HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — And you thought we were crazy for carrying on about Carmelo Anthony on Episode 26 of the Hang Time Podcast with Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc J. Spears.
We are certainly not crazy.
Despite the relative silence on the topic in Denver, Anthony’s name remains the hottest thing going in the Tri-State area (both the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks believe they have a shot to land him).
We understand that you’ve heard all this before about the Nets and Knicks — Free Agent Summer 2010, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc. — and their supposed pursuit of a big fish or two to swim in the water surrounding those areas.
Seriously, every little move being made by the Nets and Knicks these days is interpreted as a means to acquiring Anthony, who has done his best to stay mum on his future since training camp began.
— Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, two of the most well-respected writers in the business, have made it clear that their sources indicate neither the Nuggets nor the Nets have given up hope on something being worked out in the future.
— Mike D’Antoni‘s 11-man rotation in New York? According to Marc Berman of the New York post it’s all about showcasing young talent for a potential deal for Anthony:
D’Antoni first mentioned the 11-man concept in Milan. And as he left Paris, it’s still in play. D’Antoni said he wants to press and run so fiercely, he needs bodies. The skeptical view is no eight-man unit has stood out, and they are showcasing guys for a Carmelo Anthony trade.
“We can play a lot of guys,” D’Antoni said. “We’re going to have to press, run and use more guys this year because they can obviously play.”
None of this news shifts the focus in Denver, of course, where the main issue remains Anthony’s desire to either remain with the franchise that drafted him or move on. There has been no definitive public statement touching that topic from Anthony or anyone associated with him.
But while we’ve been down on the Nuggets here at the hideout (nothing malicious, mind you, we just feel like they as presently constituted they do not strike us as a contender in the Western Conference anymore), there remains cautious optimism surrounding this team in Colorado.
I went to the intrasquad game in Broomfield the other night and was very impressed. I told Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke, the new kingpins of the Nuggets, “You take this team and add K-Mart and Birdman, and you’re better than you were two years ago. But you’ve got to have that guy sitting over there.”
That guy was No. 15, Melo. J.R. Smith, Ty Lawson, Al Harrington and Chris Andersen coming off the bench are stronger than an on-time rent check. Talk about energy, offense and a new, improved Lawson. I talked to both Andersen and Martin. They’re both antsy, but are doing the right thing. The Nuggets need them after Christmas, down the stretch and in the playoffs, not now, not at the beginning of the season …
George Karl is slimmer and healthier looking. He has been playing golf with his son. Carmelo and I talked briefly. He is handling all of this very well. Here’s what I get: He’d be happy to play for the Nuggets this season, despite all the talk, and the longer he spends with these players, the more he is convinced they have a chance to be very good once the full roster is available. The more he hears about a hard salary cap possibility, the more likely he will sign the extension.
The Nuggets have backed off all trade talks and are hoping he’ll sign. That deal with the Nets will be there next week, next month, in February, no matter what you might read. So if all fails, the Nuggets have that trade as a backup plan.
Harrington is going to be a big-time scorer on this team early in the season. Nene looks good. And Gary Forbes, the invitee, will make this team. Lawson will take another big step. And J.R. is J.R. But we have to see how the Melo thing plays out.