The Trading Carmelo Anthony Debate

August 26, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Bleacher Fan and Loyal Homer.

As Carmelo Anthony enters the final year of his contract the Denver Nuggets are faced with a huge dilemma. Anthony, a three-time All-Star with impressive stats, could (and in all likelihood probably will) walk away from Denver in free agency. His departure would leave a huge hole on the Denver roster – and the Nuggets would have nothing to show for it. If the team signs ‘Melo to a long-term deal and then trades him, maximizing his value, the Nuggets would be taking huge strides at building for a stronger Anthony-less future.

But, Anthony has been instrumental in leading the Nuggets to the playoffs. As a matter of fact, Denver has made the playoffs each season since Anthony joined the team. Can the Nuggets really afford to trade away a star of Anthony’s caliber, especially when he took the team to within two games of the NBA finals?

Bleacher Fan thinks so. He believes that it is in the Nuggets’ best interest to move ‘Melo now because it is not likely Denver would keep him in free agency. Bleacher Fan must prove that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Loyal Homer, however, is not convinced. He believes the Nuggets need Anthony to be competitive now and in the future. Loyal Homer has to prove that the Nuggets will emerge better in the end by hanging on to Anthony for one more season.

Gentlemen bring your best arguments – the future of a team hangs in the balance.

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The Trading Carmelo Anthony Debate… A Championship Run Could Change His Mind

August 26, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Bleacher Fan.

It still baffles me that there is a very real possibility Carmelo Anthony is playing his last season in a Denver Nuggets’ uniform. He may not even make it through the season as Denver could decide to trade Anthony if he refuses to sign the offered contract extension. Even though the Nuggets risk losing him at the end of the season to free agency, I still believe it would be wise to let the season play out with Carmelo Anthony in the mile high city.

We’ve literally seen Carmelo Anthony grow up before our eyes. We saw him win a national championship as a freshman in college at Syracuse, making our many readers in that part of the country very happy back in 2003. We’ve seen him charged with marijuana possession back in 2004, though those charges were later dropped. We’ve also seen him score at least 20 points per game every season of his career while elevating the Nuggets into one of the top contenders in the Western Conference every season. My opinion of ‘Melo actually changed for the better with the leadership role he took on in the 2008 Summer Olympics as a member of the “Redeem Team.” He helped lead that team to the gold medal as arguably the team’s most consistent player.

Now talk that ‘Melo could leave Denver after the season, or at some point during the season, has merit. He hasn’t come out yet and demanded a trade. He’s actually been relatively quiet on the subject for the most part, which is a breath of fresh air from the circus with you know who. In fact, many of ‘Melo’s “friends” are doing much of the talking regarding this topic. His new bride continues to hype the Knicks as a possible future destination. Chris Paul and Amar’e Stoudemire playfully suggested at ‘Melo’s wedding that the three of them could join forces and rival the trio down in South Beach. Meanwhile, Chauncey Billups, his current teammate, says Anthony has no idea what he wants to do right now.

Carmelo Anthony’s decision is not made. A strong season by the Denver Nuggets could hold sway in his decision. The Nuggets have a team capable of putting together a strong season. In addition to Anthony and Billups, the Nuggets have a strong nucleus consisting of guys like Nene, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, and Chris “Birdman” Anderson. These guys can make a run, especially with the return of George Karl. The Nuggets weren’t the same team once their head coach took a leave of absence to deal with neck and throat cancer. Coach Karl is back though and you can bet the team will be energized.

It’s a risk let the season play out, but it’s a calculated risk that the Denver Nuggets have to take. This guy has been the face of the franchise for the past seven years. The team is going to bank on warm and fuzzy feelings from Denver fans to sway ‘Melo’s decision. You know he will receive a hero’s welcome every time he takes the court at The Pepsi Center. And a deep run in the playoffs by the Nuggets, which is entirely possible, may just be a deciding factor in what he does following this season.

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The Trading Carmelo Anthony Debate… A Nugget of Advice is to Cut Your Losses

August 26, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Loyal Homer.

My opinion on the ego-driven, selfish behavior of professional athletes today has been thoroughly
chronicled here at The Sports Debates. In fact, it seems like all I have written about in the past few weeks are the exploits of
guys like LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Darrelle Revis.

As a true fan of sports, it is very frustrating to me whenever a person (the athlete or coach) believes they are bigger or more important than the game. These people have been told all of their lives that they are winners, but they have never been instructed on how to BUILD a winning philosophy. When things are going good, they do and say all the right things. But as soon as they are presented with adversity they
stomp their feet and whine.

Check that – they don’t just stomp their feet and whine. They quit.

That is what players like LeBron James, Darrelle Revis, and Chris Paul are – QUITTERS! They have been trained throughout their entire lives to be takers. They have been told they are special, and led to believe that they already are champions. They have been given everything and had excuses made for them, because outsiders (also takers) have perceived them as cash cows.

To them, the journey means nothing more than formality. They lack the real conditioning and training required to EARN a championship. And just like everything else, value is drawn from HAVING, rather than WINNING that championship.

These quitters will only play as long as they continue to get their way. As soon as something happens that they don’t like, they just quit.

In fairness to James, Revis, and Paul, they are not the first athletes to make selfish demands on their team. They are simply among the latest in a very long line of contract athletes who have an over-inflated sense of self-worth. And now the fraternity of quitters has a new pledge – Carmelo Anthony.

We’ve heard the song and dance before. His team isn’t giving him the tools he needs to win a championship, and so he wants out. Blah, blah, blah. The REAL situation is that he has watched his buddies land new deals that appear to be from the land of championship milk and honey. As a fellow taker, Anthony absolutely MUST keep up with the Jones’s (or James’s, as the case may be).

Unhappy with his situation in Denver, Anthony seems eager to force a trade. He doesn’t believe that Denver is in a situation to help him genuinely compete for a championship, and so he wants out.

There is a difference between Anthony and guys like Revis and Paul, though. Anthony has leverage. His contract is expiring at the end of this season. If he walks, the Denver Nuggets get nothing in return.

Chris Paul can cry about wanting to be traded, but he still has YEARS on his contract. If he sits out, he loses. Likewise, Darrelle Revis can demand a new contract all day long. But once again, he still has several years of obligation remaining with the New York Jets. And so a decision to sit out in protest of his seemingly unfair contract does nothing more than take a year off of his career.

By comparison, although I believe Anthony would be wrong in forcing this situation, he will be playing the negotiating game correctly. He would be timing his demands in such a way that he can actually capitalize on the situation, and is shifting the pressure onto the Denver Nuggets and forcing them to make a decision.

Something, or nothing?

If the Nuggets do not grant Anthony his trade, he will simply walk away at the end of the season and leave Denver in the same rebuilding mode the Cleveland Cavaliers are in this year. Either way they are losing Carmelo Anthony. They just have to choose how and when.

On one hand, they can allow him to walk away. In that situation, they would have a roster loaded with nothing more than supporting cast members, and would have no real means to woo another top-tier free agent into their ranks. Instead, they will have to hope for another lucky draft pick where they can get the “next” Carmelo Anthony, and hope to build a franchise around that player.

I know that sounds like a lousy deal for the Nuggets, who would ideally like to utilize Anthony’s talents on the court this season. But he has made his intentions very clear, and the Denver Nuggets have virtually no hope of extending his contract beyond this season.

The better option for the Nuggets is to grant him a trade, and they can get some real value for Anthony, an All-Star caliber player. Just like investing, sometimes cutting your losses can be the wisest decision to make. In this case, there is nothing to be gained in Denver by hanging on to ‘Melo. So rather than continue to uselessly dump time, money, and resources into a player who has already declared his intentions to leave, Denver should just suck it up, deal him away, and at least recuperate some of his value.

I do not condone Anthony’s actions, but he is executing well. Now, the Denver Nuggets choice is one that is simple – lose Carmelo Anthony and gain nothing in return, or lose him and gain something.

When you put it like that, it becomes an easy choice to make.

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The Is LRMR Good For the NBA Debate… LRMR Spells Collaborative Empowerment

August 3, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Bleacher Fan.

This whole LRMR thing is getting out of hand.

The problem is people don’t know what LRMR is and what it is here to do. So please allow me to clarify. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an enemy of the state. It’s not a seedy crime syndicate. And it’s not an evil force out to destroy the world.

So now that we know what LRMR isn’t – the Taliban, the mafia, or Justin Beiber – let us try to establish what LRMR is.

It is a marketing agency, plain and simple. A marketing agency that is trying to strengthen the brand of those it represents through collaborative endorsement, not undermine basketball.

Think about the Michael Jordan brand. On his own MJ is one of the most marketable sports stars in history, but somewhere along the lines he discovered that his brand was stronger and more valuable when it was supported by a broad network of stars. Today, names like Derek Jeter, Jason Taylor, and Carmelo Anthony all represent the Jordan brand in different sports and cities, now the Jordan symbol is truly iconic and transcends basketball. That’s similar to the approach that LRMR is implementing, but it is not just limited to a player’s brand. Now players seek to establish control over their careers and where they will play by working together. This collaborative empowerment is not a threat to basketball, but is simply the next logical step in the progression of the game. LRMR is leading the way though the journey is not without its fair share of struggles.

At the very heart of the issue is the simple fact that LRMR is a marketing agency that is ironically experiencing a bit of bad publicity. The focal figure of the agency is the talented and controversial LeBron James. The company was built by, for, and around King James and his brand. That means as goes the public perception of James, so goes that of LRMR. Despite being nearly a month removed from “The Decision” there is still a significant backlash against James, and not surprisingly the negative feelings carry over to LRMR.

But what has the company actually done wrong? I say, “nothing!” LRMR has put its clients in the driver’s seat to their future. It has driven up value through collaboration with other stars. Nowhere is that more apparent than with James’ decision to join with stars and friend Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Clearly James and his agency believed that his worth as part of a super team was even greater than being the biggest fish in a small pond. The fact that it wasn’t just LeBron choosing, but James and Co. deciding where the best opportunities exist for everyone speaks volumes of this new collective player empowerment.

Some critics may attack this strategy and decry it as collusion, but that’s far from accurate. Collusion refers to a secretive agreement, which James decision to consult with other free agents certainly wasn’t. Near the end of the playoffs James seemed to be telling anyone that would listen that he felt that he and other free agent stars could reshape the NBA landscape by collaborating on where to go and how that could impact the NBA for the better.

This is somewhat of a paradigm shift for the NBA and sports in general. It demonstrates how owner’s control over players and the league is continually eroding as players demand more control. James’ decision was so shocking in part because it was one of the few times in sports where a player decided something besides money – owners’ biggest bargaining chip – was their biggest priority. Make no mistake, this was no fluke. It was a benchmark in the evolution of player empowerment.

It has been happening for a while. From free agency to no-trade clauses, players have slowly been assuming more control over their own careers. This is yet another milestone in that journey. Just as factory workers demanding more money, better conditions, and a shorter work day was once unfathomable it became a reality through cooperation and worker unity. So, too, is the case for modern athletes. By no means am I saying they are underpaid or ill-treated, but they have discovered that they are stronger together than they are apart.

My opponent for this debate, Bleacher Fan, will no doubt point to the actions of New Orleans guard Chris Paul. Despite two years remaining on his contract with the Hornets, he has attempted to force a trade since signing with LRMR. I will concede the point that it is neither ethical nor wise for players to try to void their legal commitments with a team in order to further their worth and brand. But Paul is an extreme case which really hasn’t worked out. If anything, his attempts at forcing a trade illustrate an isolated incident of the growing pains the league faces as players attempt to test the boundaries of their new found power.

Right now LRMR may not be liked. It is certainly not like by those who stand to lose the most when players gain power – the owners. But it is just part of inevitable progress. No one is asking the owners or media to like it… just accept it. I would be foolish to think I could persuade today’s judge, Sports Geek, into thinking LRMR is the greatest thing to hit basketball since the three point shot, but it is progress. It is an undeniable example of athletes taking ownership of their career, just as any worker would want to do in their respective field. Professional athletes are some of the most handsomely rewarded workers in the world, but they are workers nonetheless. We should not be surprised that they are following a historical path to progress. The LRMR is not the enemy. It is the future.

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The Biggest NBA Free Agency Story Debate… Super Friends in Miami

July 9, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Loyal Homer and Sports Geek.

It’s over! Done! Finished!

No, I’m not talking about the mind numbing drama of the LeBron James free agent extravaganza. I’m talking about the 2011 NBA playoffs. That’s right, I said it. Mark it on your calendars – July 8, 2010 – a date which will live in sports infamy because it is the day the Miami Heat won the NBA championship before the season even started.

In the immortal words of Will Smith, “Welcome to Miami, Bienvenido a Miami.” This city has just become the center of the basketball universe as three real life supermen – LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh – converge on the same team and leave the rest of the league reeling in the wake of this Earth shattering decision. This is the single most shocking development in NBA free agent history. Never before have stars of this caliber collaborated to assure the creation of a super team and potentially one of the greatest dynasties in sports history.

For all the doubters and haters out there that question if three such stars can coexist and work well together I’d like to point out they already have. James, Wade, and Bosh are a world class trio and they’ve got the gold to back it up. Former Olympic teammates, the fearsome threesome helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in basketball at the most recent Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Olympic teams are comprised of the best players each country has to offer, and now three of the best players from the world’s best team will be running the boards during each home game in South Beach next season. One key to the Dream Team Reboot’s success was a less selfish approach to the game, something we are going to see demonstrated all season long in Miami next season. They have done it before, and they are going to do it again. Coexistence won’t be a problem, but deciding how to divide a league MVP three ways might be.

While I don’t pretend to be a soothsayer or fortune teller, anyone can see the writing is on the wall for the Heat to win multiple championships over the next five years. They pretty much have to, because LeBron’s legacy is riding on it. He cited the urgency to “win championships” as one of the most important factors in his decision. Wade and Bosh figure to help him do exactly that, and continue doing it for a long time to come. Last night during the ESPN coverage of “The Decision” Michael Wilbon said he thought that the Heat were likely to win three championships over four years. I think that’s a conservative estimate.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good teams out there, but they won’t be able to compete with this new breed of mega team. Riding the success of just one of these stars, Wade, helped the Heat make the 2010 playoffs. LeBron alone was enough to lead the Cavaliers to the conference semifinals, where his team even took a couple of games from the eventual conference winning Boston Celtics. Add them together, and throw Bosh in the mix, and this looks more like an honest to goodness All-Star team than anything else.

There is no way anyone else can compete with the Heat now, especially since a number of teams mortgaged their immediate future attempting to clear space for James. The Knicks have a great weapon in newly acquired forward Amar’e Stoudemire, but the Heat have three times the talent (if not even more) in James, Wade, and Bosh. While the Knicks wait yet another year to fill in the missing pieces to the puzzle (and Knicks fans made no bones about who they want as chants of “Car-mel-o, Car-mel-o, Car-mel-o” filled the night sky around the Garden yesterday), the Heat will be dominating each and every game.

Despite tough words from the Cleveland’s owner, the Cavs now face the uphill battle of building a winning team without the anchor they’ve relied on for the past seven seasons. The voodoo-esque curse that he tried to saddle LeBron with, that he wouldn’t win a championship until he does right by Cleveland, is ridiculous for a two reasons: a) Dan Gilbert is an NBA owner not a gypsy and b) LeBron already did right by the Cavaliers for the past seven years. There is no way Cleveland poses a threat to Miami. The only team that stands a chance is the L.A. Lakers.

With the magic of yet another Phil Jackson three-peat in the making, Kobe Bryant will match his best against the Miami Triad. That seems more like a fair fight, but the smart money remains on the triumvirate of league greats. Kobe is great, arguably the greatest player of all time, but can even he hang with James, Wade, and Bosh? Only time will tell.

The emergence of the Super Team in Miami is revolutionary, athletes of the highest caliber placing winning above money and team above self. It is a model in sports that has a proven track record, but rarely been implemented. I do not think this will inspire other stars to follow suit, but it will make for the most interesting basketball of our generation.

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The NBA Coach Under Pressure Debate – George Karl is Running Out Of Time

October 14, 2009

Read Bleacher Fan’s argument and Sports Geek’s argument for which coach they believe is under the most pressure for the upcoming 2009-2010 NBA season.



Today, we are going to look at basketball… as VERY quietly the NBA season is quickly sneaking up. I say that because the regular season will be starting soon and I am not sure how many of us realized that. The Sports Debates will discuss which coach desperately needs to win a championship this year. We are not saying these coaches will be fired if they do not win it all. But, the pressure will start to intensify. To me, it is quite obvious that Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl needs to make a run and win a championship, or the natives might begin to get a little restless in Denver.

Karl is a proven winner. He won in Seattle and, to some degree, he won in Milwaukee. Overall, he has won 933 career games coming into this season. Since the 1991-1992 season with the Seattle Supersonics, his teams have made the playoffs every year. However, he has yet to win the elusive NBA title, though he did make it to the Finals with Seattle in the 1995-1996 season (and promptly lost to the Chicago Bulls 4-2). His teams have lost in the first round of the playoffs nine times, thus resulting in his career 72-89 postseason record!

He is, however, coming off a season in Denver where the Nuggets made it to the Western Conference finals and gave the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers all they want, before finally losing 4-2. This season, the Nuggets need to take the next step or the grumbling fans will begin to grumble very loudly.

This team is obviously built around star forward Carmelo Anthony, a player has overcome many off the court obstacles over the year. Can you believe this guy is still just 25 years old? But, there is still plenty of talent around him. Chauncey Billups brought leadership to the team last year, something that was perhaps missing when Mr. Iverson was on the team. There are other talented players on the roster, too, with Nene, Chris “Birdman” Anderson, and Kenyon Martin round out the team’s nucleus.

No one is disputing the fact that the Lakers are the team to beat in the Western Conference. But, the Nuggets, after getting a taste of success (hey, considering their history, getting out of the first round was a success), will be a disappointment if they do not build on last season. Therefore, the pressure falls directly on Karl. It is time for him to shed that “cannot take the next step” label.

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The NBA Championship Debate – It’s Kobe’s Time

May 29, 2009

(Site note: If you missed the set up to this debate, click here. If you missed why the Magic will win, click here. If you missed how the Cavaliers will win, click here. Read Loyal Homer’s argument for the Lakers, then vote!).



As it stands today, four teams are left in what has been one of the most entertaining playoffs in recent memory. All four teams have strong credentials and a superstar – which is good for ratings. We all know what matchup the NBA and ABC are hoping for. It’s what most fans are hoping for also. But, when all is said and done, no matter what the matchup is in the Finals, I believe the Los Angeles Lakers will come out on top, and win their first championship since 2003.

Sports Geek has given you his reasons why Orlando will win with all of his numbers and statistics. But, that’s what sports geeks do! Bleacher Fan has given his reasons why Cleveland will win. Let me tell you why the Lakers will win.

Kobe knows it’s his time. It’s not quite “now or never” time but it really isn’t that far off. Lebron is only getting better and Wade, Anthony, and Howard are on teams who are only going to get better in the coming years. Perhaps Kobe just isn’t ready to hand over the throne to King James just yet.

It’s been an ongoing debate amongst NBA fans about who the best player in the NBA is right now. The pendulum has swung to Lebron James’ favor in the past year. Heck, even former Laker player (and Kobe Bryant’s former boss) Jerry West agrees. Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard have had their moment in the spotlight, also. Meanwhile, there’s a guy that plays at the Staples Center. You may have heard of him.

I will say that Andrew Bynum is going to have to consistently step up his game for the Lakers to win. Bynum had an awful two first rounds against the Jazz and Rockets, respectively, but he has picked it up slightly against the Nuggets. To beat the Cavs or Magic, he will have to continue to pick it up.

Let’s not forget the Lakers are coming off an NBA Finals loss last year to the Celtics. Couple the taste of that recent loss with the loss to the Pistons in the 2004, and the Lakers are on what you might call a mini-championship slump. It’s time to right the ship. It’s time for Kobe to get his fourth ring and continue to climb the ladder of the all time greats.

Lakers over the Nuggets in 6. Lakers over The Sharply Dressed Coach Stan Van Gundy and his Orlando Magic team in 6!!!