carmelo anthony

V.20 No.16 | 4/21/2011


Unleash Everything

The NBA Playoffs have kicked off with a bang and it's time to unleash your liberated fandom. The games started off with what some are calling the best NBA weekend ever— although The Basketball Jones wonder how you can qualify that—and have continued to spill over in complete madness.

Over the weekend, in the Western Conference both the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed lost their first games. There were indications that it would be this crazy when the boring game that everyone was talking smack about turned into an almost-instant classic.

On Tuesday night, Carmelo Anthony decided to take things to a whole new level by scoring 42 points in a noble effort to keep the New York Knicks afloat. It didn't work. But it made for one of the most entertaining games in a postseason that's been filled with them.

The time has come to declare that if you're not watching this season of basketball—and especially now, if you're not watching this postseason of NBA—you're clearly not a fan of basketball. There are always arguments made about whether the NCAA or the NBA is a better product, but putting that arguement aside one can not deny the quality of play thus far has been far beyond what fans even had a right to expect.

The righteous anger of Denver, with the drama surrounding Anthony all season, has been galvanized since the trade. They're playing out of their heads against an Oklahoma City Thunder team that some claim is ready to take that next step—all the way to the Finals.

On the other side of the bracket, no one expected the Chicago Bulls to be this good when the season started. But now that it's finished, and the Bulls had the best record in the league, the weight of expectations has been foisted upon them. The struggles that presumptive-MVP Derrick Rose and his team are having with the Indiana Pacers do not bode well for the other young gun team. (It'd be more than bizarre, but a little apropos, at least, if the Bulls were to meet the Thunder in the 2011 NBA Finals.)

Dirk Nowitzki was mentioned early in the season as a possible MVP candidate, but then his team merely did what it's done for the last 12 years straight: Win more than 50 games in pretty convincing fashion, despite a host of injuries. He's roared back to life (along with the old man swag of Jason Kidd) for the playoffs and the Dallas Mavericks look to be a tough out for anyone, much less the (seemingly, at this point) over-matched Portland Trailblazers.

This post-season is reaffirming the notion that this season was (and is) one for the ages. With the worry of a lockout looming over everyone's heads (the players, the owners, and, most of all, the fans), this feels a little bit like insurance. If the building burns down, at least we'll have memories of that one last rager of a party.

V.20 No.8 |


Chauncey Billups Traded to Knicks

Carmelo Anthony, too

The Carmelo Anthony trade has finally--officially--gone through. After holding his team hostage for more than two-thirds of the 2010-2011 NBA season, Anthony has been rewarded by being traded to the team he wanted to go to the first place. (And in the last place. And in every instance between.)

The official trade reads somewhere south of the insanity that was rumored approximately three months ago, but basically includes Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman going to the New York Knicks. In exchange, New York sends Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov to the Denver Nuggets. There will also be draft picks, straight cash and the involvement of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It's a complicated deal, but it boils down to the looming collective bargaining lockout as well as the way owners treat teams and the people who play on them. Not to mention the players' increasing awareness of the way they can treat teams.

It's hard to know who to truly be mad at in this instance. On the one hand, Anthony lied to every reporter every chance he had. He let it be known he had no interest in signing the extension Denver offered him, but he clearly wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. Maybe he would sign it. Maybe he wouldn't. On the other hand--as a free agent to be--Anthony had nearly earned the right to choose where he plays and it's hard to begrudge players who are treated like so many chess pieces.

On the other hand, the Nuggets should have made this move (or a similar one) sooner. They played with their season, keeping a discontented star on their roster despite the fact that the entire team, city, state and professional organization to which they belong knew that he didn't want to be there.

It's typical for sports fans to root for the players in this instance, especially in a world where a hard working role player can allegedly be pulled from practice and informed that he's been traded. It's not a nice world and those who watch sports and love them would do well to remember: To those who play on the team, or those who own the team, this is a business--first and foremost.

But there's no denying that this trade has a tinge of bitterness to it. The Nuggets have lost all momentum from the team that was challenging the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals two years ago. This is certainly not all Anthony's fault and it's hard to say that it's even mostly his fault. But he was going to be a free agent at the end of this season. He could have signed with the Knicks without a trade. The only reason this happened is because of the fear that there would be too much money left on the table. And, to be fair, it's been pointed out that it might be as much as 45 percent of his paycheck--that's a lot of money. No one wants to leave that money behind when they don't have to.

Time will tell how this trade is looked back upon. If the Knicks get back to their early-season winning rate, it's easy to imagine Anthony jerseys being brisk sellers in not only New York, but around the rest of the nation. If he and Amar'e Stoudemire combine to form a ferocious front court that can defend well enough to scare some of the top tier teams in the Eastern Conference, New Yorkers will be beside themselves with joy at having a team worth talking about (again). And what's good for the New York Knicks is usually good for the majority of the league. But, if their defense is as bad as numbers suggest it will be and if Anthony can't produce in a system where he doesn't get to have the ball in his hands a majority of the time--or if he keeps the ball and everyone else's numbers drop--Carmelo Anthony will transform from the prize the Knicks thought they were getting into just another deadweight hanging around the neck of a franchise that's been treading water for too long.

V.20 No.8 | 2/24/2011


The Daily Word 2.22.11: Earthquake Rocks New Zealand, Mob Experience in Vegas, Americans Killed by Pirates

The Daily Word

Four Americans are killed after being taken hostage by Somali pirates. I’m still getting over the fact that there are still pirates.

Police arrest an 11-year-old over an inappropriate stick figure drawing.

Another massive earthquake cripples the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Many dead.

Illinois abruptly cuts off all funding for its drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs.

What the hell? Arizona may make abortions illegal depending on the gender or race of the fetus.

Blockbuster trade in the NBA: Carmelo Anthony, known ‘round these parts as simply ‘Melo’, is traded to the New York Knicks.

Libya’s ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi vows to die as a martyr.

You know times are tough when you’re forced to steal 58 containers of deodorant.

The First Vice Chairman of the state Republican Party names her black Angus cow Oprah. Errrrr ...

Check out the “Mob Experience” at the Tropicana hotel in Las Vegas. So neat.

Meanwhile, this library in Boston is offering a JFK experience, complete with an interactive desk.

Beer as a sports drink? Where have you been all my life?

An Indiana restaurant is banned from making references to Jim Jones’ cult in its advertising campaign. Way to take the fun out of everything, P.C. Police.