Trading Melo not a good idea |

Trading Melo not a good idea

Casper's Corner
Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen

The NBA Draft is fast approaching, and you know what that means ” trade rumors, and lots of them.

Prominent among them is that the centerpiece of the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony, has caught the eye of Detroit Pistons general manager Joe Dumars. Odd, considering Melo was there for the taking when the Pistons chose second in the 2003 draft.

Where are you and your 5.5-point-per-game career scoring average now, Darko Milicic?

That would be Memphis.

When is the time right to give up on a superstar? Carmelo is surely not a bust of a No. 3 pick. Maybe he’s lugging a well-stuffed bag of character issues ” the DUI, the whining as his Nuggies were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Lakers ” but the man’s averaged 24.4 points a game the past half-decade, and he’s only 24 years old.

The right coach ” and that’s probably not George Karl ” could iron out the character wrinkles and benefit from trotting out one of the NBA’s best pure scorers on a nightly basis.

Remember back in the 1990s when Phil Jackson somehow worked Dennis Rodman into the Bulls’ championship mix?

You don’t give up on Melo’s kind of talent that easily. Not everyone is a model citizen at 24. The 20s are so often a minefield of mistakes for the imperfect among us. You learn from them and move on.

Look at what Josh Hamilton is doing on the baseball diamond for the Texas Rangers. At 27, he’s raking the ball, on pace to bash 40 home runs and drive in 150 runs.

Think the Rays or Reds regret letting him go after his horrifying struggle with the needle? You bet. He’s an MVP-caliber talent, and he’s just getting going.

I bring Hamilton up because Melo’s character flaws pale in comparison to Hamilton’s history. And because it’s entirely plausible that Anthony will mature dramatically between now and his 27th birthday. Most people do.

It took Kobe until his late 20s to turn into the type of team player the Lakers needed him to be. Sure, he’s still a work in progress in that area but do you really think the Lakers would be better off having shipped him to highest bidder last summer?

No way.

So, when do you trade a superstar? Rarely does that work out for the team doing the shipping, and you’re almost never going to get full value in return.

It’s only acceptable to send a superstar on his way when rebuilding, or when a team’s relationship with said superstar is beyond mend.

Neither is the scenario in Denver.

The Nuggets just wrapped a 50-win campaign. Any roster shakeup should be accomplished by tweaking the roster at its lower levels, or by sending the coach adrift.

Yeah, George, I’m talking about you.

As for the latter case, Melo’s standing in Denver is reasonably good. The fan base may have its qualms with the man’s character, but Anthony hasn’t issued any trade demands or stated any extreme displeasure with the club. And, by all indications, the team’s shown nothing but support for Melo through whatever missteps he’s made.

Short of landing Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul or Paul Pierce in return (and that certainly won’t happen), there’s no merit in making a deal just to make a deal.

That’s just my take, although I’m a little biased ” Melo did partake in the Post Independent’s football picking contest last fall, so he can’t be that bad of a guy.

Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123

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