LeBron James? He whistled, as in “wooooo,” as in “that’s a tough one.”
While three of the league’s most coveted free agents tucked securely and comfortably in Miami, their former Olympic teammate, who followed a different contractual path, remains in limbo in Denver. And just think, had Carmelo Anthony only listened to Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron back when …
Well, he didn’t. For reasons that he can’t even sufficiently explain, ‘Melo signed a 4-year deal while the others went for three. They had talked about going short-term on their next contract, and riding out free agency, and making their teams squirm, and shaking the foundation of the NBA at its core, and possibly even — get this — hooking up on the same team and collecting more rings combined than their idols. Three of them went one way, ‘Melo another.
They’re whooping it up right now, squealing like kids at summer camp. He’s grinning and bearing it in a Nuggets uniform, not quite sure where he’s headed.
So, the question is, will ‘Melo ever get his own Miami Heat situation?
An NBA general manager told me that ‘Melo will not agree to a contract extension with the Nuggets or any team, which essentially kills most if not all chances of Melo being traded. No GM in his right mind would trade for ‘Melo, give up assets, and then possibly lose him next summer to free agency. It’s not about money, since Melo will get the max from whatever team wants him. It’s about bringing ‘Melo to a potential championship team to make it all worthwhile. And Melo understands any team that trades for him will be weakened, perhaps considerably, by giving up assets in a trade. He might not like what that team looks like by next July.
So apparently, he’ll wait. Why sign up for four years with a team that’ll lose assets in any trade, and spend most of those four years in a rebuilding process? Instead, he can join the Nets next summer and have Derrick Favors as a teammate, rather than play with Brook Lopez and a roster of filler material.
But what about the labor agreement? Wouldn’t ‘Melo lose millions? Well, what’s a million or two to a player who has already made millions, and his next contract (and the one after that) will be worth millions more? No matter what the labor landscape will look like in the next labor deal, superstars will get paid. Superstars are exempt from any strife, when it comes to labor contracts.
You get the feeling ‘Melo wants a LeBron-Bosh-Wade situation for himself, or close enough, and he’s willing to be patient and allow it to happen. He had the chance to do that this past summer, had he followed the original plan, and he blew it. He doesn’t want to blow it again.