Before Ben Simmons at the Sixers and James Harden at the Rockets then at the Nets, there was Carmelo Anthony at the Nuggets…
At the height of the 2010/11 season, the Super star Denver wants to leave Colorado to find Amar’e Stoudemire at the Knicks. He wants to play at his home in New York, and this soap opera will hold in suspense – but also annoy – the press and the fans for several weeks. So much so that we will talk about… “Melodrama”.
Even if the Nets are on the spot, it is finally the Knicks who set up a very complex exchange, also involving the Wolves, and it is not less than 13 players (!) who change teams, to allow Carmelo Anthony to join the Big Apple.
At the time, this “trade” equaled the record for the number of players involved in a transfer.
— Arrivals : Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Kosta Koufos, a 1st Draft round (from 2014), two 2nd Draft rounds (2012, 2013), 3 million dollars.
— Departures : Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman.
— Arrivals : Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, Corey Brewer.
— Departures : Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov.
— Arrivals : Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, a 2nd round Draft (2015), 3 million dollars.
— Departures : Kostas Koufos, Corey Brewer.
As we can see, the Knicks lost big to get the country boy back and, in the end, they will never be rewarded for it. Because, even if the team achieves correct seasons with Carmelo Anthony, it does not get involved in the race for the title as imagined. Both because of the Heat, version “Three Amigos”, but also because of the repeated injuries of Amar’e Stoudemire and questionable sporting choices, in the offices, on the bench or on the floor.
On arrival, the record of the “Melo” era in New York is meager, with 196 wins for 216 losses in the regular season, three small playoff campaigns (for 7 wins and 14 losses) and only one lap.
Not to mention a broken hand against a fire extinguisher for “Stoud’” and a Mike D’Antoni who never manages to reason with Carmelo Anthony. In short, it’s a failure all along the line and the New York franchise had to wait eight years, from 2013 to 2021, before returning to the playoffs!
Melo gone, Denver is having its best season!
On the other hand, the Nuggets are doing much better, finishing the 2010/11 fiscal year with 50 wins and 32 losses, the 5th best record in the West. The following season, they made the best start in their history, thanks to a great Danilo Gallinari.
Unfortunately, the Italian is fragile and Denver is losing its luster. The leaders of Colorado then decide to rejuvenate their workforce, with the arrival of JaVale McGee, in exchange for Nenê. The teammates of Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington or even Kenneth Faried are scratching hairs in their conference, and they are also pushing Kobe Bryant’s Lakers to play Game 7, in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.
And the Nuggets’ 2012/13 season was simply exceptional, with 57 regular season wins (the best record in their history) and the title of “Coach of the year” for George Karl. With OKC and San Antonio, Denver thus becomes a legitimate candidate for the title in the West, but they cross paths with the young Warriors, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and David Lee.
Their elimination in the first round will immediately put an end to the Karl era. The Colorado franchise will then have to wait for the arrivals of Michael Malone and especially Nikola Jokic to finally revive, reaching the playoffs again in 2019…