With the advent of the super-team, the majority of NBA teams have no legitimate shot at winning an NBA title over the next 5-6 years. The Celtics first set the standard, teaming Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The Heat followed suit, signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team with Dwayne Wade in South Beach. The Lakers have always had one but people have seemed to neglect the fact that Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Lamar Odom are just as good if not better than the two teams previously mentioned. The Magic are trying to create one, hoping that Dwight Howard, Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkgolu and Jameer Nelson can mesh well enough to compete with the Celtics, Heat and Magic. The Thunder have the young talent to build a "super-team," with Kevin Durant as the linchpin surrounded by Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, but even that may not be enough. And we can never count out the Spurs (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili), the Jazz (Williams, Jefferson, Millsap, Kirilenko), the Mavericks (Nowitzki, Kidd, Terry) and the Bulls (Rose, Noah, Boozer, Deng).
So where do the Nets lie? Nowhere near any of those teams.
If the Nets want to contend in the foreseeable future, they must get Carmelo Anthony.
In the past, I've been very against trading for Carmelo Anthony. He is a poor defender, seems to be a prima donna and has never led a team to the NBA Finals. Furthermore, he seems to care more about himself than his teammates, not necessarily a quality that an NBA franchise player is supposed to maintain.
But because of the state of the NBA, and some intangible qualities he does have, he must be traded for.
First, because of the super-team era, if the Nets want to compete, they have to trade for Carmelo Anthony. To think that all of a sudden, the Nets can add some major franchise player through the draft and expect them to compete for an NBA title alongside Harris, Favors and Lopez, is just foolish. Especially now with the way certain NBA teams will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future, specifically in the Eastern Conference.
If you need proof, look at Kevin Durant. Now in his fourth NBA season, pundits are now believing that the Thunder have a shot in the West. That is three full seasons since he was drafted where Durant has finally accumulated enough NBA experience to really carry a team far in the playoffs.
Are Nets fans going to want to see a developing team in Brooklyn that is still so poor that ownership is continually asking Net fans to 'be patient because we're developing and getting better'? Personally, I've had enough of the poor play of the Nets and want to see them contending again, or at least playing competent basketball. I cannot wait any longer for our "Kevin Durant"; I do not know when he is coming. Carmelo Anthony gives the Nets credibility in the super-team era and is the foundation, alongside Brook Lopez or Devin Harris, that can make the Nets winners again.
Second, Carmelo Anthony is a winner. This is from Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post:
"And here's what Anthony has been good at: winning games.
Never in his career has he been part of a team that won fewer than 43 games. The Nuggets were 17-game winners before he arrived, and improved by 26 wins in his first season. Coming into this season in his career, Anthony's Denver teams had won 171 more regular-season games than the Knicks during the same span.
When the game is on the line, no active player in the NBA makes a higher percentage of winning shots than Anthony does. Only three active players have more game-winning shots than Anthony. And a charging call stripped him of another game-winner last week.
Anthony averages an eye- opening 24.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in his career against teams over .500. This season those numbers are 25.0 points on 48 percent shooting and 10.1 rebounds against teams with winning records. He shows up when the lights are brightest.
His value isn't just that he's arguably the NBA's best scorer, but no matter who the defender is, no matter how the opponent junks up the defense, Anthony puts numbers up anyway. Every night. Most players can be taken out of games by elite defenders and a tricky coach. Not stars. Consistency is one of the biggest aspects of what separates those players from everyone else.
A player's shot selection can be altered. His efficiency on a basketball court can be refined. But you can't teach clutch. You can't teach a steady hand in pressurized situations. You can't teach getting a team over the hump when it counts. You can't teach average players to be a Carmelo Anthony."
Those numbers are wholeheartedly impressive and speak volumes of his impact on NBA games. The Nets need Carmelo Anthony for their own credibility and to win again. Not since the Kidd Era will the Nets have had a talent like Carmelo Anthony. The Nets newest franchise player will also have more talent around him than Kidd ever had.
Third, Carmelo Anthony makes the Nets attractive to free agents. Anthony and Lopez are star players and are important pieces to the puzzle. If Harris stays, even better. But the addition of Anthony alone can make the Nets respectable in the eyes of NBA players. Chris Paul comes to mind, as does Dwight Howard. But who knows, let's see if the Nets even get Anthony before those types of predictions get out of control.
Fourth, Carmelo Anthony will appease Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets new owner has realized that the NBA is a star-driven league and in order for the Nets to compete, they need a cornerstone piece. Insert Carmelo Anthony. If the Nets want to make good on Prokhorov's prediction, they need Anthony.
Fifth, Carmelo Anthony is a player that will attract more Net fans to games in Newark and for the future in Brooklyn. He is from the area and his wife wants to be in/near New York City. The Nets need to sell some tickets and Anthony, like Kidd and Carter before him, should help get more fans in the seats.
I could go on and on about Anthony but I want to hit one point home:
If the Nets want to contend, they need Carmelo Anthony. Because of the super-team era in the NBA, and because of his past experience and winning-ways, the Nets need him to become a contender again. He may not be the final answer but he is most definitely the first major step in the right direction.