Well, there you have it. Carmelo Anthony will not be traded to the Nets.
colour me stunned; the Nuggets may be a team in decline, or at least one that has peaked. But that doesn’t mean that Anthony—who this summer, had dreams of forming his very own Miami Heat—would want to settle for New Jersey.
The Nets are a disreputable franchise whose roster would offer no real improvement over Denver’s. And even if they make their long-promised move to Brooklyn, the situation may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Still, we got a good month, maybe two, of white-hot rumours surrounding Anthony and his uncertain future. They dominated the NBA news cycle, even the real-time league was delivering one of the most exciting, unpredictable seasons in recent memory. The Knicks resurgence? Eh, old news. The Heat? Never lived up to the hype. Blake Griffin? He can do anything, we get it. The Clippers beat the Heat and Lakers in one week, yet alas, will soon lose to an inferior opponent.
A superstar on the move, though, brings the possibility of real tension (and release) that otherwise the NBA doesn’t offer until the playoffs. When you hear that the season is too long, this is what folks mean: there’s precious little instant, indisputable gratification, unless you actually like the game, and are capable of appreciating smaller or broad, slow-burning, narratives. The NFL brings love and gratitude to our hearts because, on a weekly basis it brings the gavel crashing down in truly decisive fashion. Anthony to the Nets would be one of those moments.
Except remember, we’re not talking about the trade happening. It’s weeks and weeks of repetitive dispatches from the frontlines of something that might come true. I blame it all on LeBron James, or rather, last season’s preoccupation with the entire Free Agency Class of 2010. Although that wasn’t going down until the summer—after the Finals—it still offered a mother lode of BIG EVENTS pending in the NBA universe, something we’re just not used to. There’s only one title, and really, plenty of playoff series drag out before going in the obvious direction. Also, you can’t even think about them until the match-ups are set.
Carmelo Anthony is no LeBron James; he’s certainly not equivalent to James plus Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire, and the rest. What we’re seeing, though, is that there’s a public appetite for this kind of trade-based stand-off; just as LeBron’s early success in the league had us looking for the Next LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony is getting the LeBron James treatment this winter simply because it’s become clear that this kind of demi-story sells. If nothing else, it keeps fans glues to their screens in ways that games—no matter how awesome—simply can’t.
Lucky for them, it might not be long before we’re getting daily updates on the status of Melo to the Knicks.
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