The whole NBA has been watching the Carmelo saga with varying degrees of interest. The Bulls aren't involved as they don't have the pieces Denver wants, and Carmelo doesn't seem particularly interested in heading to the windy city either despite the dead on accurate sources of jerseychaser.com.
Still, the situation has interesting implications on the Eastern conference as Melo appears to be heading out East no matter what. In fact, it appears that there are three possible scenarios left that can take place.
Carmelo and Chauncey head to the Nets for Favors and four first round draft picks with Murphy being absorbed by a third team
The big winner: Denver
Denver enters this situation as the team most likely to be screwed. Afterall, they're losing a franchise player, but this trade will land them a good draft pick this year, and I'm not convinced that the Nets even with Melo are a playoff team next season. They could easily get multiple good picks from this deal plus a legit great prospect in Favors even if he hasn't set the world on fire so far.
It might not all add up to Carmelo Anthony in terms of value, but given the hand they have it's a massive win for them.
Kissing their sister: New Jersey
The Nets get their man, and it does give them a star player to build around, but they'll have spent so much to get him that they won't have a lot to build around in the future. Look for Melo to ultimately be unhappy an for New Jersey to improve from bottom feeder to mediocrity with this move.
Kissing their sister part 2: New York
Giving that Melo clearly wants to go here, and they could pay him in the summer if he makes it to free agency, the Knicks would appear to be a big loser here. However, Paul, Williams, and Howard await in free agency in 2012. The Knicks will likely lure one of those stars to the big apple if they don't get Melo now, and I like all three more than Melo.
It does set the Knicks back a year and given Amare's health, a year could be big, but they could ultimately have a better team for avoiding Melo rather than getting him.
Loser: Carmelo Anthony
The Nets will be even worse than Denver, and the East will be a tougher conference than the West over the next five years. His odds of having any success in the playoffs seem to be almost none to me after this trade.
He will get his money, but he would have been better off just staying with the Nuggets and taking the money. He'll eventually end up in Brooklyn and maybe that has some value to him, but my guess is if he accepts this trade he'll ultimately regret it.
The Knicks and Nuggets work out a deal centered around Felton, Galinari, Chandler, and Curry for Melo
The Big Winner: No one really.
The Winner: Carmelo Anthony gets what he thinks he wants. He'll have the money and the big city, but he won't have a great chance to win. It will be better than with New Jersey, but the Knicks will have few assets to improve afterwards. Dreams of Paul ending up in New York a year later are simply dreams. The Knicks will have no assets left to trade and no cap room to sign him.
Kissing their sister: All three teams
The Knicks will have added their second star, but they'll have no cast or assets. The Knicks might be able add a star simply by being patient, but the threat of a franchise tag has to leave them nervous as it could stop Williams, Paul, and Howard from hitting free agency a year later.
The Nets will take a big PR hit for not being able to pull this deal off, and they're already looking pretty desperate after seeing what they're willing to give up to get Anthony. That said, they're probably not any worse off missing out on Anthony at the price tag he's running.
The Nuggets at least get something for Anthony, but they won't save as much money as with the Nets deal, and the prospects they get from New York will all need extensions soon making them not tremendously value as they'll have to be market value players soon rather than cheap rookie contracts. Also, none of them really have tremendous upside.
Melo heads to free agency and signs with New York in the off season
The big winner: New York
The Knicks get Anthony and get to keep all their assets. In this scenario, the Knicks actually improve considerably and can possibly make a run with the best teams in the East.
Also, Anthony costs them far less on the cap and it gives them more hope to be able to make something happen with Chris Paul or Deron Williams a year later, though a reduced cap still makes that a long shot.
Kissing their sister: Carmelo Anthony
He gets the team, the chance to win, and the location, but he might lose 30 million dollars. If he's been somewhat smart with his money, the improvement in location and winning might actually be worth the money to him, but it's still potentially a massive chunk of change to be left on the table.
Kissing their sister part 2: New Jersey
The Nets, like mentioned above, are probably no worse off for losing out on Anthony because of the huge price they'd need to pay to get him though they do lose some face.
The big loser: Denver
Denver ends up with nothing to show for Carmelo and lose him for nothing. Obviously it's a big blow to the franchise to not get anything back for him.
What actually happens from here will be interesting to see. It's hard to see Anthony ending up in New Jersey, because he has some say over whether he signs the extension and ultimately I think that's the worst situation for him. In fact, the only way this makes sense to me is if Denver refuses to sign him to an extension due to the drama at this point and New Jersey is the only team left where he can get the money
There's always a chance that this goes to free agency because someone's
ego is too big. However given that Denver gets nothing and Melo loses a
ton of money, this also doesn't seem too likely to me.
The trade scenario with New York seems like the most likely to me still. I don't think Anthony wants to sacrifice the money to head to New York in free agency, and ultimately, I think New York feels enough pressure to get something done now rather than patience to wait. The potential of a franchise tag has to weigh heavily as it would completely screw over any backup plan they have.