There is a rumor floating around that Carmelo Anthony is reportedly interested in returning to Denver. The problem is that real NBA fans don’t need a notification to know that Melo would jump ship for Denver in a heartbeat. He’s been practically shouting that possibility ever since the Knicks days terminated. The question is: should Denver Nuggets fans want him back? Because this story goes deeper than one rumor mill.
Nothing quite hits like an amateur video.
Nugget’s fans were booing because of the many headlines they were subjected to. These include refusing to check back into the fourth quarter because your veteran teammates blasted you for selfish shot selection. Or getting charged with possession of weed, fighting randoms in nightclubs, suspensions, DUIs, or another dozen other things.
Mix this with coach George Karl - a known hardass disciplinarian - things were destined to boil over. Karl was the perfect example of someone who could be so right and still be so wrong. Take this backhanded comment, for example.
“Carmelo’s a good kid. He has great basketball skills. But the consistency, the professionalism and commitment on a daily basis... It’s not him.”
George Karl, The Charlotte Observer
Maybe not the best thing to say about your franchise player. And just to be clear, there are dozens and dozens of quotes like this one.
There are many other reasons why Melo looked elsewhere, like injuries, poor front office calls, and ironically enough Karl’s decision to step back from the game to fight cancer - but this toxic relationship was the front runner.
I also brought it up to provide context for the reason behind Melo’s possible desire to make his return to the Mile High.
Carmelo was watching his buddies pair up in Miami and knew him, and just Chauncey wasn’t going to be it.
While Anthony was tripling his brand in the New York market, setting MSG records and living with his Hollywood wife, Denver was subsequently imploding.
They had three first-round exists after he left, followed by five no-shows in what was a ‘Danilo Gallinari-led’ rebuild. No surprise they were dead last in attendance in ’16 and ’17. No team has ever finished dead last in attendance in back-to-back years since ESPN started recording the data in 2000.
But that’s not the case anymore because Carmelo has squat and Denver has Jokic. So why let the ex-boyfriend back in the house after she left and you’re the one doing better?
Take him back?
"Contrary to what anyone believes, I never wanted to leave Denver. I never told people that. .. I never wanted to leave Denver. But they put my back against the wall. I don't want to go, but if y'all going to rebuild, it's time for me to go somewhere else."
Carmelo Anthony, All The Smoke
Justified or not, he did leave, and Karl was a fundamental reason for this. The reason he’s brought up is that even the head coach that revamped the team to the Conference Finals is now retroactively looked bad upon by most fans in general. We’ve learned that just knowing the X’s and O’s is not enough to be a great coach. That and Karl has not stopped throwing shots at Melo.
This is an extract from his lovely book, Furious George.
“But Kenyon and Carmelo carried two big burdens: all the money, and no father to show them how to act like a man.”
As you can imagine, that didn’t age that well.
Despite being a valuable scorer off the bench, L.A. might not include Anthony in their eventual makeover. And you can only play the ‘let me retire for my first team’ card once.