Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
The ‘Melo deal: Who/what comes out the big loser in all that maneuvering?
[Editor’s note: That question, and the following answers, were submitted before the Nets’ stunning deal to get Deron Williams from Utah on Wednesday.]
David Aldridge: Gotta be Jersey. The Big Russian has swung and missed at LeBron, STAT, Boozer and now Anthony, and has to put all of his eggs in the 2012 free agent basket. Big gamble. Prokhorov could well get the last laugh; with a hard cap he may wind up with two or three stars for a fraction of what his opponents have had to pay in the past year. But that’s way too much iffin’ for anyone to feel comfortable with, having to sell season tickets and suites for Brooklyn in early 2012–before those free agents commit. The Nets may be forced to overpay, either via trade or free agency, to get the first star in place, and hope the dominoes fall their way later.
Steve Aschburner: New Jersey got spun around and turned inside out by all the maneuvering for Anthony. Loved Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov went he drew his stern line in the sand – somebody had to stop, or at least stall, the madness at that point – but his line was just that: sand. His team got involved again and ultimately just expedited the deal that delivered Anthony to New York. The fallout – how rattled some Nets players got by all the speculation – undercut whatever they were hoping to accomplish this season on the court.
Fran Blinebury: Don’t know that anyone came out “a big loser,” unless you count fans in cities other than NY, LA, Miami & Chicago, who have to be feeling like they are living in mere bus stations that the superstars will pass through on the way to their destinations. While the earlier Nets deal that was on the table was better, the Nuggets eventually got a decent package in return for Carmelo. The Knicks didn’t lose, but to mix sports metaphors, they didn’t hit a home run either.
Art Garcia: The ‘Melo Man is getting what he wanted all along, the big money and the bigger stage of Broadway. Denver gets some nice young pieces and usable draft picks to rebuild with, and just as importantly avoids the embarrassing fate of Cleveland and Toronto. The ones getting it in the shorts now, as they have for the last seven months, are those too often are forgotten in all of this. Nuggets fans today feel like it’s been a wasted season. Not only did they lose a franchise player — those don’t come around too often — they also had a hometown favorite (Chauncey Billups) get snatched away. Less than two years ago they were tearing the lid off the Pepsi Can in the Western Conference finals. Cheering on ping-pong balls can’t be as fun.