I was starting to respect Mikhail Prokhorov. From a distance. I think everyone thought this guy was going to panic, throw way too much at the Nuggets in a desperation move to get a superstar for his soon to be transplanted Nets franchise. That would fit the image of the raiding Russian oligarch, but Russian Cuban took his foot off the gas and said, eventually the price just gets too high. Maybe he is a good business man and not just some shifty cat with good fortune. The Carmelo Anthony trade saga refuses to die, though, and the latest is that Melo will end up in Jersey/Brooklyn if he agrees to an extension. He gets to take Chauncey with him, and the Nets give up everything they have of consequence (aside from Brook Lopez) and an armful of draft picks.
The Many Problems I have with this deal…
1. Carmelo isn’t LeBron. I’m not sure he can carry a franchise. He’s good enough to be a franchise player, but I mean the whole package..selling tickets, marketing, reaching global status. There are few of those guys, and Carmelo doesn’t strike me as one.
2. The Nets will still be miles away in the East. Even I know the East is top-heavy and stacked. Miami, Boston, Chicago and Orlando. The new Nets would slide somewhere into a bottom rung amongst that group. Equally likely to lose a first round playoff series than make a serious run. Of course, sitting at 17-40, all of that won’t even matter until next season.
3. This deal essentially dooms the Nuggets to be an anonymous NBA franchise. Unless they stumble upon a superstar in the draft in the coming years they will become an afterthought. The way things are going, with all the talent congregating in a few cities the NBA might as well contract to about 8 teams and mimic the original NHL.
4. Four First Round Picks?! I know a first round pick in basketball isn’t like one in football. The NBA draft usually runs about 4 players deep, and the Nets probably won’t be a lottery team, so it is easy to get carried away with this portion of the deal, but I can think of plenty examples where shipping off a bunch of picks for one player didn’t turn out well. And the picks still have value, especially before you use them. Now the Nets don’t anything to trade with. Their entire franchise is going to rely on one more free agent coming their way eventually, whether it is Howard, Paul, or whoever the Russian sets his sights on.
5. The Melo extension will only be for 3 years. I guess that is great if he starts to decline, but its a pretty short window to win/convince him to stay for the rest of this career.
I guess I feel all right for Nets fans if this happens, because they’ve been getting kicked in the junk for a few years, but there are no Nets fans and the team is moving anyway. This is the biggest Russian blunder since they sold Alaska. ZING!
In much more important news, we’ve officially, tentatively gone into lukewarm Fred watch for the weekend. Fred dropped a little bogey-free 66 on Riviera today to shoot into the lead at the Northern Trust Open. Fred’s back is apparently killing him, but it doesn’t affect him on driver, and he is murdering that club. I’m not getting my hopes up too high. Fred teases every year at Augusta or Riviera or Houston and then can’t hold it together down the stretch. It’s nice to be in the game, though. Maybe closing out some wins on the Old Man Tour got him some needed Sunday confidence. Of course, if the weather conspires for a 36-hole finish or something similar, you can probably forget about it.
Quiz of the Day. Faces of Time Magazine 1980s. Category: Heads (of People). My Score: 33/45
Ok, here’s a beatable score. A little before my time. Some politicians. Not my strong suit. I’m allowing google for spelling questions only.
Enjoy the Weekend……