Carmelo Anthony shared some tidbits about what went down when he left the Denver Nuggets in 2010. For many, the real story behind it was still unclear, after all, the Nuggets went to the Conference Finals in 2009, but come next season, they traded away the team’s core. Some painted Melo as a money grabber who went to the New York Knicks, but he finally revealed his side.
In 2009, peak Denver Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony went to the Western Conference finals against the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets lost 4-2, and fans were expecting the team to go at it again, with the same lineup and maybe a few upgrades. To the fans’ surprise, management decided to pull the trigger to start rebuilding mode.
“Contrary to what anybody an every believes, I never wanted to leave Denver. We go to the Western Conference Finals in 09. What are you supposed to do? You’re supposed to build on that. You’re supposed to add pieces, plug and play, don’t mess the core up. So, I’m not about to rebuild. I’m not going to rebuild after we done went to the Western Conference Finals. We’re supposed to be building, not rebuilding.”Carmelo Anthony, All The Smoke
If what Melo was saying was true, the blame is on the Nuggets front office. On the other hand, some say he could have stayed and been patient with the roster overhaul. But no one should call Melo out for choosing to play elsewhere. He’s a grown man who should decide what’s better for his family and career. The lure of playing for the Basketball Mecca was probably too much for Anthony.
Still, the way Melo forced his way out of Denver became a “how not to” for superstars in the future. The Knicks had to send so much to the Nuggets that Melo didn’t have anyone to play with when he got to MSG.
The validation for the Nuggets is how quickly they claimed relevancy after Melo’s departure. They arguably had more success than Melo did since he left. So while it may have seemed absurd to break up that team, the Nuggets made better basketball choices from the moment Anthony asked for a trade than Melo did himself.