might all complement each other as a perimeter rotation, though I assume Batum and/or Bayless would be needed in the trade. If Oden can stay healthy I would see Portland as a serious contender, but until that time not really. Aldridge hurts their chances in my book, also.

    I wouldn’t love Utah’s chances. Deron Williams and Melo are pretty close in my opinion. Both are perennial All-Stars, but neither is an elite player. What else do they really have outside of AK? Okur, Millsap, and Gordan Hayward… Melo would replace Boozer and keep them in contention. However, in the unlikely event that it happened that would be one of the worst teams to win a championship ever… maybe the worst.

    When you consider what a high percentage of NBA championships have been won by a team with a truly incredible player… even what percentage have been won with 2 First Team All-NBA type performers… it becomes very hard to envision winning a championship with a guy who is only top 15-20-ish unless you pair him with a top 3-5 guy or a deep rotation with several guys around the same level.

  56. Also… with both Dallas and SA, what’s your realistic window?

    Dirk is actually not THAT old for a big guy, but he’s not getting younger either. Kidd is ancient though. Terry is old for a 6 foot player. If you didn’t win in the next 3 tries, what are your chances after that? Would likely have to be a pretty rearranged roster.

    Duncan and Manu aren’t getting younger. As a PG who relies heavily on quickness Parker may or may not age fast (something the Knicks really have to consider if he’s a 2011 target). RJ is hitting 30. Blair (with his own knee concerns), Splitter (who has to transition to the NBA), and Hill (a combo-guard) are good young pieces, but haven’t yet proven that they’re core guys on a championship team. Again, best case your window probably closes in 3 years.

  57. This is a collateral issue but I’ve this said several times here: player X is more efficient than ‘Melo. Now when you compare apples to apples, fine but otherwise (Splitter brought it up) it’s of no relevance. It comes off intentionally or otherwise as if efficiency and where the shot is taken have nothing to do with each other. It could very well be that Mr. less efficient is actually more efficient at shots from everywhere on the court than Mr. more efficient but because he takes more shots from less efficient areas he comes of as less efficient. Now part of that is smart shot selection but not all of it. After all all 5 guys cannot stand under the basket for putbacks or dive to the basket and thus take shots that the league shhots @ .800. We might need to compare apples to apples or at least concede that every possession doesn’t afford the opportunity for a dunk, layup or uncontested sub ten foot shot and there is a need for players that have a degree of efficiency the non-easy shots. (Ted I know you will find a stat showing that Melo is 22/38 in the league on shots out of five feet and with 5 seconds or les son the clock :-).) Sorry for the rambling incoherent post.

  58. Just goes to show you how what the golden girls did has truly changed the game in an unprecedented way. Having three top 5 players in their prime is truly unheard of. You could argue that Bosh has seriously overachieved in a contract year and is merely a top 10 player in reality… or that Wade, despite being the 2nd best player in the entire league could be on the decline shortly. But just having between 5-7 great years of LBJ and Bosh (if they re-sign again) plus what you have to figure will be 3-4 great/good years of Wade is, in fact, mind boggling. Could probably rank right there with the Showtime Lakers.
    In any other season, talk about getting Melo would be relatively unquestioned, but considering the new goal is to somehow instantly create a dynasty, this decision now gets put under a big microscope.

  59. @67 I think you can do more than argue Bosh is not a top 5 player… I think LeBron, Kobe, Wade, CP3, Howard, and Durant are decidedly better. He’s certainly very good and a coup for the Heat but I don’t think his legacy will be greater (“unprecedented) than Big Game James Worthy or Robert Parish as a 3rd fiddle.

    I think it’s also highly questionable to say Wade in 2nd best, HOWEVER I agree LeBron and Wade are uniquely great 1-2 punch. But they are also somewhat redundant in that they are non-point guard perimeter players with very good passing skills (though both will prob. be able to adjust). I might prefer Shaq/Kobe, Jordan/Pippen because for that reason even though they are not necessarily a better pair.

    I’m prob. still a little bitter…

  60. ess-dog,

    It’s an interesting point overall, but I think you’re exaggerating. Bosh is not top 5. Wade is not #2 in terms of production (Dwight Howard, a healthy Chris Paul, possibly Durant this season), only hype. Does seem somewhat unprecedented as a Big 3, at least in the modern era. What are even the competitors? Jordan-Pippen-Rodman wasn’t at all bad, nor KG-Pierce-Allen (older though). Duncan-Manu-Parker and Kobe-Pau-Bynum are probably underrated since both Manu and Bynum seem generally underrated. Of course the big 4 of Marbury-Crawford-Randolph-Curry will probably never be matched…

    I still think you’d have to ask the exact same questions about Melo any season. He’s just not a superstar in terms of production. He’s a perennial All-Star, but he’s not in the NBA’s top tier.

    Nick C.,

    With the Spurs specifically the larger point was that just about every guy in their rotation is as efficient as or more efficient than Melo. Regardless of their role. Either whoever is taking the shots Melo would take is as efficient or more efficient, or the offense just doesn’t take those forced mid-range shots for which he’s famous. Since he doesn’t bring a whole bunch outside his scoring, I question how valuable he’d be to the Spurs.

    The only obvious exception to this I can think of would be if one guy takes nothing but long mid-range shots right in front of the 3-pt line, then he’s very unlikely to be efficient (low % without the extra point, not much chance to get fouled). You can’t really argue that this is a valuable role, though, because if the team just replaced that guy with a strong 3-pt shooter they could turn those inefficient mid-range shots into more efficient 3-pt attempts.

    Jump shooting does not doom you to poor efficiency. Plenty of other guys play the same position as Melo, take as high a % jump shots (only 63%), and score more efficiently. Melo is just not a very good jump shooter. There are apples to apples comparisons of guys who are more efficient. There are also apples to apples comparisons of guys who are as efficient or less efficient, but bring more value to the court in other ways (playmaking, defense, rebounding…).
    One way Melo could increase his efficiency pretty easily is to take less jump shots… take less shots overall and the ones he cuts out as jumpers. As long as he’s been in the league, though, the chances of him changing his stripes aren’t great.

    I tend to agree that we should compare apples to apples. Certainly at times a team may have to compare apples to oranges: do they draft/trade-for/sign a PG or C with equal opportunity to acquire either… And fans are naturally going to want to compare apples to oranges as well. I don’t know what the statistical distribution of TS% is for each position, let alone each general role within an offense. At the top of the league, though, there are guys at every position who manage to score a high volume very efficiently. Since in this case we’re talking about Melo being or not being a guy who can lead a team to a championship, those are the apples we’re really comparing him to: LeBron, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Durant… MJ, Shaq, Duncan, etc.

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to say “that guy’s efficiency suffers because his role is…” “to shoot outside” or “to bang inside with the big guys” but the unspoken truth there is that those guys are a bad jump shooter and a bad post-up player. They might be the best option available to that team or a guy who helps the team win, but there are better players out there. I’m not arguing Melo is a bad player by any means, I said he may be top 15-20 in the league, but we’re talking about whether he can be a huge cog on an NBA champion. Certainly HE CAN, I’m just saying I don’t think it’s likely (either the hugest cog would have to be enormous LeBron/Howard style good, or there would have to be a lot of big cogs). He’s a valuable player, but there are more valuable guys out there. Under the right circumstances I would like the Knicks to acquire him, I’m just hesitant for them to trade the whole farm for him.

    Splitter’s been one of the best players outside the NBA for a few years. I don’t know if he’ll be a star in the NBA, but he is excellent on the pick-and-roll and has a good post-up game. He had no problem scoring on Lamar Odom, who isn’t a bad defensive 4 in the NBA. While Splitter will have a very different role than Carmelo, I’m guessing people will be surprised at how good he is at his role.

  61. Z-man,

    Don’t forget it’s Ivory Coast (Jerome Jordan also looked good against mid-majors), but I agree. I think Timo’s absolutely a contender for a rotation spot. You have to expect the mental lapses and fouls, but he’s too big/athletic and good at what he’s good at (dunking, rebounding, pick-and-rolling, being big/athletic…) not to be in play for some minutes. Between he, Turiaf, Amare, and maybe Randolph the Knicks are as set at the 5 as they’ve been at least since the start of the Curry-era (which is saying nothing, but I think they’re solidly set).

  62. wow Ted you said what I wanted to in a much more coherent way and answered my questions such as they were re: Melo.

  63. @72
    Agree re: the 5 position. What I like most about Timo is that he seems to have a real fire in his belly, like he’s alert and always looking to do something on both ends. Physically he seems similar to Darko (and maybe superior to, i.e. bigger, stronger, faster) , and he has some of the same strengths and weaknesses, so I am optimistic that he can be at least as good as him w/o the negativity and the “drafted #2” baggage. Jordan looked much more raw (physically and skill-wise) during summer league than Timo does here in the Worlds (I think the comp level is higher there than in Vegas, even considering Ivory Coast; Timo looked pretty good vs. PR and Turkey as well, or at least he didn’t embarrass himself, and the wider lane probably affects him somewhat). Jerome couldn’t even set a screen without blatantly moving.

  64. I know we must be optimistic about Timo. He’s having a nice WC

    But he doesn’t look like a good rebounder at all.

    11 rebounds in more than 60 minutes.

    That’s like 5.9 per 36

    Curry would be proud. Lol

    I know, small sample. Don’t shoot me.

  65. MSA,

    It’s also not a huge sample size, but in 09-10 Euroleague he had 10.7 reb/36 (65 in 218 minutes, 4.1 off and 6.6 defensive). 08-09 Eurocup he had 13.2 reb/36 (again very strong offensively in a 207 minute sample). I would guess that’s more indicative of his ability since it’s a larger sample and in a real team atmosphere. I don’t know if it works with Europe or not, but rebounding translates really well from college to the NBA.


    Z-man: Also, the Curry era hasn’t officially ended, has it?!  

    Funny that he’s gone from 1st to maybe 5th string.

    I was just using Jordan as an example, I agree he’s really raw. In the NBA Timo’s not going to get to the basket (or do anything else) as easily as he did against Cote D’Ivoire… that was my only point.

    Darko might be a good medium-case. Timo does seem more explosive to me, though. At this point probably rawer too.

  66. I was doing some stat trolling with the goal of analyzing the possible Melo trades. Obviously the key is determining which guy to part with, Gallo or Randolph, or whether to pass completely rather than lose either of these two (nothing else would get the trade done, no?).

    Re: Gallo, the more I looked at the stats, the more that I think that Gallo will resemble Rashard Lewis more than anyone else in the league right now. Gallo’s stats last year are pretty similar to Lewis’s in his 21yo year (his 3rd season) although Lewis has the edge. What’s interesting is that in Lewis’s subsequent seasons, his stats actually looked more like Gallo’s than earlier in his career, although it’s hard to say he regressed. Lewis was consistently better at rebounding, which probably accounts for the difference in PER, but less so in his 4th,5th and 6th seasons. So, in judging Gallo’s trade value, it’s probably fair to ask whether Melo is worth Lewis at 22, plus EC’s expiring and a late first rounder.

    Re: Randolph, he is harder to gauge, but Mike K’s similarity scores and my own less formal analysis have him turning out something like a cross between Marcus Camby and Lamar Odom (who was widely panned as a young player because of his supposed low basketball IQ.) So, is what you gain from Melo worth losing a 22yo Odom/Camby hybrid (not as good on O as Odom, nor as good on D as Camby, but possibly better at both than either) plus the EC expiring plus the mid-late 1st rounder?

    In any case, it is pretty easy for me to see that Melo is not worth both a young Rashard Lewis and a young Camby/Odom hybrid, so under no circumstances would I trade both before getting a good look and deciding that neither is as good as the above scenarios paint them. Even trading one of them on the blind is tricky and could have diminishing returns when the cap implications are factored in. There’s also the outside possibility that both turn out to be even better than the above comparisons. If we sit tight and focus on a stud guard via FA, that might be the way to go unless Melo waits until next summer to come here, which might be best for him anyway if he really wants to win a championship in NY.

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