We've all been at weddings where someone gives a speech that's met with nothing but silence and confused stares from the audience. Stan Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets, gave such a speech at Carmelo Anthony's wedding earlier this summer.
A series of toasts at the wedding reception, initiated by New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul, suggested Anthony leave Denver for the New York Knicks. Paul suggested it playfully, one source said, but subsequent guests -- including Knicks power forward Amare Stoudemire and Anthony's brother, Robert -- made the point more forcefully.
Then Kroenke stood up to give a toast and the room was filled with an awkward silence, one wedding guest said. Kroenke tried to make light of the situation by suggesting Paul could come to Denver but that elicited no response.
That speech isn't the reason why Ric Bucher of ESPN is reporting that Anthony is looking for a trade out of Denver, although it gives an amusing sheen to the predicament that Kroenke finds himself in at this point in time. What do you do when your best player doesn't want to be on your team any longer because he wants to join up with some buddies in another city?
The choices are pretty clear: You can hope he changes his mind and risk losing him with nothing in return or you can trade him now to make sure the cupboard isn't left barren. Ask the Cavaliers if they would have allowed LeBron James to destroy their franchise if they knew a year ahead of time that he was signing with someone else and you'll have your answer.
Anthony, whose contract runs through next season, has made it quite clear that he doesn't want to be in Denver any longer. He asked the Nuggets for a three-year contract for max money, the Nuggets offered it to him and he refuses to sign it. That's a pretty clear sign of his intentions and it gives him a remarkable amount of leverage to select his next team. The Nuggets could trade him anywhere, but if Anthony won't sign an extension they won't get all that much back.
All of which leads us back to the Knicks. The word on the street is that they are Anthony's preferred destination, which makes this scenario a lot easier to comprehend than landing either James or Paul did earlier this summer. The odds were against the Knicks in both of those cases because there was no urgency involved for a team on the other end. The Nuggets have the experience of seeing what happened with James earlier this summer and learning the lessons of the current NBA and they know they can't just sit there and allow themselves to be victimized by the whims of a star player.
That's urgency and the Knicks are in a prime position to pounce.