Monday, September 3, 2012

The NBA, the Nuggets, Carmelo, and the 2011 Trade Deadline

Never in my life did I believe that the NBA would intrigue me so much. I’ve never been a huge NBA fan, I mean, I’ll watch the occasional game, check out, but I never have done fantasy basketball. I’ve just never been that interested in basketball. I’ve always thought it was way too high scoring, and because the players are basically scoring every time they go down the court, I’ve always thought the NBA to be a little bit boring. And I always liked how in college and high school, there is a student fan base that is rowdy as hell (and sometimes a little bit, as a cheer at my high school goes, raunchy) and just makes the game better for everyone involved. In the NBA, there is just no feeling like the one you get at a college game. So, I’ve distanced myself from basketball, and just, basically, haven’t cared about it at all.
I’ve always had a team, though. The Nuggets have always been my team. Even though I cheer for New England teams in baseball and football, for some reason, I’ve always stayed home when it comes to basketball. I’m not exactly sure why, it’s probably because I’m from Colorado, but I’ve always been intrigued by the Nugs. I love learning sports history and learning about how they were the Denver Rockets and then changed to the Nuggets and made the jump to the NBA from the ABA is just awesome. I also love learning about important people in the history of the franchise, like Kiki Vandeweghe, David Thompson, Dan Issel, Coach Larry Brown, Alex English, Coach Doug Moe, Dikembe Mutombo, Antonio McDyess, and of course Chauncey Billups among many others. Denver is just the only NBA team that has ever gotten me interested in basketball. When they traded for Allen Iverson in December 2006, I was watching ESPN like a hawk. When they made the Western Conference Finals in 2009 and almost beat the Lakers, no one could have been able to tell that I wasn’t a huge NBA fan.
            But this year, in 2011, a story caught my attention and kept it all the way through this current season. No, it’s not Lebron. I actually hate him, he’s way too selfish. I mean an hour long special where he says that he’s going to Miami? C’mon, man. No one should be able to do that. The story as any reader of this could probably guess was that of one Carmelo Anthony. The story that Carmelo wanted out of Denver started during the offseason. And obviously, since Melo is from New York, the Knicks and the Nets were the first two teams anyone thought had a chance at landing Melo.  When I heard the title Melo Drama for this situation, I laughed and thought that it was perfect for this. Throughout the season, the Nuggets were basically fed distraction after distraction through this Melo Drama. As the season went on and on, the rumors just got wilder and wilder. One day it was the Knicks, the next the Nets, after that the Lakers, and even the Rockets got in on the Melo trade drama. I would look at ESPN, both on television and the internet, and just be amazed by what team was rumored to be in on the trade that day. When I thought it really got out of hand was when installed the Melo Slot Machine, which was a good idea, but the actual thing was pretty boring and made little since. I guess it was like underwater basket weaving. An intriguing idea, but if it was watched or done, it would just be boring. When the All-Star Break finally came around, I wasn’t sure if anything was going to happen. Talks had calmed down, and with the trade deadline only a few days away, it was looking more and more likely that Carmelo would sign the $65 million extension with the Nuggets. But of course, as with baseball, as soon as the trade deadline nears, talks pick up.
            As soon as I thought that this whole thing was over, I looked at and realized the truth. This was far from over. I saw that both the Knicks and the Nets had meetings with Carmelo in LA during the break. Those announcements made me think that something was bound to happen in the next few days during the break. Lo and behold something did. The Nuggets traded Melo to the New York Knicks. Honestly, when I heard that Melo got traded, I was like most other Nugget fans, just happy it was over. The Nuggets traded Melo, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks’ 2014 first-round pick, and second round picks in 2012 and 2013. Let’s analyze this trade (or just basically question parts of it).
            My first question, and this has to be the one that all Nuggets fans are asking, is WHY trade CHAUNCEY FREAKING BILLUPS? There really was no reason to trade Chauncey. It’s not like he wanted out of Denver. It’s actually quite the opposite. He wanted to stay in Denver. He’s from Denver, went to George Washington High School in Denver and played for the Buffs in Boulder. I just want to know, why trade him if he wants to spend the rest of his career in Colorado? It just doesn’t make any sense in my mind. I really would like to know what the Nugget officials who made this trade were thinking when they sent the person who was already playing in his hometown with the guy who wanted to go and play with his. Hopefully, when Chauncey’s contract expires in two years, he’ll come home again.  Either that or find a way to trade with the Knicks and get him back. Denver is where he wants to be and the people of Denver want Chauncey Billups on the Nuggets.
            My other comment on this trade is about the acquisition of Raymond Felton. The Nuggets already had on former Tar Heel point guard in Ty Lawson. But they went and got the other national championship winning North Carolina point guard. I find this really, really interesting. I will love being able to follow the battle between the two former Heels and see who eventually wins the starting point guard spot for the Nugs. Hey, since the Nuggets want some North Carolina players, why not trade for Tyler Hansbrough when the season ends? Hey, if they could win together in college, who’s saying they couldn’t do the same in the pros?
            There was another trade that utterly surprised me. That was the trade of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson from the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. I was not expecting the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics to make a move, especially of two players that could really help them come playoff time. I guess that the Celtics wanted to start the process of finding Paul Pierce’s replacement, since Pierce’s years are very quickly coming to an end. Other than that, it was a ho-hum NBA Trade Deadline… (Sweet, I can get a ‘90s joke in here) NOT! There were many other trades around the league that will shape the league for years to come, most notably the trade of Deron Williams to the Nets from the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors. With everything that has happened recently, maybe this NBA skeptic can actually start watching and enjoying the sport of basketball at the professional level.   

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