Carmelo On The Move, Trying To Beat The Heat.

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With a 3 year, $65 million deal on the table for the past month, the Denver Nugget’s star forward Carmelo Anthony has been relatively quiet.  With the absence of a General Manager for the organization, the situation will likely remain unresolved until one is hired.  All indications are that Anthony wants out of Denver, and it now becomes a matter of not ‘if’, but ‘when’?

Where To?

Having learned from the free agency situation this past summer, the Nuggets will look to deal him to get value for their forward instead of watching him walk away for nothing.  He may be dealt this summer, pending the GM search, or sometime during the season before the trade deadline.  The chatter is that Carmelo wants to end up on the East Coast.  He grew up in Baltimore and played for Syracuse University, making the Knicks or Nets possible destinations if he wants to remain close to home.  He has also indicated that teams such as Chicago, Houston, and Orlando are on his list of favorable destinations.  By him switching rosters from the Western to Eastern Conference, it will definitely shake up the league.  The question then becomes, will it be enough to beat Miami in a 7 game series?  Hypothetically, Lets find out for some of those teams.

Chicago:

Word on the trade front with Chicago is that the Bulls are offering SF Luol Deng.  In  terms of value, that may be the best the Nuggets can get in return to fill his position at forward.  If Carmelo joins the Bulls, he will be surrounded by 2 all-stars in Derrick Rose at point and Carlos Boozer in the post.  Joakim Noah played like a perennial all-star last year and Taj Gibson is solid, developing talent down low.  Kyle Korver on the perimeter is a great addition and Ronnie Brewer gives them a little bit more size on the wing.  In my opinion. Carmelo fits in seamlessly with this team.  He adds another dimension to this offense with his knack for scoring one on one. He would become their half court ‘go to’ player.    Anthony loves to cherry pick, and Boozer could find him on the outlet off a rebound or Rose could hit him for an easy score on the break.
Big 3 with Boozer

Anthony is a great fit with this team, and I actually like their chances against Miami in a 7 game series with him.  Boozer matches up well with Bosh because of his toughness and skill in the post.  Rose will burn Chalmers or anyone they put at PG, except maybe Dwayne Wade.  Brewer or Anthony can try to defend LeBron, maybe not great though.  Noah would be an ‘X’ factor in the post because Miami doesn’t have anyone in the post with his motor or tenacity.  All around, Chicago has a better squad that could gel better and have weapons to match the Heat.  For that reason, I like the Bulls in 7 games with Anthony over the Heat.
Chicago 4-3 over the Heat

Orlando:
The Magic are a solid squad that will likely finish in the top 3 without Anthony.  With him, I like their chances even more.  Jameer Nelson is a solid floor general and sharp shooter who should have been an all-star a couple seasons ago barring injury.  As far as I’m concerned, Vince Carter will never be the same player.  On a night in, night out basis, he doesn’t show up as a reliable scorer, but sometimes brings it.  In the paint, Dwight Howard is as good as it gets on the boards and on defense.  Rashard Lewis extends the defense, at least when he can hit shots.  Brandon Bass was undervalued by that team last year and should get more minutes this season off the bench.  Pietrus is a good defender and shooter at the wing and Ryan Anderson continues to emerge at forward.  They also have good depth with Reddick and Gortat, as well as new additions Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon.
Melo in ORL is a slam dunk

Carmelo improves this team drastically.  With more size and scoring on the wing, giving them a driving alternative to jacking up 3s every possession.  With Stan Van Gundy, they will probably always live or die by the 3, and by plugging in Carmelo, at least there is more relief from dying by the 3.  The Vince switch for Turkoglu clearly didn’t work like they had hoped last year, but Carmelo gives them a player that will better the ‘Turkish Micheal Jordan’.  Against the Heat, Dwight Howard in the post is their biggest point of exploitation.  Carmelo matches up favorably with James; If not by stopping him, at least giving them an adequate counter-punch to his scoring.  Pietrus can at least contain Wade or James, limiting the fire power of one of them.  I think this would be an exciting, heated series(no pun intended), but have to give the edge to the Magic again.  A lot of it will hinge on if Orlando can hit their 3’s and get defensive stops, but I think they present a better overall team with Carmelo than the Heat do.
Orlando 4-2 over the Heat

New York:
All signs point to New York as the front-runner.  They are looking to unload a number of players for Anthony’s services, including Eddy Curry, Wilson Chandler, Anthony Randolph, and/or Danilo Gallinari.  Denver can get the most bang for their buck with the Knicks by getting promising pieces in Chanlder, Randolph and Gallinari.  Apparently, their interest is limited, but shouldn’t be due to the potential of those players.  As far as the team game goes, they are still a work in progress.  Raymond Felton is a nice backcourt piece and Amar’e Stoudemire is a killer post addition.  Other new additions include Ronny Turiaf, who is a good hustle guy, and Roger Mason will give them a reliable perimeter shooting presence.
Paul could complete the NYC Big 3 in the Knick of time

The kicker in this equation would be the addition of Chris Paul in 2012, or even before then.  Paul, by himself, is almost worth an entire playoff series to this team.  That’s not to say that Felton can’t do the job, but Paul does it much better.   It adds an intriguing, third ‘Big 3’ with Stoudemire, Anthony and Paul to the East.  Against Miami, I love the Bosh/Stoudemire match up.  I have always liked Amare more than Bosh.  I’ve always felt Bosh was an overrated player on a bad team.  I think if you reversed roles for the two, Stoudemire could have put up bigger numbers than Bosh in Toronto, and he ultimately would fit better within the team system.  Amare doesn’t mind not being the man, even though he said he wants to be, but with Paul and Anthony he doesn’t need to be.  Defensively though, its not really a contest.  The Knicks would have fire power, but would be clamoring for stops the entire game.  Mike D’Antoni is not the right coach for that team with those players.  This would be a case where the Heat would be too much coming at the Knicks, but would be challenged.
Miami 4-1 over the Knicks
Miami 4-3 over the Knicks with Chris Paul
___
The Lakers are still the team to beat

Even with all these teams potentially adding Anthony, the only contender I like to beat the LA Lakers would be the Magic.  Chicago would be too inexperienced that deep in the playoffs, and the Knicks wouldn’t be able to get past the Heat.  For Orlando, most of the team has been there and knows what to expect.  Carmelo has been in the Conference Finals before, and would be a player who embraces the spotlight for the Magic.  In terms of entertainment value, it may be more fun to watch him with the Bulls or Knicks.  If its winning he cares about, then Orlando is where he would go to get it done right now.  It will be interesting to see what develops in the coming months before the season for Anthony.  Most people are already giving the East, if not the NBA title, to the Heat.  If Anthony is on the move, it will make everyone have to think twice.

-Bjorn Zetterberg

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