Now, Y'all all know that I'm not a big "let's trade for Melo" guy. But just looking at what's happened over the past few weeks, I constructed a hypothetical conversation between Carmelo Anthony (m) and Josh Kroenke (jk). We know these guys met. This is probably what was said.
The reason no trade has happened? Carmelo's first choice is the Knicks, his second is the Nuggets. There is no third. And Donnie Walsh is smart.
jk: look, just between you and me, no agents, no committments - I just want you to know I appreciate what you've done for this franchise, no matter what happens. So, the extension offer is out there. What's you're thinking about it?
m: Well, it's generous and I appreciate that. Right now, I kind of feeling like waiting and seeing what's out there, you know?
jk: Sure. But you know, with the new collective bargaining agreement coming up, it's possible the money may not be as good as it is now. We just may not be able to offer as much next year.
m: I realize that. I'd like to take the extension, I mean, financially, it's the smart thing to do, but...
m: I just don't know
jk: You can be honest with me. It won't leave this room. Are you thinking that you're leaving?
m: (long pause) Chauncey's not getting any younger, Kenyon's not getting any younger. I don't know how long coach is going to be able to coach. I just don't want to sign a committment and be stuck to a declining situation, I mean, life is short, you know? But at the same time I love the Denver Nuggets, you know?
jk: So if you could decide, right now, regardless of the money, if you were a free agent today, would you sign with the Nuggets?
m (smiles) uh...
jk: It's OK. I totally get where you're coming from. I really do respect that. We'd love to keep you, and I think we can avoid a declining situation, I really do. And I'd like to have the opportunity this year to show you how committed we are....
m: I know you guys will do your best, do a good job....
jk: The thing is, we'd like you to remain a Nugget for life. No doubt about it. But... if you're thinking you're definitely going to leave, well, it's better for us to get something for you now than to have to endure a whole year of soap opera...
m: I heard that!
jk: So where would you go? Bulls? Knicks?
jk: Knicks, huh?
m: Well, it's not like I've totally decided or anything. But I've always wanted to play with Amar'e, and you know, Coach D'antoni....
jk: Seems like they've got a nice thing going over there.
m: And Lala's from there, you know? It's just attractive, with what Miami did and all.
jk: No, I do understand that. Hey, listen. I don't want to keep you here against your will, and I don't want to have a season of distraction and then lose you to free agency and have to put Denver through what Cleveland just went through.
m: It's hard to think about doing that. But still, I do want to do what's right for me and for my chances to win.
jk: Yeah. That makes sense. Listen, If I could get a really good package back in a trade, draft picks, young guys, cap relief.... I'd go ahead and do it if you're going to leave anyway.
m: OK. I'm listening.
jk: Here's the thing - I need your help with this. We can do a sign and extend where we trade you and part of the trade agreement is that you sign the extension. That way, you get your money and we get a nice package of guys and picks to move on with. But you're not going to agree to an extension with just any team, right? And you're a great player but you don't have much value in a trade if you don't sign the extension along with it.
m: I suppose that's right, yeah.
jk: So... let me ask you this. Are there any other teams besides the Knicks you'd be interested in going to?
m: Well, actually, not really, no. I was thinking about the Knicks, mostly. I just like that situation a lot.
jk: The reason I ask is because if you only want a trade to one team, then there won't be teams bidding against each other, and that means we basically have to take it or leave it with whatever the Knicks offer. I'd like to help you out here, but I do have to make it a good deal for the Nuggets.
m: Definitely. I want to help you guys out.
jk: The Knicks have some good young guys and a big expiring contract. They've definitely got some good stuff. Bot I need to get a lot of it in order for this to be worth it for me. So in order to do that, we need to get them competing with other bids.
jk: So, I need to make other teams, besides the Knicks, believe that you'll consider signing an extension with them. Then we can start to get some offers. If the Knicks start to believe you're going to accept one of those offers and sign with that team, then maybe they'll come in with a good bid. And then we're in business.
m: ok, so what do I do?
jk: Here's the plan. First, I'll mention that I don't think the Knicks have what I want. It's not really true, but it will get them thinking about what else they can offer besides Gallinari and Randolph and Curry's contract and a draft pick, et cetera et cetera. Then, maybe you could let it leak out somehow that you'd be open to a few other teams.
m: Which teams?
jk: Then, hopefully, we'll get some pretty good offers from one or more of those teams. We leak the offer and we leak that you're leaning toward accepting it. We make it seem sort of imminent, like we are taking the weekend to think about it. Then we wait for Donnie Walsh to call and offer two or three of their good young guys. I mean, they have Gallinari, Chandler, Anthony Randolph... they have three pretty good young guys that play your position anyway. If we can get two of them, plus cap relief, plus a first rounder, it becomes worth it for us. But Donnie's too smart to offer that to us now. Our position isn't strong, unless....
m: Unless Donnie thinks he's about to lose me to the Bulls or the Nets.
jk: Exactly. So I need your help here. If we can get what we want from them, it's ideal for everybody. If not, we'll have to wait and take our chances. I'd like to help you get where you want to go and get your money and avoid the lame duck situation. And I'll do it if we can make it work for the organization. If we can't get what we need out of the deal, I need you to give everything you've got to the Nuggets this year and we'll go from there. Can you agree to that? Just between us, of course.
m: Yeah, I can agree to that. Let's give it a shot.