TORONTO - The Melo drama that continues to be played out with no apparent ending and no shortage of public posturing underscores the need for a franchise to cut bait with its face at the appropriate time or face the stinging consequences.
It happened in Toronto, in Cleveland, it may yet happen in Orlando, Utah and New Orleans.
As if any lessons needed to be learned following the departures of Chris Bosh and LeBron James for basically nothing, unless one considers a trade exception that may or may not have any impact, teams have to be completely out of their minds if they don’t heed the mess that have engulfed the Denver Nuggets.
Me-first Melo, aka Carmelo Anthony, is clearly being guided by his agents and his wife in his misguided attempt to play for the New York Knicks.
Pull the plug
The New Jersey Nets were said to be on the cusp of landing that much-coveted star in a multi-team, multi-player deal until billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov had enough of Denver’s dithering.
“There comes a time when the price is simply too expensive,” the Russian oligarch said. “I’m instructing our team to walk away from the deal. It’s (negotiations) been too long and too expensive.”
When it comes to business, even a deal that is ostensibly off the table isn’t completely dead, which is why this Melo mess will linger up until the Feb. 24 trade deadline.
The moment Anthony’s handlers refused to sign off on Denver’s extension this off-season, it should have been made abundantly clear that the Nuggets star had to be moved.
Unless a team such as Dallas wants a rental player, unless some trade with the Knicks involving multiple teams can be arranged, the Nuggets are in danger of losing Anthony for nothing.
Even if the NBA does get its way in hammering out a new collective bargaining agreement with its players, under no circumstance can the league tell its teams to exercise common sense.
The NBA is known as a players’ league because players, more specifically agents, call the shots, in most cases.
Once a franchise allows its face to dictate the team’s future and fortunes, it loses control and is doomed.
Distractions aside, the Nuggets have played well, but are no longer a serious playoff team.
“NBA coaching is always somewhat a rough sea,’’ head coach George Karl said. “It’s never smooth.
“It’s when you’ve got the 20-foot waves and 20-foot undertow that sometimes you have to worry.”
With so much to worry about in the form of expiring contracts and aging pieces, the last thing the Nuggets should have fretted over was the future of Anthony.
Anthony had no intention of being a Nugget long term when the allure of playing in New York to appease his posse and spouse were too tempting.
The Nuggets lost control and are in danger of losing an asset for nothing.
It’s a tough lesson, but one teams must understand.
What’s sad is that yet another drawn-out negotiation/saga involving a franchise face will surface.
It’s just a matter of when because teams will never learn, even in the face of so much evidence and carnage.
AROUND THE RIM
One of the unsuspecting victims is this Melo mess is good guy Richard Hamilton, whose Detroit Pistons were rumoured to be the third team. It’s pretty sad how Detroit has basically banished Hamilton, who rots away on the bench not knowing when and if he’ll play. “I still ain’t spoke to nobody, you know what I’m saying? Nobody ain’t spoke to me about it. Just like when the whole situation went down, nobody didn’t tell me what was going on, you know? It’s kind of one of those things where you give your team for the last nine years your blood, sweat and tears, and you never expect nothing like this would have happened, but it happened.” Too bad because it shouldn’t have happened had common sense prevailed ... Leave it to the diligent dudes at Elias Sports Bureau to come up with this nugget: When Canadian national team member Joel Anthony hauled down 16 rebounds without attempting a single shot from the field in Miami’s OT loss to Atlanta, he became only the third player to accomplish the stats feat since 1967. The other two? Wilt Chamberlain and Dennis Rodman ... Despite his brilliance, Kevin Durant is not known for his late-game heroics, one of the few flaws to the OKC superstar. On Saturday night, his three-ball at the buzzer against the Knicks was Durant’s first game-winner since his rookie year in 2007, when the franchise was based in Seattle and was coached by current Raptors assistant P.J. Carlesimo.