- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Well ,my friends, the MeloDrama is over as Carmelo Anthony is going to the Big Apple! The Denver Nuggets finally dealt their superstar before they would risk getting nothing if he left via free agency.
The Knicks got their guy, Anthony, but they gave the Nuggets a bundle in the deal. New York had to make a move for the megastar, and when you have the opportunity to get a guy who can produce the way Melo can, you have to pull the trigger quick. And I don't believe they are done just yet. They will add another superstar next season, whether it is Chris Paul or Deron Williams!
When I heard the deal was done, the first thing I wondered about was the NBA's balance. With this recent trend of superstars trying to team up together, the NBA will have about eight power teams and a bunch of cupcakes, as great players will go wherever they want. There will eventually be zero balance, but you can't blame the stars as long as you have free agency.
There will be a lot of watered-down teams with no shot at competing in the league. Free agency gives the star players the right to go elsewhere, and I don't blame a guy like Carmelo Anthony for wanting to go to a place where he feels he can contend for a title. Let's remember that Denver came close to knocking off the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs last season, but did not get the job done.
I am sure that David Stern, the best commissioner in all of pro sports and an innovator with such creativity, is trying to figure out a way to keep balance and stop the idea of superstars teaming up. I have been testing my VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) but I cannot see how that will end with free agency in place.
Why shouldn't a star player go where he wants? He has that freedom, and rightfully so. These guys want to go out and win, and who can blame them. There is also the lure of playing in the Big Apple and getting those endorsement deals where the cash register goes ding-a-ling-ling, baby!
Meanwhile, fans in Denver should realize that the team struck gold. Think about what happened in Cleveland when King James said bye-bye, baby! Denver got some quality players, such as Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. I understand the Nuggets will likely move some of those players they acquired prior to Thursday's trade deadline, but the franchise really benefited and has an opportunity to really bolster their roster.
Anthony was bound to go elsewhere, even though he was afraid of the league's future collective bargaining agreement and losing a ton of cash if he signed as a free agent. Denver made the right decision.
Unfortunately for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they didn't get so lucky with the loss of their superstar. The situation in Cleveland has been tough. I know Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, and he has such a passion and love for the city and his team. I feel bad for him; he wants to win in the worst way.
My friends, you are not going to win when one team has a bunch of Scarlett Johanssons and the other team has a group of Roseanne Barrs! It doesn't take a Harvard graduate to see that.
Now the New York Knicks have Anthony and Amare Stoudemire together, which is a step in the right direction. But New York won't start seeing the success it had hoped for until this club starts playing some defense. I believe you have to work harder on the defensive end. The great Lakers and Celtics teams won championships because they played hard on the defensive end. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale defended people and these Knicks stars have to make the same commitment.
To truly win, you have to play on both ends of the court. If you really want to get that championship ring to go with the big-time cash they are getting, you have to earn it. Hard work and playing some defense can pay dividends.
Ask the Green Bay Packers about getting a championship ring. They are like little kids in the candy store now, but they paid the price and worked hard. You have to make a commitment to play on both sides of the court in basketball.
I do not buy the notion that it is impossible to win with Mike D'Antoni's system. I believe that once they get the supporting cast, as well as the dynamic duo of Anthony and Stoudemire, to play some defense, they will start seeing more Ws.
Right now, all eyes will be on the Knicks as Anthony is going to the Big Apple, the same place where he played his first college game for Syracuse. I called that game, and Memphis got the W. Carmelo should have more success in Madison Square Garden, as there is a major buzz around the Knicks.
2hBy Jackie MacMullan