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Is the Light at the End of the Tunnel New York or New Jersey?

By Dave Bruning

“Melo!” “Melo!” “Melo!”

This was a passionate chant from Denver Nuggets fans for the last 8 years after Carmelo Anthony would score a basket. It echoed with love throughout the Pepsi Center. Those echoes will have to reverberate in the minds of Nuggets fans because Melo is a goner. I have tremendously mixed feelings as I love Anthony as a basketball player and I am a fan of the Nuggets. Melo has earned his right to choose where to play as his contract expires, yet I believe he has held Denver hostage to an extent.

The long-rumored trade is on the cusp of consummation like a virgin saving herself for her wedding night. Anthony will be traded to either the New York Knicks or the New Jersey Nets as the NBA’s All Star weekend concludes. The trade deadline is February 24th. I don’t believe NBA commissioner David Stern wants the trade to occur over the All Star weekend. Look for this to happen late Sunday the 20th or Monday 21st.

All the back and forth between Denver, New York and New Jersey reminds me of a great joke a friend of mind used to tease me with because I am originally from New Jersey. This is the joke:

“Why do New Yorkers have no hope?”

“Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey!”

The Knicks have long been Anthony’s preferred trade destination. The Nets have long been the Nuggets preferred trade partner because they possess the trade assets the Nuggets covet. Who will blink first, the Nets, Nuggets or Knicks?

I’m not going to break down the logistics of all the possible trade scenarios. That would take too much time and be too confusing. Common sense says the Knicks will panic and do whatever it takes to get Anthony. I think Denver has been counting on this all along. Common sense also dictates the Nets package of Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and four 1st round draft picks is the deal Denver wants to make.

The Nets trade is contingent on Anthony signing the contract extension Denver has had on the table for almost a year. As the trade deadline has approached the importance of Anthony signing his extension has been pushed to the forefront. Melo risks leaving upwards of $20-$40 million in lost salary on the table if he doesn’t sign the contract extension. Everyone knows he wants to play for the Knicks but the Nets are the easiest place to secure the extension.

Accepting a trade to New Jersey is what Anthony should do. He secures his money. He leads the New look New Jersey Nets into their New home in Brooklyn, Anthony’s birthplace. The legacy he craves to be a part of with the Knicks he will create with the Brooklyn Nets, for lack of a better name. I personally like the Brooklyn Spires, which creates a connection with the Brooklyn Bridge. Anthony won’t convert die hard Knick fans, but every young basketball fan beyond that will up for grabs and itching to embrace Melo and the Spires.

It’s time for the Melo Drama to be over. I hope the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

posted 2/19/20011


  1. The question is whether or not the light at the end of the tunnel is a train or a series of first round picks. I used to think that I wouldn't wish Jersey on anyone. Now I have one addendum, I wish it on Melo

  2. Dave,

    I'm surprised that anyone ever thought that NJ's offer was better than NY's (though I'm admittedly biased). One of the 1st rounders coming from NJ belonged to the Lakers (likely in the 27-30 range), one was top-7 protected from Golden State for a few years and then turned into two 2nd round picks, etc. and they were all coming in what is considered one of the weakest drafts in years. The Knicks deal included 3 starters and 4 proven rotation players, cap relief, and a future draft picks. The Nets' deal included former #2 pick Derrick Favors, who has done exactly nothing in both the ACC and the NBA, and a boatload of future unknowns.

    It's funny how all year the Knicks' offer was painted as inferior because they "lacked assets," but once the deal was made, everybody pretty much said they gave up too much. And now, after just two games, the Denver Post is positing that Gallo can REPLACE CARMELO. And Nuggets fans on the Denver Post message board already seem to love Wilson Chandler as well. I told you this would happen, these guys were underrated because no one outside of New York wanted to see the Knicks' role players for what they were: solid, valuable players.