Since the Nets have reportedly offered Favors plus four first round draft choices for Carmelo Anthony, it is clear that they believe that he can be a cornerstone of their rebuilding efforts. After all, why else would they offer what is likely 2-3 starting players plus another possible 2-3 rotation players, depending on your drafting acumen, and all of them on rookie contracts? This bounty would instantly convey future contender status on the Nuggets.
It is such a rich offer that it is worth considering where Carmelo ranks among potential cornerstones in the league. After all, perhaps another team would consider parting with an even better player to build around if given the same opportunity. Even if many top players are unavailable at any price, are we mortgaging our future for a top five cornerstone player? Top ten?
The following makes the case that Carmelo, when contact, salary cap, age and production are considered, does not even rank in that high as a player for an organization to build around. I have listed in no particular order players in three groups: according to the criteria previously listed, those who are clearly better than Carmelo, those who are marginally better than Carmelo, and those who are marginally worse. I have not included players like Kobe, Duncan, and Dirk because though they are great players, they are too old to build around (cough, cough, Chauncey Billups, Andre Miller, cough, cough).
LeBron James – 27, $14.5M current, 5 year contract – love him or hate him, he da man
Kevin Durant – 22, $6.1M, 5 year, $85M extension – duh
Deron Williams – 26, $14.9M, 2 year – no arguments here
Chris Paul - 25, $14.9M, 2 year – knee issues perhaps a concern
Dwayne Wade – 29, $14.2M, 5 years – a little older, but I’d take my chances
Dwight Howard – 25, $16.6M, 3 years – a beast
Blake Griffin – 21, $5.4M, 2 years – the most exciting player since LeBron
Derrick Rose – 22, $5.5M, 2 years – getting better and better
Russell Westbrook – 22, $4.0M current, 2 year contract – rapid improvement raises his ceiling
Amar’e Stoudemire – 28, $16.5M, 5 year – contract and injuries a concern
Pau Gasol – 30, $17.8M, 4 year – age and contract a concern, but so good at everything
Al Horford – 24, $5.4M, 5 year $60M extension – not flashy, but great and getting better
Kevin Love – 22, $3.6M, 2 year – defensive shortcomings a concern
Rajon Rondo – 24, $9.1M , 5 year – can’t shoot, but still dominates
LaMarcus Aldridge – 25, $11.2M, 5 year – recent production a fluke? NFW
John Wall – 20, $5.1M, 2 year – raw, but great speed and visionCarmelo – 26, $17.1M current, 2 years, plus $65M extension over 3 years (Yikes!)
Marinally Worse (just listed by names, also in no particular order)
We can quibble about some of these ratings, but it cannot be reasonably argued that Carmelo would be better than a middle of the pack type of cornerstone player. His boat anchor contract and the loss of draft picks would severely constrain our ability to assemble a strong supporting cast. So it will be tick, tick, tick until his people start engineering his escape from Brooklyn. Sure, we’ll win a few more games with him on board because future draft picks can’t put up 25 points a game, but the reported trade would be a move worthy of Ted Stepien. Let the Knicks eat the poison pill.<!--EndFragment-->