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History Shows Denver Unlikely to Get Big Return for 'Melo

Sometimes we mine old data looking for new Nuggets (excuse the pun...or don't). This time, we're going to take a look at the list of recent superstar trades to help figure out what a Carmelo Anthony trade might look like.

Below is a sampling of the trades of big stars (We included Kenyon Martin because we are a Nets site). As we've noted in the past, stars are more often traded not for equal value, meaning other stars, but for a combination of what could be called rebuilding assets: young players, draft picks, expiring contracts, trade exceptions and cash.

The big question is whether the Nets would have to give up one of their two big young players, Derrick Favors, for Anthony. If history is any judge, the answer is no. Team acquiring the superstar resists doing that. In each of the cases below, good young players or draft picks went in the other direction but with few exceptions, those good young players were not top picks still on their rookie contracts. In fact, not one top five pick still on his rookie contract was traded away by any of these teams. (The then-Seattle Sonics received the #5 pick in the deal for Ray Allen, but that was a draft day deal of a pick, which the Sonics used to make their own choice, not someone the Celtics had invested in.)

Take a look...expiring contracts are marked with an asterisk and the players ultimately taken with traded picks are in parentheses. Also, we provide more detail on the Nets transactions.

--June 25, 2009: The Orlando Magic acquired Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson from the New Jersey Nets for Courtney Lee, Tony Battie* and Rafer Alston*. The Nets also acquired two trade exceptions, one for $1.23 million [which was used to acquire Chris Quinn] and the other for $3.73 million [which was used to acquire Kris Humphries].

--June 25, 2009: The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired center Shaquille O'Neal* from the Phoenix Suns for forward/center Ben Wallace*, a second-round selection in the 2010 NBA draft (Dwayne Collins) and cash considerations.

--November 3, 2008: The Detroit Pistons acquired guard Allen Iverson* from the Denver Nuggets for guard Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess and center Cheikh Samb*.

--February 18, 2008: The Dallas Mavericks acquired Jason Kidd, Malik Allen*, and Antoine Wright* from the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop*, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, a signed and traded Keith Van Horn*, two future first round picks (Ryan Anderson in 2008 and Jordan Crawford in 2010), and cash considerations believed to be $3 million. The Nets also received a $3.3 million trade exception [which was used to sign and trade Keyon Dooling].

--February 6, 2008: The Miami Heat acquired Marcus Banks and Shawn Marion from the Phoenix Suns for Shaquille O'Neal.

--February 2, 2008: The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol and a 2010 second round draft pick (Devin Ebanks) from the Memphis Grizzlies for Kwame Brown*, Javaris Crittenton, a signed and traded Aaron McKie*, the draft rights to the #48 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Marc Gasol, and two future first round picks, (Donte Greene in 2008 and Greivis Vasquez in 2010).

--July 31, 2007: The Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green*, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff*, Sebastian Telfair, the return to Minnesota of the future first round pick that was initially traded to Boston on January 26, 2006 (Jonny Flynn), and a future first round pick from Boston (Wayne Ellington). Simultaneous with the trade, Kevin Garnett removed his ability to opt out after the 2007-2008 season and then signed a multi-year contract extension with the Boston Celtics which begins in the 2009-2010 season.

--June 28, 2007: The Boston Celtics acquired Ray Allen and the draft rights to the #35 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Glen Davis, from the Seattle Supersonics for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, the draft rights to the #5 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Jeff Green, and the better of Boston's own 2008 second round pick and Portland's own 2008 second round pick (Trent Plaisted).

--December 19, 2006: The Denver Nuggets acquired Allen Iverson and Ivan McFarlin* from the Philadelphia 76ers for Andre Miller, Joe Smith*, and two 2007 first round draft picks (Daequan Cook and Petteri Koponen).

--February 23, 2005: The Philadelphia 76ers acquired forwards Chris Webber, Michael Bradley* and Matt Barnes* from the Sacramento Kings for forwards Kenny Thomas, Corliss Williamson and Brian Skinner.

-- December 17, 2004: The New Jersey Nets acquired Vince Carter from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks (Joey Graham and Renaldo Balkman).

--July 15, 2004: The New Jersey Nets signed Kenyon Martin to a seven-year, $91 million contract with a $1.5 million signing bonus and a player option after the 6th season, then traded him to Denver for three future first round picks (Joey Graham, Renaldo Balkman and Marcus Williams). The Nets also received a $5.2 million trade exception [which was used to acquire Marc Jackson after the Shareef Abdur Rahim deal fell apart.]

--July 14, 2004: The Los Angeles Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant*, a 2006 first round draft pick (Jordan Farmar) and a 2007 second round pick (Renaldas Seibutis).

The best young players --not draft picks or draft rights but players-- moved in those nine deals were: Devin Harris for Jason Kidd, Al Jefferson for Kevin Garnett and Lamar Odom and Caron Butler for Shaquille O'Neal. All but Butler were on their second NBA contracts and in two of the cases --Harris and Jefferson-- the young players were expendable, even extraneous, because the players coming back played the same position they did. That leaves Butler. Drafted at #10 in 2002, he had an excellent rookie year then regressed in his sophomore year, hurt by injuries. He is the exception, but then again 'Melo isn't Shaq.

So if Favors were included in a deal for Anthony, it would not fit with the recent history of big trades. And note as well that this would most likely have to be a sign-and-trade, meaning Anthony would have to agree to go along. Is he likely to agree to a lop-sided trade where his new team would be giving up key pieces? You'd think not.