Carmelo Anthony is still a Nugget. And it’s doubtful that he’s going anywhere before Dec. 15, when players that were signed as free agents this summer are eligible to be traded. He may stay in Denver well beyond that, but at that point, the Nuggets will have 24 games worth of data to determine where they stand in the Western Conference, and they’ll have more options if they decide they need to make a deal.
But that doesn’t mean that there will be nothing written about possible Anthony trades in the next few weeks. In fact, there’s bound to be plenty written in the next few days, because the New York media, in search of a quote that will tease their readers, is visiting Denver twice this week.
The Nuggets host the Knicks tonight (9 p.m. ET, League Pass) and the Nets on Saturday. Both teams, of course, have been long rumored to be potential trade partners with the Nuggets or (at least in the Knicks’ case) potential destinations for Anthony in free agency next summer.
Anthony hasn’t signed an extension and there have been plenty of reports that he wants out of Denver, but his quotes on the subject thus far have been rather cryptic.
The latest is this one, as blogged by Alan Hahn of Newsday…
“You’re up and down, fast-paced and you get extra possessions in the game,” Anthony said, when speaking of Mike D’Antoni‘s system. “On the flip side, I’ve been on teams where we weren’t known for our defense, and that’s not something I want to ever deal with again.”
The funny thing about that quote? As they stand now, the Knicks rank 11th in the league defensively, allowing 103.4 points per 100 possessions, and the Nuggets rank 13th, allowing 104.2.
Of course, we’re looking at small sample sizes here. Each team has played just 10 games, the Nuggets numbers are greatly skewed by that thrashing they received in Indiana last week, and the Knicks have played some awful offensive teams. Further, the Nuggets are missing two of their best defenders, Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin.
Denver has been a top-10 defensive team four of the last six seasons, while New York has been a bottom-seven defensive team seven of the last eight. And at best, D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix were slightly above average defensively.
This year, as they’ve lost five straight, the Knicks’ issues have been more on the offensive end of the floor, where they currently rank 23rd and have been held to just 96.1 points per 100 possessions during the streak.
Either way, D’Antoni’s seat on the bench is starting to warm up. The Knicks aren’t as bad a team as they’ve looked over the last 10 days, but it’s still unclear if D’Antoni can push a team that lacks offensive talent to the postseason.