Why has Carmelo Anthony suddenly decided that he wants out of the Denver Nuggets organization?
(Carmelo Anthony’s wife LaLa Vasquez)
Nothing has changed to suggest that the Nuggets won’t remain as an elite team this season - so long as Anthony remains on the roster. In fact, the club figures to have a better chance to go deeper in the playoffs thanks to the inspirational comeback of their cancer-stricken coach, George Karl.
With that in mind, why did Anthony turn down a $65 million contract offer from the Nuggets in June and reportedly make known through his reps that he desired a trade - only to the New York or L.A. markets?
In the past week, there’s been a colossal amount of coverage involving Anthony’s trade prospects, but very little indication of why Denver apparently has little-to-no choice but to trade him.
Though there are some pretty striking clues to what triggered Anthony’s intentions.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reporter Frank Isola had this on August 20:
Mrs. Carmelo Anthony says there is a “possibility” that her husband will end up on the Knicks which means we also get LaLa Vasquez. That’s a pretty good deal for everyone involved.
“Us being in New York is a possibility,” LaLa told the Daily News’ Amanda Sidman. “It depends on ‘Melo’s career and where it takes him. There’s a lot of talk about the Knicks, I mean, there’s a lot of teams out there, he’s a great player and I think collectively we just need to think about what makes sense for our family. But I would never say that being in New York is not an option, I’d be lying to you if I said that.”
LaLa, who is from Brooklyn, admitted that she’s always been a Knicks fan “until I met my husband, then I jumped ship to the Nuggets. ‘Melo will tell you, and all the players will tell you no matter where their loyalty is, there aren’t many places like Madison Square Garden. They’ll all say that, and it’s nothing against their teams but there is a different energy in there, and you really can’t top that.”
Ric Bucher of ESPN.com had this anecdote from Anthony’s wedding to Vasquez three days before Isola’s report:
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.
While Anthony stood and applauded Kroenke when he was recognized, he apparently did nothing to discourage or dismiss the suggestions that he should leave the Nuggets.
There’s been no denials from the Anthony camp about either report.
But really, how do we know how much influence Anthony’s wife LaLa actually has on his decision to want out of Denver?
It’s been widely reported that Anthony would only accept a trade to Los Angeles or Vasquez’s hometown of New York. (Brooklyn to be exact.)
So why is L.A. in the mix?
The past decade, Vasquez has slowly pieced together a career as MTV personality and now reality show performer. She’s a card-carrying member of the Kardashian school of self-promotion, frequently appearing at well-worn paparazzi haunts in L.A. and New York.
With that in mind it isn’t unreasonable to think that the fact Anthony is considering L.A. speaks to Vasquez’s influence in the overall decision to leave Denver.
The other factor in Anthony’s desired departure from Denver may be the obscene media notice LeBron James received during his move to Miami. Anthony turned down the initial Denver contract offers just as James was putting Cleveland through the ringer.
Perhaps that, and the resulting roster culled by the Heat affected Anthony’s decision to balk at signing a deal with the Nuggets.
Anthony is repped by William Wesley and Leon Rose, who also work intimately with James and Chris Paul. The story of Paul’s toast at Anthony’s wedding certainly could lead one to believe that Wesley and Rose might be also encouraging Anthony leave Denver.
In part, Paul joined Worldwide Wes and Rose at CAA for the chance to be packaged with their clientele of stars. After putting together Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Miami, Anthony and Paul could conceivably partner with Brook Lopez to make the Nets a formidable franchise. Paul was willing to accept a trade to the Nets over the summer, and like Anthony, wants a chance to play in a major metropolitan market.
Hard to come to any other conclusion at this point than Anthony’s wife’s desires and what James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade achieved with the Heat doesn’t have an impact on Anthony’s wanting out of Denver.